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It’s crabs galore this time round.

WE have crabs cooked in a variety of styles in Malaysia. Here’s a list of my personal favourite places to have them. Restaurants are non-halal unless otherwise specified.

Claypot butter crabs

I reckon Sunny in Shah Alam has the best butter crabs I have tried. They were big, fresh and meaty.

Do call ahead and order, and remember to ask for extra butter gravy and deep-fried mantau buns. I could smell the crabs even before they reached the table; the gravy, infused with curry leaves and spices, was aromatic and rich. Incredibly addictive.

Sunny Seafood Air-cond Restaurant, 9 Jalan Bulan BZ, U5/BZ, Bandar Pinggiran Subang, Sek U5, Shah Alam, 03-7846 2233 / 019-311 1136. Open 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-11.30pm.

Salted egg yolk crabs

The crabs at Choy Kee are huge (RM55 per kilo). It took me a good 15 minutes to finish a whole claw! The flesh of the crab was delicious – sweet, succulent, flaky and firm, including the legs.

But that wasn’t the only highlight. The crabs were coated with a decadent layer of salted egg yolk sauce – it was creamy and aromatic, and was cooked with curry leaves. This dish was worth the drive to Seremban.

Choy Kee Food Stall, Lot 3794-3795, Jalan Tuanku Munawir, Seremban,% 06-761 0010 / 012-683 1122. Open 5pm-12.30am

Baked Marmite crabs

I also tried the Baked Marmite Crab at Choy Kee Food Stall, after noticing other customers having this dish. The lady boss said this was one of the preferred ways to eat crabs as the light smoky flavour enhances the sweetness and freshness of the flesh. The Marmite sauce was nicely caramelised and the crab came with a plate of special Thai spicy sauce.

See above for address.

3104E2D7F0D44DC08401E7351FD1B502Salt baked crabs at Damansara Village.

Salt baked crabs

The best salt baked crabs I’ve tried were at Damansara Village in Imbi. They were extremely fresh and full of flavour.

The crabs were rubbed with salt and baked until the shell turned a glorious red – a sign of freshness. There were various dipping sauces, but I didn’t think they were necessary as the crab was tasty on its own. If you’re lucky, you will get one with a lot of roe, which really maximises the whole crab-eating experience!

Damansara Village @ Imbi, 32 Jalan Utara, off Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur, 03-2141 1678.

Sweet and sour crabs

Besides its fireflies, Kuala Selangor is known for fresh seafood.

The crabs at Sin Hai Ping weren’t very big but they were fresh and sweet. I thought the gravy had a good balance of sweet, savoury and tangy flavours, and the addition of chopped cili padi gave it a fiery kick. Prices are reasonable – somewhere between RM28 and RM30 per kilo of crabs.

Restoran Makanan Laut Sin Hai Ping (pork-free), 97 Pasir Penambang, Kuala Selangor, Selangor, 03-3289 2365 / 3829 2786.

Stuffed crabs

Many restaurants serve stuffed crab with more shredded vegetables and eggs than the crabmeat itself. One of the places that has good stuffed crabs, however, is Hakka Restaurant.

This item isn’t available on the menu, but you can call up a day or two in advance to order it (RM15 per piece). Not exactly cheap, but you get what you pay for. The crabmeat was adequately seasoned and allowed the flavour of the crab to stand out so you know you’re eating crabs, not seafood sticks.

Hakka Restaurant, 6 Jalan Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur, 03-2143 1907.

Crab fried mee hoon

I went to Restoran Bubur Goreng for their famous fried porridge, but was equally impressed with their crab mee hoon (RM44 per kilo of crabs). The mee hoon was full of wok hei and flavoursome from the crab juices.

The medium-sized crabs were sweet and meaty. The shells were cracked, making the crab easy to eat. For a bit of kick, dip the crabmeat into the spicy and fragrant green belacan chilli sauce provided.

Restoran Bubur Goreng, 32 & 34 Lorong Lang, Taman Berkeley, Klang, % 016-686 8579. Open 5.30pm-2.45am.

> Tiong Sue Lynn blogs at www.bangsarbabe.com and tweets at twitter.com/bangsarbabe.

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