Chilli Crabs in Beijing: Cafe Sambal

chilli crab cafe sambal beijing

Here’s one of our favourite haunts for some rich and spicy Malayan food – the next best thing to looking for Singaporean food. Tonight, I was more than happy to dig into some chili crabs when Lien taitai (who goes to the supermarket with a Loewe bag for his groceries) suggested it and pre-ordered 2 large Sri Lankan crabs whose weight came up to RMB800 which was perfectly reasonable. Gotta trust a man who goes supermarketing with a Loewe bag.

These luscious crabs reminded me of Hong Kong’s famous “under the bridge” crabs, with plenty of oily crisp shrimps and garlic, with a side of curry leaves said to lower cholestrol (added points for southeast asian touch)

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Great presentation of chicken satay with a watered down non-spicy peanut sauce, delicious nonetheless.
Juicy sweet prawns in a sleeping bag of pesto and rice paper wraps. Fresh and crunchy.
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Rojak meaning mix in Malay, despite sadly missing its dance partner of fried dough sticks youtiao performed well solo.
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I was pre-warned about the powdery otak otak that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations like the rich coconut milk paste ones my mother and grandmother makes. It was true. Enough said.
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A generous plate of fried beehoon that reminded me of home…
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Stir fried “dragon beans” 龙豆 in a cashew sauce, a great mix of textures and flavours. I still haven’t quite figured out what this vegetabke is but in my mind it belongs to the cacti family because of it’s structure and texture. I haven’t found any other reliable sources of information online yet—anyone knows anything to share?

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Finished up with one of my favourite desserts that brought back lots of childhood memories, odeh odeh paired with some banyuls, a chocolatey dessert wine that good friends of mine, Carole and Romain supply to all the restaurants in Beijing.

Cafe Sambal
43 Doufuchi Hutong, Jiugulou Dajie,
旧鼓楼大街豆腐池胡同43号
Tel:6400-4875
If you plan to have crabs, always pre-order them a day or two in advance. We had two to share amongst 4 people and it was plenty to go round.

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