Singaporean Crab

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By Peter Reinaldo Bautista Jr.

All In Good Time

Saturday, January 18, 2014


BE it chili, buttered and black-peppered, these are recommended when ordering crab in a Singaporean restaurant. Only recently did one resto serving Singaporean fare with a Singaporean chef open in Baguio for us to try. And try we did.

We spent the birthday of Joy, two meetings and an early midnight snack with friends all within two weeks. A must try is the crabs any which way. I have had the chance to try it in Singapore and it has never failed to make a smile in my face. A grimace though after three days all because I end up limping, surely it is from the aligue or crab fat. "May gamot naman," I will say.

In many occasions my mom or some Juan would bring over some crabs and ask for me to prepare it my way. For me it would either be with laing or alamang, but lately the family has been wanting for my salted duck egg recipe for it.

I've done it twice and they seem to never get enough of it. So I guess that would be it if there were crabs for me to cook. It used to be just boiled in lemongrass and sprite or beer, salted or deep fried. Oh, it now would also depend on the crab as there is now preference for babae or bakla. I will not enumerate much further but bakla it is for me.

I just got back from Singapore for a business trip and boy, was the meals served to us superb! We had original Hainanese cuisine in a multi-awarded resto in one of the alleys near our hotel, who would have known.

Although it's not the chicken which ‘makes’ them but their pork chop. Who would have known again? I also learned that the rice is fried from the chicken fat and not boiled with the chicken broth. Who would have known again and again? It was so good you can eat the rice alone. What makes Hainanese chicken rice is actually the rice and the ginger-chili-soy sauce. Anyway back to the crab. I can do another story about rice but for now it's crab.

In two occasions we were served soft shelled crab another was crab in omelette. Crab with abalone and sharkskin was also served as soup.

However, I did not have any of the crab fare I was used to having when there. Oh chili crab prepared here in Baguio is served with bread! Just like it is in Singapore. Did you know it is also cooked with egg? Well there you go. Crab and egg seem to get along very well.

But here's my take.

If we were to take after the way Singaporeans cook their crab, maybe we can also kinda follow their mentality.

Lee Kwan Yew once told us Filipinos that what we did with EDSA ll is wrong as we just highlighted mob rule. We castigated him with his remarks but I agree with the man. It's funny how every Juan would immediately react from one particular comment. In fact it was just the beginning of things to come.

Today another former president is incarcerated for things allegedly done. I will predict that by 2016 the President may also face the same fate by the new administration. We will all just find fault every time. Singapore is Singapore because it was made to be. Lee Kwan Yew made it what it is today. Everything is in order. With us here we pull each other down. It is this crab mentality every Juan is known for. I wish for every Juan this new year to stop being the crab that we are. Let us instead just enjoy our crab and eat it. Stop pulling every Juan down. I pray every Juan think like every Singaporean; they look up to authority and respect each other. Despite being a melting pot of different cultures, they all blend in because there is mutual respect.

I wonder, they pay higher taxes, owning a vehicle is terrible, they have too many fines, thus making them a "fine city". But let me say, all is fine indeed. If given the chance to visit Singapore please go. Definitely they will treat you better than in Hong Kong or Taiwan, even Thailand today is not the place to be.

Every Juan indeed leaves for Singapore as it now has about 15 flights to and from the PH. All flights are over-booked it even seems. I was just offered to give up my seat for 3, yes three, roundtrip tickets anywhere! They also served me breakfast and lunch while waiting for my flight. And to top it all off, they offered to pay for my hotel stay in Singapore!
I'm now thinking of Japan, Korea and Dubai or Bali. I will try to be good this year as I know that there will be rewards for my deeds. Thank You, Lord, for all these blessings.

Let us all be good to Juan another this year and not be the crab we are known for.

Let me leave every Juan with this, "If people are trying to pull you down, don't worry, it only means you are above them.”

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 18, 2014.

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