Crab in da Bag will be celebrating its first-year anniversary with a Caboodle Festival on 4th October 2014, from 2pm to 5pm and it will be a seafood extravaganza that aims let the locals have a feel of the lively atmosphere of Louisiana’s famous festivals!
The public can look forward to lots of fun, great food and music, plus witness the first and largest outdoor seafood boil in Singapore! A custom built six-foot long boat has been made specially for this occasion and it will be a giant-sized version of Crab in da Bag’s famous Caboodle Boil.
I was invited to a media preview of what can be expected at the festival this Saturday and let me tell you – it certainly is worth a trip down for the good food!
For those who are unfamiliar with this restaurant, Crab in da Bag is located at Big Splash, East Coast and is themed as a laidback Southern Louisiana-Asian seafood restaurant which serves Cajun-style seafood with a local twist made with the best produce sourced globally.
Having a meal there is a casual dining experience where diners eat off tables, from plastic bundles and are encouraged to use their hands and “get messy” – yes, you read it correctly the first time! No plates or cutlery is used for your meal and all you’ll need are your hands – lots of finger licking goodness is to be expected!
As part of the festival, the Caboodle Boil will feature a range of premium shellfish such as lobsters, crabs and yabbies, with globe artichokes, sweet corn and Bratwurst sausages (chicken sausages).
Chef Louise Leonard, who’s also a food stylist and winner of American television’s ABC’s The Taste Season 2, has been invited to be part of the festival and she and the local chefs will demonstrate the cooking process using two giant boils.
The seafood comes from various countries around the world and this promises to be a potful of delectable ingredients!
First, celery, onions, coriander and lemons are placed into the pot.
Lobsters (from Boston) are the first crustaceans to be added in!
Chef Sam adds the crabs next…
…followed by Head Chef, Terence Lim, who looks only all too happy to add the Alaskan king crab legs to the pot!
Yabbies, also known as crawfish or crayfish, are then placed into the boiling pot. These are imported from Indonesia.
Vegetables are next!
Here’s a closer look at them – globe artichokes, whole red potatoes, corn and sausages (hang on – that’s not a vegetable! LOL…).
Chef Louise obliges to questions asked during the cooking process. The food’s looking good so far! Typically these outdoor boils have the pot cooking over an open fire but some people do use propane tanks, like what they are using here.
Chef Sam gives the pot a good stirring a couple of times before more ingredients are added. Watching this may tempt you to quote Shakespeare (“double double toil and trouble…”) or perhaps some may break out into a rendition of “row, row, row your boat”! ^_^
Prawns from Malaysia are added next and just look at the lovely ingredients swimming in there – especially the lobster!
Finally, squid from Vietnam were the last ingredients to go in.
Okay…**clang clang** Chef Louise announces that dinner is ready!!
The contents from the two pots are then strained and poured out onto the festival’s custom-built boat.
Voila! That’s an unbelievable amount of seafood in there!!
Seafood lovers – what are you waiting for? Come on down and grab your hands on these fresh and sweet tasting shellfish!
It’s a feast for the eyes (and also to the stomach later)!
The seafood boil dining experience has been celebrated on a massive scale at Louisiana’s festivals since the 1980s. Food is poured directly on the table and this popular Louisianan tradition is a timeless way of bringing friends and families together.
Photo Credit: Crab in da Bag
This was the heap of seafood at the table I was at! (which was shared between 4 persons)
There are 3 types of dips which you can try with the seafood – Louisiana garlic butter, Malaysian sambal and Thai green bird chillies.
Before you start eating, it’s recommended that you wear a bib so as to prevent any food or sauces from getting onto your clothing. (Haha…I cropped away my head from the photo as this was a rather unglam shot but I wanted to show everyone the bib and how big those shellfish were!)
This was the aftermath of our meal!! I have to clarify that the little pile at the bottom left corner was mine. ^_^”
A.P Tan, the founder (or “Captain” according to her business card) of Crab in da Bag, says, “I have taken the first daring step to bring in this Louisianan-Asian tradition that introduces a unique, hands-on dining experience, encouraging diners to leave aside their electronic gadgets. My mission for Crab in da Bag is to remind diners to appreciate precious moments with loved ones. In today’s hectic society, it is important for one to realise that cherished moments are hard to come by.”
Well said! You can see families these days dining together but everyone is glued to their phones or tablets and there is practically no conversation. Having said that – I was too busy cracking and deshelling the crustaceans in front of me (trying to eat the food before it turned cold!) to have any decent conversation! LOL…
Other new menu items available on the day of the festival will include fresh live Kumamoto oysters from Japan. The ones we had for the preview were from Australia and Canada – I must say they were very fresh and yummy!!
Ohh…just look at that juicy morsel! I added some Thai green bird chilli to it but you can mix and match your choice of seasoning which includes lemon and tabasco sauce, besides the Thai chilli which I mentioned.
Another item to be introduced to the menu is this new dessert called “Fruit Ball Salad“. Watermelon and rock melon flesh have been scooped out into round balls, along with other bits of fruit, which are accompanied by a cocktail-like syrup that was quite refreshing.
Their specially-seasoned house fries were all too yummy and these were lightly salted and coated with Louisiana spices. They were really crispy and had a smoky barbecue flavour, so it felt as if one was eating potato chips. Perfect when paired with beer or cider – I could sit here all evening munching these!
Not to be missed is Mum’s Special Chix Wings – these chicken wings were really flavourful! I’m not sure what was in Mum’s secret recipe but it definitely contained garlic and onion. Really good!!
Crab in da Bag also believes in providing a way of life and opportunity for everyone, including the hearing impaired. As part of the restaurant’s initiative to provide meaningful opportunities to assist the less fortunate in their school fees and daily financial expenses, the celebration will also feature craftwork handmade by such individuals in a collaborative project called “Charity on Board”.
One of the highlights of the festival will be the launch of the Somersby Apple Tree Lucky Draw. With every purchase of $200, diners get a chance at the Lucky Draw by flipping open an apple on a life-sized cut-out of a Somersby Apple Tree. Good luck!!
Verdict: I was very impressed by the freshness and quality of the seafood and I do like the novel idea of presenting the seafood in a boat for their 1st anniversary celebrations – it fits the overall nautical theme of the restaurant! Everything that we ate tasted great and I do think families will definitely enjoy this dining experience!
One thing I like about this restaurant is that the seafood is listed at fixed prices on the menu and not as “seasonal market price” like what is typically seen at most other restaurants. This is because the “Captain” has good relationships with her suppliers and managed to reach an agreement with them to provide her with fresh, quality seafood at fixed prices. In this way, customers can be sure of how much they are expected to pay for the meal and not having to guess whether they have burnt a shockingly large hole in their pockets.
Finally, I’ll end off with a bit of trivia – do you know that the staff at the restaurant are called “crabbies”? 😀
HAPPY 1ST ANNIVERSARY, CRAB IN DA BAG!!
Crab in da Bag
902 East Coast Parkway, Big Splash Block D #01-25, Singapore 449874.
Tel: +65 6440 0083
Tue-Fri 4pm to 11pm
Sat-Sun 12pm to 11pm
Closed on Mondays.