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Crab a bite at Wee Nam Kee |

Food and Leisure

Crab a bite at Wee Nam Kee

OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes -

MANILA, Philippines - The freshest crabs are clawing their way to Ayala Triangle in Makati City as Wee Nam Kee, home of the best chicken rice in the Lion City, now serves Singapore’s other “unofficial” national dish — the Singaporean Chili Crab.

Diners can now give in to their crustacean cravings and delight in the scrumptious, fatty crabs smothered in a zesty, chili-spiked sauce.

“After chicken rice, the Singaporean chili crab is the next dish that’s synonymous to Singapore. It’s actually one of the dishes that a lot of our customers looked for when we opened in November 2010. Now, we’re finally giving in to their cravings,” says Linfred Yap, franchise owner of Wee Nam Kee.

The Singaporean Chili Crab had beginnings as humble as the country itself. It was a specialty of a hardworking Singaporean lady — Madam Cher Yam Tian — who had a hawker stall right by the seashore. With the aid of a kerosene lamp, the lady would cook up a storm every day for hordes of eager diners who couldn’t get enough of her live crabs cooked with fresh spices and chili.

Chick mate: Diners have a chance to partake of Wee Nam Kee’s famous chicken rice at 25 percent less than its usual price during off-peak hours (from 2 to 6 p.m.) from July 18 to 21 and July 25 to 28 by using their Citibank credit card.

Madam Cher Yam Tian’s hawker stall is long gone, but the taste of her culinary masterpiece lingers on the palate not just of food-loving Singaporeans but every Juan as well.

Today, the dish has many incarnations: Some are packed with spices such as galangal, turmeric, and ginger, while some are rosy with fresh tomatoes. Wee Nam Kee’s version stays true to the original recipe, but the sauce has a tinge of sweetness and is laced with beaten egg to suit the Pinoy palate.

“Each order of the Singapore Chili Crab weighs approximately 650 grams (P155/gram) or more. We’re trying to look for bigger crabs so as not to disappoint our diners. We also use local crabs, because it’s a bit pricey to import, say, from Singapore,” notes Weiser Co of Wee Nam Kee.

Wee Nam Kee’s Singaporean Chili Crab is served with four pieces of mantou (Chinese buns) to help you polish off the last drop of the delish sauce.

Don’t be afraid to get your fingers dirty as the crab dish should be savored with gusto. A nutcracker comes in handy to tackle thick shells and enjoy the crabmeat with delight.

Other new items on the menu are the chicken noodle soup, salted duck egg prawns, clear clam soup, eggplant with minced pork in hotpot, and the salt pepper crab. All these dishes are best-sellers at Wee Nam Kee in Singapore.

The Citi Wee Love

To thank its loyal diners, Wee Nam Kee’s Linfred Yap and Weiser Co partnered with Citiban in its Dining Privileges program, which gives cardholders the best deals when they dine at certain restaurants in Metro Manila, more than a thousand nationwide.

Diners have a chance to partake of Wee Nam Kee’s famous chicken rice at 25 percent less than its usual price during off-peak hours from 2 to 6 p.m., from July 18 to 21 and July 25 to 28 by using their Citibank credit card. Citibank cardholders can also enjoy free sambal kangkong with a minimum purchase of P1,000.

This exclusive promo is part of Citibank Dining Privileges, “Citibank cardholders also get great deals at certain establishments when they go to Singapore and other countries We have the best deal promise: If our cardholders find a better offer from other credit card providers, we’re willing to make up for the difference,” enthuses Rudy Widjala, credit operations director, Citibank.

For Citibank Dining Privileges, Citibank has a robust lineup of partner restaurants.

“We are very particular about the quality of restaurants we bring into the program. Wee Nam Kee is definitely the go-to place for chicken rice and Singaporean chili crab. Most of our cardholders frequent this place so this promo is relevant to them. Something that they would appreciate,” Rudy adds

Chicken Run

Citibank credit operations director Rudy Widjala is flanked by Wee Nam Kee’s Linfred Yap and Weiser Co

The original and sole franchise around the world of Wee Nam Kee in Novena Ville, Singapore, Wee Nam Kee was the talk of town for months since it opened at Ayala Triangle in November last year. It was so hard to get a reservation as the restaurant was always full. Everyone wanted to have a piece of the elusive chicken to know if it tasted just like the original. Well, Wee Nam Kee franchise owners Linfred Yap and Weiser Co didn’t disappoint the hungry crowd.

Wee Nam Kee’s chicken rice is prepared fresh — steamed or roasted — daily. What gives the dish its special allure is the bowl of rice, which is cooked in a specially prepared chicken stock. The flavor of the soup is absorbed in each grain, which makes it moist and simply delectable.

“What sets Wee Nam Kee apart from our competitors is that we follow the authentic method of preparation. Here, we really take pride in the soup stock. The secret ingredients we put in it really make the difference,” shares Linfred.

Wee Nam Kee’s traditional chicken preparation method requires boiling the entire chicken in a flavorful chicken broth seasoned with garlic, ginger, and a host of other spices. The fragrant rice is made from the same rich stock and requires masterful skill in producing the perfect grain texture.

Unlike the ones served in most fast foods, Wee Nam Kee’s chicken skin doesn’t fall off the bone and doesn’t have a gel-like substance underneath. It’s pretty hard to achieve this texture, I was told, but this is one way of determining if the chicken is fresh and well-cooked. The chicken is best enjoyed with hoisin sauce, crushed ginger, and chili paste, which enhance the natural flavor of the chicken.

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Watch out for the opening of Wee Nam Kee in Serendra this September and at Alabang Town Center in December.

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