We mourn over the passing of another Genius – the creator of Singapore’s Chilli Crab


Cher Yam Tian passed away on Wednesday, 15 February. She was 90 years old. May she rest in peace.  

She’s believed to be the creator of Singapore’s iconic chilli crab dish. The invention came about in the mid-1950s when Cher added bottled chilli sauce to the stir-fried crabs instead of the usual tomato sauce.  

Singapore Chilli Crab

Chilli crab is popular among locals and foreigners in Singapore. The dish is made with deep-fried mud crabs topped with a thick sweet, savoury and spicy gravy. The dish is usually served with crispy crusted mantou buns (or steamed mantou buns if you prefer a healthier choice).  

In various food publications, the chilli crab is named Singapore’s national seafood dish.  

Cher and her husband - creator of chilli crab

Humble beginnings 

In 1956, Cher and her husband opened a shack called Palm Beach Seafood. The restaurant was sold off in 1985 when they emigrated to New Zealand.  

The family business continues 

Cher’s son, Roland Lee shares the same passion for food and decided to move back to Singapore in hopes of opening his own seafood restaurant business.  

He started out by joining his godfather’s restaurant at Sin Leong Restaurant. Later, the restaurant was handed over to Lee and he renamed it Roland Restaurant. It is currently located at Marine Parade.  

Her legacy remains  

The chili crab dish at Roland Restaurant follows the original recipe created by the late Cher. 

Sure Boh?

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