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San Pellegrino presents: keep calm and crab on at Ministry of Crab

For die-hard crab devotees, keep calm and crab on at Ministry of Crab situated within Soi Sawasdee (Sukhumvit 31).

Ranked as #35 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019, there’s no question that the touchdown of the crab-focused haunt here in Bangkok will get foodies thrilled and filled with joy.

Helmed by famed cricketers Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, along with Head Chef Dharshan Munidasa, this Sri Lanka-originated restaurant serves up a seafood heritage of Sri Lanka with mud crab being the limelight of the show.

Head Chef Dharshan Munidasa

The crab-focused menu features all sizes of crab you could possibly imagine, ranging from ½ kilo crab, jumbo, or colossal, to OMG!! and Crabzilla, which could weigh up to a whopping two kilograms. Mostly wild-caught from the Sri Lankan sea, the mud crabs here are partly imported from the South of Thailand and as far as Africa to assure the quality as well as a variety of the crustaceans, and avoid overfishing from one place. The main policy here is intent on using no canned, artificial, or frozen crab meat products to really up their top-quality game.

“We are proud to be here in the capital of food in South East Asia, a city that’s exploding with flavours, scented with fresh spices and served with passion, dedication, and Thai smiles,” said Chef Dharshan Munidasa. “The respect for ingredients is paramount in my kitchen and we bring the same no-freezer policy and the famous Sri Lankan crab to this city.”

Other than the crustaceans, the Ministry of Crab also doles out a scrumptious selection of king prawns, clams, groupers, and even chicken to cater to all palates.

Expect no bland and plain flavours here since all the seafood gets cooked up the Sri Lankan way; each dish is blooming with spices and umami as anticipated. So to smoothen out the richness of our crustacean feast, nothing made perfect choices other than Acqua Panna and S. Pellegrino mineral waters.

Dating all the way back to 1899, Acqua Panna and S. Pellegrino by San Pellegrino Group have long been part of the mineral culture of Italy, if not of the world. Cultivated naturally from Italian mineral springs, the mineral-rich waters boast a velvety mouthfeel and great texture that highlights the taste of food and wine — the qualities that quickly gained them popularity among fine dining restaurants and upscale eateries across the world.

Both S. Pellegrino (sparkling) and Acqua Panna (still) pair marvellously well with a vast repertoire of food, as they add a refreshing oomph to complement the dish. So as we set out to dine on the crab-ilicious dishes, the Italian mineral water become the mirroring match to our crustacean fiesta.

We recently checked out Ministry of Crab and had a blast over the meaty meal paired with the thirst-quenching mineral waters. Here are all the signature dishes that will not disappoint your inner crustacean geek.

Avocado Salad (THB 390)

Get some green before you dive deep into the sea of a true seafood feast. The avocado in this dish acts as salad leaf to complement the heartiness of wasabi mayo-spiked crab meat mixture. It is a light and exciting start to your meal.

Crab Liver Pate (THB 390)

For an elegant starter, this Crab Liver Pate is much like butter; creamy and crabby, which is delightful when spread on housemade mini melba toasts. Drizzle some Kitul Treacle (palm sugar syrup) on top before devouring for a sweet contrast to the savouriness.

Pepper Crab (approx. THB 3,600 for the Jumbo size)

Crab alone is great but what takes it to a whole ‘nother level is the sauce it’s cooked in. Diners are given choices for the sauces, spanning chilli, butter, garlic chilli, and pepper, which is their signature sauce.

Regarded as the king of spice in Sri Lanka, the pepper sauce made from peppercorns and concentrated pepper broth best represent the country’s spice-heavy and vibrant cuisine. Once coated in the sauce throughout, the crab boasts complex and peppery flavour profiles that only get better when you crack it open and dip and dunk it one more time in the pool of sauce it dwells in. Delicious.

(Price ranges depending on the size of the crab. Diners will get to choose from half a kilo crab to jumbo, colossal and the biggest player in the team, Crabzilla which weights up to two kilograms)

Prawn with Garlic Chilli Sauce (THB 980) with Kade Bread

Swimming in a pool of Japan-meets-Sri Lanka olive oil seasoned with Japanese soy sauce, chilli, and crushed garlic, the gigantic prawn oozes out buttery creaminess with a pungent kick to keep your taste buds tingling with excitement. Served with toasted kade bread (traditional Sri Lankan wood-fired bread), the toast does dual duty in giving that much-needed carb to the dish as well as being a sponge for soaking up every last bit of the scrumptious sauce.

(Price ranges depending on the size of the prawn. Same with the crab orders, diners can pick the sauce in which they want to cook their prawn in: chilli, pepper, garlic, garlic chilli, garlic pepper, olive oil & soy sauce ,and butter soy)

Kani Chahan (THB 380)

Doesn’t look in any way extraordinary, but this Japanese-style crab fried rice is — trust us — a must-try. Mimicking the crab-loaded Japanese fried rice, Ministry of Crab keeps the integrity of the Japanese-native dish but makes it better with an extra fistful of firm crab meat and spices typical to Sri Lankan cuisine. This gives the dish a pleasantly herbal smokiness.

Crème Brûlée (THB 250)

Part crème brûlée, part Sri Lankan coconut custard, this dessert baked in a real coconut shell represents the best of both worlds through the intense coconuty flavours and the ultra-crunchy sugary top. Cap off your meal with this dish if you’re crabbed-out and strongly need a sugar intake to cleanse the palates.

Ministry of Crab, 31 Sam-ed No.15, 1 Soi Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok, +6698 598 6554; Open: Tue-Sun: 6-11:30 pm; Sun: 12-5 pm for lunch and 6-11:30 pm for dinner.

Kankanit Wichiantanon
Writer, Bangkok
Kankanit is a writer by day and a baker by night. If there’s one thing you should know about her, it’s that she can wax poetic about food 24/7. Her daily routine is writing, cooking, eating, repeat. They are the things that inspire her from morning 'til night.