There's something that will always piques my family's interest. It's a Chinese meal with crab or lobster. And when the crab comes at a bargain price then we just had to visit to see what it was all about! Kreta Ayer is named after the road of the same name in Singapore. Literally meaning "water cart road" it was a place where bullock pulled water carts to distribute the well water in past times.
There are a few branches of Kreta Ayer and we are visiting the Kingsford branch. The menu is Singaporean cuisine with some Nyonya dishes too. There are plenty of seafood dishes along with what my mother says is a very good chicken rice.
Each specialty is marked with a yellow star and there are two menus, a laminated specials menu and the regular one. We spot a lobster platter as well as a crab platter on the specials menu.
A little careful reading of the menu shows that the crab is live mud crab but the lobster is frozen so we go for the crab meal. You write down what you want to order and the quantity on a form and hand it to the wait staff.
I have to admit that I was quite taken by the drink names-Over The Rainbow and Thinking About You are both coconut based drinks. Over the rainbow has sago, jackfruit cubes and rambutan while Thinking About You is made up of red bean, grass jelly and sago. They're both refreshing and sweet.
First to come out are the salted egg prawns. It's an enormous dish with 6 large king prawns with their shell on and then coated with a salted egg yolk batter. I take a bite. They're very crunchy and piping hot (and everything comes out around the same time) but there's a really sweet element to the batter too. Whenever I've had salted egg yolk it has been a more savoury flavour.
The taro rice has tiny cubes of taro and pieces of Lup Cheong Chinese sausage. It's good for soaking up the sauces.
Crab is around $39 per half kilo if you buy it by itself or you can get a platter as we did. The main event is the Jaw Cracking Platter with one live mud crab (well it was live but you know what I mean right?). You can get this platter with either Singapore chilli sauce or with Nyonya curry and we opt for the latter as we have found nothing beats my mother's Singapore chilli sauce (of course we are biased ;). Along with the mud crab there are five mussels, 4 king prawns and 2 Moreton bay bugs split in half. There are also vegetables and 4 fried mantou buns on the side. This is an incredibly generously sized platter and I think you could have this, a plate of rice and veggies and easily feed four people. The Moreton bay bugs in particular are juicy and meaty but the sauce again is very sweet. If I were to come again I'd ask if it were possible to lessen the sweetness because the flavour of the curry is really good as is the seafood but it's just too sweet for me.
As the name suggests the clams are hot and spicy. There is even a bit of a similar flavour to Szechuan peppercorns in this. The clams are a little chewy and like many of the other dishes the sauce is sweet but it is plentiful. We are also told that most people visit to eat this dish.
The eggplant is very soft but the sauce is a sweet and sour type of sauce with perhaps a bit too much sweet. I do like the softness of the eggplant though.
As for the bill? Well it's less than $40 a person which is a bargain for the amount of seafood and food that we had. And having so much sweetness we opt out of dessert!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like your food on the sweet side? Have you ever sent anything back because it was too salty or sweet? Do you prefer crab or lobster?
466 Anzac Parade, Kingsford NSW 2032
Phone: (02) 9663 3888