If you are an avid fan of tv culinary shows, you may have caught an episode or two of the “Crazy for Crabs” series on Astro Wah Lai Toi (Channel 311) every Satuday at 9.30pm. I caught an episode of this “crabby” show recently when the Tai Thong Restaurants showcased their “Crazy for Crabs” promotion at their Imperial China Restaurant in Subang Jaya.

And, of course, if you have watched that show, you would know that the very cool-looking ponytailed dashing chef zipping around various Asian cities searching for the yummiest crab dishes is none other than Chef Jacky Lim Bee Lin. What you may not know is that Chef Jacky Lim is also the Tai Thong Group Executive Chef. Chatting with the charismatic chef, it’s not surprising that he’s chosen to co-host this show (the other host being Jojo Goh) … his disarming grins, animated eloquence and witty repartees, not to mention his very pleasant “camera face” are traits that have won over many viewers.

Filmed mainly in Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia, the 13-episode show focused on crab dishes. Chef Jacky told us that eating 8 crab dishes in a day during the shooting of the program is a norm. As a chef, not only did he have to taste and sample a vast amount of crabs, he also has to create and cook a new crab dish for every episode!

So, spinning off from the “Crazy for Crabs” series, Chef Jacky has come up with an initial 3 signature crab dishes for the Tai Thong Group of Restaurants. The Steamed Crab with Beancurd, Supreme Stock and Crisped Rice Cereal made an arresting entrance. The regal-looking crustacean, with its crown-like garnishing, sat on top of a “golden pond”. The “golden pond” is actually steamed beancurd mixed with supreme stock and the crisped rice cereal by the sides look like gold nuggets, don’t you think? While the visuals of this dish are stunning and may seem complicated, the basic cooking style, ie steaming, brings out the natural sweetness of the crab – the best way to savour crabs, if you ask me. Needless to say, this was my favourite among the 3 dishes!

Deep-fried Soft Shell Crabs with Chef’s Signature Spice Sauce is an excellent appetizer choice. Using only the best soft shell crabs, which come from Ipoh, Chef Jacky coats them with a thin batter before deep-frying them. What sets this otherwise-run-of-the-mill deep-fried dish apart from the regular fares is the creamy nutty sauce concocted by Chef Jacky. The slightly spicy sauce uses fresh milk, peanut cream and chillies resulting in a piquant dip, just nice for the crunchy soft shell crabs.

Inspired by the local popular Meehoon Crabs, Chef Jacky uses smooth slithery Glass Noodles for his Braised Crab with Minced Meat, Mushrooms, Eggplants and Glass Noodles dish. These are not the usual thin glass noodles… instead, broader crystal noodles made from mungbean and sweet potato flour are used. The eggplants and noodles have totally absorbed the umami goodness from the crab… every mouthful of the slippery noodles was flavourful and delicious. I saved the crab till the last and took my time cleaning out the sweet succulent meat from the claws and crevices.

The Deep-fried Soft Shell Crabs are available at RM28++ (small portion) and RM42++ (medium portion) while the whole fresh crabs for the other 2 dishes are based on seasonal prices.

The dashing Chef Jacky Lim Bee Lin

These 3 signature crab dishes are now available at Imperial China Restaurant, Subang Jaya (tel. no: 03-5636-1266). Reservations can be made by calling the restaurants or Tai Thong Customer Care Line at 1800-88-2338.