At the grand finale of The Spice Table on New Year’s Eve, the consistently great Singaporean and Vietnamese restaurant from chef Bryant Ng and wife Kim Luu-Ng, the couple devoted stations to modern Spice Table classics like Kaya toast, ground duck rice, beef rendang, and of course stacks of wood-grilled satay. Ng and his team also provided a glimpse into the future by preparing Singapore’s cult classsic, white pepper crab, which they cooked and served in a clay pot on a bed of vegetables.
Unlike black pepper crab or chile crab, Singapore’s more widespread crab preparations, white pepper crab features copious amounts of white pepper, which eliminates the hulled black outer layer that forms on peppercorns during the drying process. Given that, the pepper has a more concentrated intensity. White pepper absolutely infused the sweet crab meat of a whole Dungeness crab, which appeared in a dismembered pile. Spice built exponentially as about 10 people huddled over the pot in the kitchen, each stripping a different piece of crustacean. On Instagram, after the meal, I wrote, “I hope this isn’t the last time we see this white pepper crab.” Ng replied, “This isn’t the last time you’ll see that crab…it’s just a taste of what’s to come…” This is another omen that bodes well for the Southeast Asian bistro that Bryant and Kim are opening with Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan in 2014.