Friday, 25 September 2015

Crab Factory @ SS2 PJ

The opening of Brolly in Persiaran KLCC meant that Crab Factory is now available closer to home and accessible to patrons who live in KL.  But my friends and I decided to have our seafood fill at their original branch as we felt we'd be more at home with the overall feel and ambience of everyone digging in and eating with their hands.

So, on a Saturday afternoon, we made our way to Crab Factory @ SS2 PJ.  As this was lunch time, it was much easier to secure a table without reservations.  In fact, we were the first ones here.

The Crab Factory's Original Louisiana Boil takes a page off backyard seafood boils where family and friends would gather for great food and good company.  You'd find prices of the seafood displayed on boards on the walls of the restaurant.  Some seafood may be seasonal but you'd still have a good selection of seafood to choose from.

Currently, the prices (just in case you'd like to know or wish to weigh the costs to see if this will be an affordable meal for you) are as follows:

Meat Crabs - available in different weights with each offering 2 pcs of crabs
RM218 (700g) / RM183 (600g) / RM148 (500g) / RM109 (400g) / RM85 (300g with 3 pcs)
King Crabs - RM34 per 100g / Brown Crabs - RM19 per 100g
Bamboo Lobsters - RM30 per 100g / Canadian Lobsters - RM190 for 2 pcs
Slipper Lobsters - RM65 (500g) / RM123 (1kg)
Australian Yabbies - RM88 (500g) / RM168 (1kg)
Japanese Amaebi - RM98 (500g) / RM186 (1kg)
Freshwater Prawns - RM59 (500g) / RM110 (1kg)
Canadian Scallops - RM96 (500g) / RM182 (1kg)
New Zealand Mussels - RM45 (500g) / RM81 (1kg)
Japanese Snails - RM30 (500g) / RM54 (1kg)
Baby Octopus - RM35 (500g) / RM63 (1kg)

How to Order:
Step 1 - Choose your seafood (and your desired weight).
Step 2 - Choose your sauce from a choice of zesty lemon & garlic butter (normal sauces) and Jamba-Jamba & Signature Southern Bang (spicy sauces) with a spiciness level of mild, medium, 'oly crab or death valley.
Step 3 - Choose your bag buddies from a choice of potatoes, corn, chicken sausages or mushrooms (king, button or enoki).

Once seated, our table was lined with a plastic sheet which will serve as our 'plates'.  And as soon as we've made our orders, our 'tools of the trade' appeared....a food hammer, nutcracker, plastic bibs and paper napkins.....everything you'll need to launch an 'assault' on the seafood to come! :D 

Put on your bib and let's get cracking......for some messy eating ahead!  Wear something appropriate, make sure your hands are jewellery-free...and get ready for the onslaught of flying cracked shells and sauce on your hands, arms or any part of your body! ;-D

Our first bag of goodies to arrive....Amaebi (500g) @ RM98 with king mushrooms (RM8.90) in zesty lemon sauce.  The sauce was absolutely tangy with the fresh taste of lemons and a strong flavour of black pepper.  This turned out to be my friends' favourite sauce.

These Japanese sweet shrimps were quite huge and they were utterly fresh and juicy.  The sweet taste of the prawns came shining through without being overpowered by the sauce.

Sucking on the prawn heads and all its juices is highly's an Asian thing to do! ;)

This was followed by our choice of Yabbies (500g) @ RM88 with corn (RM4.90) in garlic butter sauce.  The corn was surprisingly sweet and very tasty after absorbing all the garlic and butter flavours of the sauce.  This was my favourite sauce of the three.

The yabbies were just as fresh and juicy...and rather huge as well.  But to get at the meat of the yabby, it'll be a little trickier as the shell is harder to peel off.

Again, sucking the hell out of those yabby heads is again permitted! :D  I just couldn't resist playing with the yabby head which was kinda cute, don't you think?

Finally, our next bag was the 'piece de resistance'.....our bag of Meat Crabs (500g) @ RM148 with potatoes (RM7.90) in Jamba-Jamba sauce (mild).  We went with this weight for two decent sized crabs that are not too big (as those would be deemed too expensive) and not too small (that they won't be nice).

I originally wanted the crabs with garlic butter but the server recommended a spicy sauce and we settled for the mildest heat level as a member of our eating party can't take spiciness.  Even at mild, you can still feel the spiciness, so I definitely wouldn't recommend the other spice levels if you can't take the heat.  I can't imagine those who'd choose 'oly crab or death valley (maybe they had a death wish or maybe they just want to show they can handle the heat) but I personally wouldn't choose that as it'll overpower the taste of the crabs.  On hindsight, I would have preferred a milder sauce to let the crab shine coz I want to be able to taste the crab.  I wasn't overly impressed with this Jamba-Jamba sauce as I think our Chinese-style sweet and sour sauce (and our chilli crabs) tastes loads better.

The crabs were meaty with very fresh and sweet tasting meat.  Holy crap.....just look at the size of that claw!  You could pour out all the seafood from the bags onto the table top (like what you'd see on most blogs) but we didn't as we wanted the seafood to stay warm and steeped in its juices and sauce for as long as possible.

My favourite parts of the crab are the claws and the 'spaceship' (top shell of the crab).  I enjoyed eating all the innards in the 'spaceship' and digged all the goodness out....yum, yum! ;D  If this was an egg crab, that's where you'd find the eggs too (those that are still intact and have not fallen off into the sauce).

And this was the aftermath of our seafood looked like a typhoon just came through here!! :D :D  Well, it's certainly better to have enjoyed and made a mess than never to have enjoyed at all!

Of course, we just had to try the Gumbo @ RM13.90, a Louisiana staple of a stew or soup in a strongly-flavoured stock with sausage, shrimp, shredded chicken, rice and vegetables of celery, bell peppers and onions.  This was a hearty soup, full of spices, that I enjoyed very much.

For the two young ones in the party, I ordered a serving of Pollock Fish Fingers @ RM14.90 that came with fries sprinkled with something strange on top (that looked like icing sugar?).  I wouldn't know as I didn't have any.

For our drinks, we ordered four Smooshies @ RM8.90 each in the flavours of Guava+Soursop, Watermelon+Cucumber+Mint, Orange+Pineapple+Mango and Apple+Dragon Fruit.

We started our meal on a low....and then it went on a high...and ended on a low.....and here's why:

Side Story #1
I didn't know water was such a precious commodity until I came here.  My friend, who was in a detox programme, needed a cup of hot water to steep her detox tea bag as it has to be drunk before any meal intake.  She asked for it but the server say they don't have hot water (huh, a full running kitchen and they don't have water?).  I asked again, she told me the same thing.  So, I asked to speak to the manager.  She brought me her senior (not the manager as I saw the manager earlier as I can recognise him from their Facebook page).  He also gave me the same answer.  I then told him that my friend needed it for her medicine and he reluctantly agreed and finally returned with a disposable plastic cup filled with just an inch of water initially.  I asked for a bit more and he came back with two inches of hot, water is very precious here!  But when he saw my friend put a teabag into the water, he literarily pounced on her and said, "I thought you said it's for your medicine.  It's our policy that we don't allow outside food or drinks."  I told him, "This is not out an outside drink, it's a detox tea."

He continued to show his dissatisfaction and annoyance by questioning my friend further and she even brought out her packet of detox tea to prove to him (which she didn't need to, in my opinion, they obviously have not heard of the line "the customer is always right").  I can understand his displeasure if we had not ordered any drinks but there were four of us and we ordered four smooshies....isn't that enough?  Apparently not!  Here we are having a meal at their restaurant that is costing us close to RM500 and they can't bloody well give us two inches of hot water???  Shame on them!!!

Side Story #2
And our discontentment didn't end there.  When I reached home and checked the bill, I realised that I was overcharged RM25.75 (inclusive of 10% service charge) for four drinks that we didn't consume.  Yeah, I know, we're partly at fault for not checking the bill there and then but I would hope that they wouldn't be that incompetent as to charge someone else's drinks into our bill.  I usually do go through the bill before paying but, this time, because my friend's little one was crying and, in my haste to leave, I only checked the bill for the big item prices (the crabs, amaebi and yabbies) and not the entire bill.  I know it'd be impossible to claim a refund (not that we'd be bothered to anyway) as we cannot prove that we didn't consume those drinks but that didn't stop me from showing my displeasure with an email (2 weeks ago) to the restaurant just to see if they'd reply...and, of course, they didn't!  I rest my case!

My Personal Opinion

Overall, there was no denying that the seafood was extremely fresh and good tasting....and undeniably finger lickin' delicious!  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with this meal although the prices are very steep, not something we can indulge in on a regular basis.

As much as we enjoyed the meal, we can't say the same for the service!  We were really pissed off by the hot water and the overcharge in our bill.  Maybe, if the manager had handled the situation, it could have turned out differently, I don't know but he wasn't around at that point in time.

In the end (I'm still gonna be objective in my review), I have to say that the crabs were good......but the service was crap! >:(  Will I be back?  Let's see...I pay probably about the same amount for a meal in say a place where I'll be assured of getting good service (maybe even doted upon) or some other equivalent just-as-good seafood place.....what do you think?

The Crab Factory
21 Jalan SS2/64
47300 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7865 5850


  1. You just have to do this, don't you? Made me read how nice and juicy and fresh the food is, make me drool all over the place, then the side stories.

    I know in restaurants, they practice "no outside food and drinks allowed" mainly not to make you spend more, but it is a safety issue. If you get sick while eating in their restaurant's premises, legally they have to bear the responsibility, especially if the customer decides to sue. If a customer have any outside food or drinks, and then get sick, then it creates a legal grey area where nobody can prove what caused the customer to be sick

    But I don't like how they handle the hot water issue. WTF excuse is that, no hot water? You telling me you cook all your food without hot water?? It is worse than say, they charge you RM 2 for a cup of hot water.

    1. That was exactly what I thought (and told them)...a full running kitchen and you don't have hot water?

      The practice of "no outside food and drinks allowed" is probably a safety issue, for say, restaurants in the US but not here, otherwise our restaurants would pay more attention to the cleanliness issue. Here is just their cheapskate way of saying you must order our drinks and food...and nothing else!

      I guess I was just unlucky to have encountered this situation, otherwise it would have been a pleasant meal as there isn't much need of service, they just plonk the bags of seafood onto your table and that's're pretty much on your own until you finish and leave.

  2. I agree with you 100%, at those outrageous prices and they do not wait on you hand and foot. I most certainly would go elsewhere, never mind how good the food is. Ridiculous!

    1. What horrible people they have there! So hard to get just a little bit of hot water, charged for drinks you did not have...and the audacity to charge 10% service charge some more. I would have made a scene...with a lot of expletives thrown in. Tsk! Tsk!

    2. I'm no queen, so I don't have to be waited on hand and foot, just some decent service will do. Restaurants need to recognise that no matter how good your food is, there will always be other options.

      If I had known of the overcharge at the restaurant itself, I'm sure I would have given them a ticking off.

  3. yes many small and new shops ard town are having bad service. the lack of experience and trained staff. either service is extremely slow, staff is rude, there is no coordination, wrong orders, error in bills! but food is good, lol.

    1. I guess good staff is not easy to come by, so when they're lucky enough to have such staff, they should really appreciate them. Nowadays, it's just not good food, it's the whole dining experience (service included) that makes or breaks a restaurant.

  4. I went to this place to tapao and my family says eating seafood in chinese style will taste much better. They don't fancy the food being cooked in plastic bags. What a sour experience regarding thee hot water. They could have just charged you for the hot water and say nothing. The manager did not come back at any point in time? How long did you all spend eating those seafood, having to remove the shells and etc? My family refused to eat in there saying will take a long time to eat so I had to buy takeaway. Definitely very bad service. Especially when they charged other drinks to you, Can't they see you already have those smoothies on your bill as the drinks so why should there be more drinks?

    1. The garlic butter and zesty lemon sauces are still ok, it's just a different way of eating brings out the freshness of the seafood and allows it to shine instead of it being buried in robust flavoured sauces. I don't think the seafood was cooked in the bag, it was probably just poured into the bag to be served that way. We finished eating in less than 2 hours.

      I did see the manager again when I was about to leave but, at that point in time, my anger had lessen (I didn't know about the bill then), so I didn't bring it up to him.

    2. Oh, when I say seafood cooked in chinese style tastes better, I don't mean any robust flavoured sauces. I just meant lightly steamed to bring out the freshness of the seafood. I think garlic butter definitely buries the taste of the seafood with the butter taste as butter taste is stronger than the seafood taste.

    3. I'd have to disagree with you on this point coz steaming seafood is a Chinese way of cooking. If this was the only way to eat fresh seafood, then our western counterparts won't be able to cook their utterly fresh seafood as they'd usually baste their seafood (especially fish and lobster or any seafood for that matter) in butter and they're absolutely delish cooked this way and the freshness of the seafood is still very apparent.

    4. Don't quite get you here. Is steaming a Chinese way of cooking and no other culture cook food by steaming? When I was in Mallaig, Scotland, I ate steamed seafood too.

      Maybe I should not use the word freshness. What I meant is - lightly steamed to bring out the sea taste of the seafood - you know the slightly salty slightly sweet and the smell of the sea taste - the butter will definitely cover all these up. I ate very fresh seafood in Scotland before and when I dipped the seafood in the butter sauce provided, I definitely can taste the butter much more than the sea of the seafood taste and for that matter, the seafood I ate in Scotland was not basted with butter but steamed and the butter sauce was provided in a separate bowl.

      I mean if a person really wants to taste the sea in the seafood and the seafood for what it is, then cooking them in spicy or butter sauce will not enable the person to do so. Of course you can still tell the difference whether the seafood is fresh or not despite it being covered in butter or spicy sauce.

    5. Ok, maybe I shouldn't have used the word Chinese way of cooking (of course, other cultures also steam food) but it is more commonly eaten by the Chinese here in a steamed version (especially for those who want to get the true taste of the seafood). Even the steamed versions (we eat outside) have other ingredients added to it, like egg, wine, ginger or goji berries, that will also mar the taste. If you really want to get the taste of the sea in your seafood, I guess you have to steam it yourself at home.

      I enjoy eating seafood cooked other ways too. For me, personally, I don't need it to taste like the sea, as long as it's fresh, I'm fine. That's probably why the majority of Malaysians prefer sweet-sour and/or chilli crabs! ;)

    6. Very true, my family only like to eat steamed crabs at home, they don't like to eat crabs in restaurants. We all know that the majority of Malaysians love full flavoured food thus the love for sambal, assam laksa and etc. :)

  5. I have to agree that the yabby head looks cute. It is as if it is dutifully waiting to be eaten :D I am not one who can take spicy at all - one bite of spicy and my mouth will feel like it's on fire for a while. Which is why when it comes to chilli crab I eat it very slowly, or at the very least eat a third of a crab. Don't get me wrong, I like the taste of chilli crab, so it's quite torturous for me :D

    Generally if I paid quite a bit for a meal or if it's a fancy meal, I don't go back if I have bad service. It just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and feel like I'm second-class. I tend to go back to places where the food is so-so but the staff are nice. There is this really average sushi shop that I go to for lunch at work - quite bland sushi but the minute I come in they are all ready to cut the sushi rolls up for me, just as I want it :)

    1. Oh, you can't take spicy...luckily, there are other ways to cook seafood, like basting it in butter that yields equally delicious seafood.

      Yeah, I would totally go back to places where food wasn't that great but their service was. So I see you're also one of those who'd go to Cheers (bar) where everybody knows your name! ;D

  6. Service is so important! The number of people that will return to a place with excellent service but average food is high. The chance of people returning with bad service and excellent food is very low. When oh when will the Malaysian service industry discover this? It's been a researched fact for years!

    1. I'm one of those advocates of 'good service is very important' too. I think those who focusses too much on their profit margins tend to hire service staff that are not great. They have to learn that the whole dining experience is important, not just the food!

  7. the main part of the post was fun to read ... i'd be playing with the yabby head too heheh. but i'd never heard of 'spaceship' used to refer to crab shells :D ooo, and yes, that looks like a destructive typhoon went through the crabs :D i can empathise with the over-charging bit, at other restaurants ... i try to scan the bills when they arrive, but sometimes i'm a bit too tipsy and i don't realise that one or two items were (probably accidentally) added on ....

    1. Oh, that word 'spaceship' is a word my family concocted to refer to the main crab shell (because of its resemblance)...and we've used it ever since....hehe! :D I think we have to constantly remind ourselves to check the bill since many service staff I encountered these days are quite incompetent. You'll see another even worse story coming up soon! :'(

  8. Oh messy, messy hah..hah... That's the fun way to eat seafood, right? Must be good, this one though I am not crazy about seafood. Really, the attitude of the senior staff is appalling! The restaurant should look into situations like this and train their staff to exercise discretion and reasonableness. And as for the overcharging, gosh! I know my partner will spit and swear never to come back. But I am more forgiving and if the food is good, I might return unless if the second visit is also unpleasant.

    1. Yes, eating crabs is a very messy affair...but, then again, that's the fun of it! I'm also more forgiving and may return if the food is good....but that's only if it's a lower priced restaurant or coffee shop....not when it's a pricey one like this, I'd expect a certain level of service!

  9. Not a cheap meal indeed, I still prefer to get my crabby fix at dai chow restaurant :P

    1. Yes, it was rather pricey but it was nice to try seafood made some other way other than the ones we're more accustomed to in tai chow places.

  10. food definitely looks good, but the price is veering towards fine dining sorta price me think, kan? if service is great then perhaps it'll be a decent place to stop by.

    1. Not quite fine dining prices yet but still relatively high, so we'd expect some decent service at least.


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