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When we asked the hotel concierge at the Shangri-La in Singapore for a recommendation on a great but casual seafood dinner, he was quick to reply:  "UDMC Seafood Centre."  The UDMC Seafood Centre is a short cab ride from downtown Singapore along the shoreline of the South China Sea.  It's actually a cluster of little restaurants specializing in live seafood of all sorts.  We're talking about live shrimp, crabs, lobster, fish, clams and some shellfish you've never, ever seen before.

When your cab drops you off there you face the dilemma of which restaurant to choose from. There are several and they look very similar. As you approach each one a "barker" comes out to try and lure you in. In our case, we chose the Gold Coast Seafood Restaurant and we were not disappointed.

We started our meal out with an appetizer order of "drunken shrimp."  This is kind of cruel but what they do is fish out a handful of live shrimp (pretty good sized ones) and bring 'em to your table in a clear, circular baking dish with lid.  They carefully lift the lid while trying to prevent the shrimp from jumping out and douse 'em with some sort of clear alcohol. It really makes them jump around!  But they don't get to enjoy their "high" for long. It's off to the oven where they are quickly cooked and returned to your table once again ready to be enjoyed!

For our main dish, we chose the national dish of Singapore---chili crabs.  For some reason they import crabs from Sri Lanka for this dish.  You get to choose from several different crabs but when we asked the waiter's recommendation he suggested the Sri Lankan "king" crab, so that's what we went with.  They take these live crabs, chop 'em up and stir fry them with a hot, zesty chili oil. They're very messy but very delicious.

The meals always come with a flat little bowl of peanuts and a ton of napkins for the chili crabs.  In fact we went through more than our share of napkins and our waiter appeared a little peeved at us.  Hey, cut us some slack, Jack.  We were rookies on this mission!

A couple of the local brews--Tiger--complimented this meal nicely.

Gold Coast is located at the UDMC Seafood Center at 1202 East Coast Parkway in Singapore.  Their phone number is (65) 448 2020  / 242 7720.

One note about Singapore seafood restaurants.  On another occasion we had been shopping and asked a cab driver to recommend a seafood place.  He dropped us off at a small restaurant located on the second floor of a little complex.  We walked in and were seated and told that there was no menu.  We were instructed to just check out all the live tanks and place our orders.  We pointed to one small lobster and they wanted to charge us $60 U.S. for it alone!   The other prices were horribly out of wack, too.  So be careful.  

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