Crustacean-inspired Garlic Noodles and Roasted Crab Recipes
June 08th, 2008 119 Comments

Crustacean-inspired Garlic Noodles and Roasted Crab Recipes

Garlic Noodles and Roasted Crab
Garlic Noodles and Roasted Crab pictures (2 of 8)

If you live in the Bay Area or the Greater Los Angeles Area, I am sure you have heard of–and most likely dined in–the famed Thanh Long Restaurant and its better known sister property Crustacean. Their signature garlic noodles and roasted crab not only won over food critics, foodies, and aficionados alike, they also help launched a multi-million restaurant empire (counting 3 and growing!) for the An’s family who hailed from Vietnam. The legacy lies in the “Secret Kitchen“–a completely enclosed kitchen within the main kitchen, off limits to all employees, where the family members churn out the legendary garlic noodles and roasted crab, using secret recipes that were passed down for three generations.

I had dined at Thanh Long in San Francisco many years ago and really enjoyed the garlic noodles and roasted crab, but it’s not until this week that I reacquainted myself with them. This time, the location was Crustacean Beverly Hills; the dishes ordered were roasted crab, grilled tiger prawns with garlic noodles, and Maine lobster with garlic noodles.

Crustacean-inspired Garlic Noodles and Roasted CrabThe taste of the garlic noodles was exactly what I remember. In my honest opinion, their roasted crab was too dry for my taste (I think the crab was boiled and then roasted in the oven hence it lost all its juicyness). The lobster garlic noodles was good, but not spectacular. The best dish was definitely grilled tiger prawns with garlic noodles. The sweetness of the grilled prawns complemented the garlic noodles perfectly. Everything ordered that night was also a tad too salty. Anyway, I was still smitten by their foods, and most importantly, intrigued by their “Secret Kitchen” and secret family recipes.

I resolved to figure out the secret recipes, using none other than my taste buds and keen eyes. I examined the remains of the roasted crab dish–cracked black peppers, check; coarsely chopped garlic, check; butter, check; exotic spices, maybe but I couldn’t find any evidence. I also packed a box of garlic noodles to go, for further examination at home.

I think I’ve got most things figured out. Maybe.

So, I spent hours in the kitchen yesterday, perfecting my version of Crustacean’s garlic noodles and roasted crab. I added the seasonings little by little, trying to get as close to the original taste as possible. I have no doubt that my recipes and techniques are somewhat different from the secret recipes, but there are really not that many “secret” ways to prepare garlic noodles and roasted crab. I think my garlic noodles and roasted crab are as good as they get compared to the originals at Crustacean, at a fraction of the cost/price! (One order of garlic noodles cost US$11.50 and the roasted crab is US$41.95.)

As to the myth of “Secret Kitchen,” I will say that it’s more for smart marketing than its practicality.

Tagged as:

119 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Kenny Mah // Life for Beginners says:

    What an incredible combination… I’m now imagining all sorts of new combos with the garlic noodles… simple enough even for me to manage! ;)

  2. Julian Hsu says:

    Oooh, I’m looking forward to this! I also tried to make the garlic noodles, but I lack keen eyes and tastebuds.

    My result was not something I’d blog about. :P

  3. Manggy says:

    Ooh, good-lookin’ crab there :) (Sorry about your dry crab experience!! I feel so bad just reading about it!) Can’t wait for the recipe! :)

  4. didally says:

    Wow, roasted crabs, it’s the first I heard of, really. I love crabs! And to pair it with garlic noodles, i think it’s fantastic.

  5. worldwindows says:

    Dry or disintegrating crab meat is terrible. The reason is what you have mentioned or crabs that were defrosted.

    In Ho Chi Minh City there are many shops serving excellent crab claw noodles. You can have it with ‘bun’, vermicelli etc. The claw is from the male crab. It’s engorged and juicy. It is the best part of the crab and I was told it’s cholesterol free! Not sure on this but want to believe it.

    As for the garlic the best for stir-frying and garnishing would be the small and tiny ones. It can be found in Thailand and Vietnam. The fragrance and taste is out of the world.

  6. Christine says:

    B –

    This looks amazing and perfect! I might do this using regular smaller crabs since my budget seems to get tighter every day. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. d0cchuck says:

    The only thing that would make your recipe better is if you had used Maryland Blues. LOL

  8. wmw says:

    This is one seafood dish that I would love to eat!

  9. Annie & Nate says:

    Bee, we love garlic noodles. We dream about the roasted crab from Thanh Long that we had a long time back. It’s so expensive. Thanks for doing the hard work and working out the recipe.

    Can’t wait to try it when crabs are back in season.

  10. Piggy says:

    Looks really delicious! what’s chicken bouillon powder?

  11. Joy says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the garlic noodles at Crustacean. Just Amazing. Your dish looks equally as delicious! You’ve got my mouth watering and I think I want to call Crustacean to make reservations right now!

  12. Franco says:

    I love the crabs but I love the Crustacean’s garlic noodles even more. :)

    Thanks for post this.

  13. "Joe" who is constantly craving says:

    i love all things garlic..definitely will throw in more garlic n olive oil in my pasta now!

  14. Nguyen Family Circus says:

    OMG….i can’t wait to try your recipe. It looks sooooo yummy!

    What is the name of that fresh noodle do you recall?

  15. The Urban Eater says:

    Garlic + Pasta + Crab = DELICIOUS!
    I have an addiction to crab. Really, it’s bad.

  16. syrie says:

    Bee, I love crab and the photos are heavenly. The garlic noodles sound intriguing.

  17. Y says:

    If I could afford it, I reckon I could eat crab at least once a week and never tire of it.

  18. mtan says:

    I used to go to the Daly City branch of Thanh Long to devour a crab and soak the rice with the sauce… all that garlic and pepper mixed with the crabby fat flavor. Will have to make those garlic noodles soon!

  19. diana says:

    Crustascean restaurant garlicky noodle I think consists of Maggi sauce, garlic, and French butter- Frentel- Demi-Sel ( in red can, in dry aisle shelve & available in any Asian supermarkets). Try it and see if this version also closely match to their.

  20. Damyanti says:

    I love the concept of crab and garlic noodles. Just found your site, must link to it so I can come back often.

  21. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Garlic noodles!

    Pray tell, what genre of noodles were used for the garlic noodle dish?

    Egg or wheat?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Garlic noodles and Roasted crabs sound like a good combination. Thank you for the easy recipes.

  23. Vern says:

    I have tried this receipe a couple times and it is ‘Good’ actually ‘Very good’. Only issue is it is too ‘salty’. Most likely from the chicken bouillon (which I will cut in half next time). Also, you can buy garlic olive oil so you don’t have to blend it yourself. Makes it less sticky.

  24. weiwei says:

    love your website! the pics are gorgeous. can you please tell me what kind of noodles were used in this recipe?

  25. Anonymous says:

    what kind of noodle do you use and where i can buy? thx

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’ve tried this dish and have to say it’s pretty darn close to the real deal. In fact, my guests and I prefer this recipe over Crustaceans. However, the noodles didn’t come out to what we expected; cooks fault most likely. This recipe was quick and easy for a relatively amateur cook. Thanks for the recipe.

  27. Anonymous says:

    The crab was just as good, if not better than the restaurant. I have been there many times, and when this came out of the oven…I swore I was at one of the restaurants. This is stuff you actually have dreams about.
    On the other hand, the noodles were far from the original. Don’t get me wrong, they were good. Very good. But not Crustacean good. When someone gets a recipe that is as close…please email me. I would love it.

  28. dennis says:

    As a former employee of Crustacean (SF), I can tell you that the “secret kitchen” consists of a bank of microwave ovens, vats of margarine, lots of MSG, and frozen crab. Ask around, you’ll hear the same from others. It tastes good, but don’t eat too much of it.

    • Loren says:

      Thank you for the verification Dennis…I knew most of this however, I envisioned them throwing live crab in the Microwave…your versions better….

  29. Anonymous says:

    Thanh Long Restaurant in Sydney, Australia is actually one of my favourite pho restaurants located in Bankstown. Seems the restaurants who are named ‘Thanh Long’ serve very delicious foods.

    The crab garlich noodle looks very insteresting and it makes me drool just by looking at it!

  30. Anonymous says:

    I tried this recipe over the weekend. Turned out great! But, help! I can’t get the crab smell out of my house! What to do??

  31. Anonymous says:

    Thank you soooo much! Because of this post, I believe I have perfected the Garlic Roasted Crab! The technique is to steam the crab just until the shell becomes pink. Then chop it up into smaller pieces and do everything else. But you’re right, if you leave it in the oven for too long or boil it too long, then it loses its juicyness. As far as the noodles, I have yet to find a good brand b/c fresh noodles is hard to find. Anybody have any suggestions?!

  32. naomi says:

    i’ve seen other recipes that attempt to replicate the noodles that call for a touch of brown sugar and a dash of fish sauce, fyi.

  33. Paula says:

    Just found your website last week and haven’t stop browsing since. awesome pictures and recipes….just wondering what kind of noodles did you use for the garlic noodles.
    thank you!

  34. YunaC says:

    Thank you so much, you are a goddess! I have been searching all over the internet for this recipe! I tried to imitate the garlic noodles a few months back and used a more “italian” approach. I cant thank you enough for your creativeness! I made your garlic noodles for a potluck last weekend and it was a hit!!! Everyone was asking for the recipe! Thank you!!!! Will enjoy this for life!

    • I am so happy 1 more reader converted to this Crustacean-inspired garlic noodles and roasted crab. This is an absolute delicious recipe and best shared with loads of friends :0 Did you tell your friends to come to Rasa Malaysia for the recipe? ;P

  35. Mesha says:

    I made this recipe last night for my family and it was perfect. It was a right on for the crab and the noodles. I was so surprised because I am not the best cook and my meal tasted just like Crustacean’s. I was so amazed and so was my family. Thank you so much for this. WOW!!!!!!

  36. Pingback:The Dinner Report

  37. Pingback:Roasted crab & garlic noodles « Joie de vivre

  38. Cheryl says:

    OMG I’ve read everyone inquiring about “what type of noodle to use” but I still haven’t seen a response. YES I LOVE the CRAB!! Thank you for the receipe, it came out 99% like Crustaceans overly priced crab!!! BUT the noodles were too garlicy and a bit on the mushy side… HELP!! I voluneteered to make this for Xmas dinner .. any suggestions on the noodles and where to get it????


  39. gaard says:

    This crab recipe is SPOT ON! Well, not quite…it’s actually BETTER than Crustacean’s! I’ve made it several times now and prefer the Knorr brand of bouillion so far. But watch out for Knorr’s many varieties of bouillion, several of which are only “chicken flavored.” But how can we make the noodles hot? And not mushy? I’ve been using the egg noodles found in the grocery store (the ones in the produce section next to the tofu and wonton wrappers). Is that the wrong kind of noodle, maybe? Looking forward to the possible update with brown sugar and fish sauce.

    • Jason says:

      I tried this recipe last night and it was very, very close. A great substitute from having to fly from OC to SF for a yummy dinner. I took the advice and added a bit of fish sauce and brown sugar. About 1/8 tsp. of fish sauce and 1 Tbsp. brown sugar. It adds an extra depth of flavor and brings out the sweetness in the garlic.

      Noodles – I used store bought dried chow mein noodles. I followed the directions, but left them very al dente since there would be the residual cooking after drained due to the warmth of the noodles. After draining, I added a bit of olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking while sitting.

      If you start the sauce as soon as you put the noodles in boiling water, you can have a warm version, which I prefer. I didn’t let the sauce cool before tossing and it came out divine!!

      Thanks for the recipe!! :)

  40. Pingback:An ode to garlic « East 404

  41. Richard says:

    Ok I believe I have found it: “Crustaceans Garlic Noodles” Recipe. Tastes GREAT!
    Serves/Makes: 4
    1 pound Asian style egg noodles (FRESH, not dried)
    4 tablespoons butter
    6 cloves garlic smashed
    2 tablespoons oyster sauce
    2 teaspoons fish sauce
    1/4 cup parmesan cheese

    Cook noodles as directed in package*** and set aside. Melt butter in a pan over medium low heat then add smashed garlic and saute for 5 minutes. You want to infuse the butter with garlic but do not want to brown them as it will be bitter. Adjust heat if you need.

    Discard garlic. Add fish sauce and oyster sauce to the butter, stir and mix. Add cooked noodles and Parmesan cheese and toss.

    ***I personally like Japanese Yakisoba noodles that comes in three small pouches in one bag. Boil 3/4 cups of water for all three pouches, add noodles and cook until all the water is absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes

    Crustacean Restaurant, San Francisco

  42. earl farnsworth says:

    I always put the crab guts (not the brain) in with the sauce ingredients. PPQ Island, Thanh’s rival, Has a more liquid sauce for their roasted crab, which is also delicious and starts may arguments over rankings…

  43. Pingback:New garlic noodles recipe. « Irene en route.

  44. some dude says:

    the restaurant uses margarine instead of butter in their recipe

  45. some dude says:

    for the garlic noodles

  46. Bryan says:

    I am allergic to Chicken, so I know Crustacean does not use any Chicken Stock, Soup ect in Garlic Noodles.

  47. Christine J says:

    Hi, I went to Thanh long and Crustacean and I love their Roasted Garlic Crab.. I’m very happy that I can find the recipe here and I can’t wait to try it out..

    However, I feel a bit nervous to cook a crab as I never cooked a crab before. I was wondering if you could make a video of it? I think it will surely help many people who would like to try making it as well.

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I’d also like to thank you in advance if you decide to make a video of it…


  48. ardora says:

    Thank you for the recipe, I have my sister eating crab and she didn’t even like crab before this, it came out perfect, so perfect I’m gonna cook some more crab tonight

  49. Sheetrock says:

    My husband and I just made the garlic roasted crab and the garlic noodle it was the best! Thanks for the recipes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Thanks for visiting Rasa Malaysia, #9 most popular cooking blog. Please like Rasa Malaysia on Facebook, join email or RSS for new recipes!

Facebook  |  Email  |  RSS