Roasted Garlic-Chile Dungeness Crab with Garlic Noodles

In the Bay Area, the prized Pacific crustaceans are braised in a buttery bath of garlic and spice, then served with a side of savory noodles.

  • Serves

    serves 4

  • Cook

    25 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on December 23, 2021

Garlic noodles with roasted crab is a classic Vietnamese pairing which has also become a regional delicacy throughout California’s Bay Area. This version is a collaboration between SAVEUR’s Senior Commerce Editor, Ellen Fort, who lived in Oakland for several years and Oakland chef Tu David Phu. 

While buying live crab is ideal, often likes to purchase crab that’s been steamed, cleaned, and cracked by her fishmonger. That means the crab is already cooked, and the body segmented into two pieces for immediate use in your recipe. If you’re up for steaming your own crab, bring about an inch of water to a boil in a large pot, insert a steamer basket, add the crab, cover, and seam for six to seven minutes per pound. Rinse the cooked crab thoroughly in cool water to stop the cooking before processing. (This is a great video on how to break down your crab.) 

Cracking the shells before roasting allows the buttery chile-garlic liquid to seep into the shells, flavoring the sweet crabmeat within. Dungeness crabs are widely available on the West Coast beginning in November or December; the rest of us can look for them at your local fishmonger or Asian market, or order them online from Giovanni’s Fish Market or Pike Place Fish Market.


For the garlic-chile crab:

  • 16 tbsp. (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. crushed red chile flakes or Aleppo pepper
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • Two 1½–2 lb. Dungeness crabs, steamed, cleaned, legs removed and cracked, bodies halved
  • ½ cups coarsely chopped parsley

For the garlic noodles:

  • 20 oz. fresh ramen noodles (or substitute dried spaghetti noodles)
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¼ cups chives or scallion, thinly sliced


Step 1

Preheat the oven (with one of its racks positioned in the center) to 450°F.

Step 2

In a large, ovenproof skillet, Dutch oven, or roasting pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. When melted, stir in the garlic, shallots, onion, chile flakes, and black pepper, then transfer to the oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant and just beginning to turn golden, 7–8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and stir in the crab pieces, making sure to thoroughly coat the shells. Return the pan to the oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic butter begins to caramelize on the shells, about 15 minutes.

Step 3

Meanwhile, make the noodles: Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain the noodles, reserving half a cup of the cooking liquid.

Step 4

To a large skillet over medium heat, add the reserved noodle-cooking liquid and the garlic. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter to emulsify, then stir in the fish sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, then add the reserved noodles, tossing to coat in the garlic sauce. Season to taste with black pepper, transfer to a large bowl, and garnish with sliced chives or scallions.

Step 5

Remove the crab from the oven and add half of the parsley to the pan, tossing to coat. Using tongs, transfer the crab to a large platter and drizzle the butter mixture over the top; sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve hot, alongside the garlic noodles.

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