Ministry of Crab Shanghai opened on the ground floor of the landmark Barbarossa in People’s Park last October. It’s the only other branch of Sri Lanka’s famed Ministry of Crab, and has generated quite some buzz since opening. (Update: There’s now a Ministry of Crab in Manila.)

Barbarossa Shanghai in People's Park. Photo by Rachel Gouk
Barbarossa inside People’s Park

Ministry of Crab, Colombo is ranked #29 in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and has received high praise and fanfare for serving ginormous crustaceans, their claim to fame.

The opening presents Shanghai, or rather the seafood-loving nation of China, with the means to eat impressively large crabs in a classy setting.

Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

3 Reasons Why Ministry of Crab is Worth Visiting

Direct From The Source

The restaurant air freights fresh live crabs and prawns direct from the source. It’s unequivocally fresh, high-quality seafood, which obviously, doesn’t come cheap.

Internationally Recognized

Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

I haven’t been to Colombo, but the menu here is exactly the same as the Colombo restaurant, and boasts the same quality as the Asia’s 50 Best ranked restaurant.

Size You Can’t Get Anywhere Else

The crabs range from 500g (¥288) and up, providing ten sizes to choose from. The largest crab, aptly named Crabzilla, weighs in at 2kg (¥1,988). The Crabzilla is the answer to the Tomahawk steak, a prime cut of meat that would usually weigh in under 1.5kg.

Succulent crabs at Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Same goes for the prawns—from a half dozen plate of Black Tiger prawns (¥168) to the Prawnzilla 500g+ (¥368).

All can be cooked in the following flavors: pepper, chili, curry, garlic chili, Sichuan peppercorn, or butter.

Ordering A Dinner For Two

To start, the clams (¥88) are fantastic—plump mollusks cooked in butter and soy sauce.

Clams at Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Pair that with a serving of Crab Liver Pate (¥98). It comes with a few slices of toasted bread.

Crab Liver Pate at Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Crab Liver Pate at Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

The Kilo Crab (¥788) is more than enough to satiate a table for two, with a few supplemental dishes. The crab sits towering over a small portion of rice drenched in sauce, and comes pre-cracked. It’s fleshy claws and feathery meat is just divine.

Crab at Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Butter is the best option if you want to appreciate the taste of the crab itself. I opt for garlic chili.

They provide bibs, too, so you can crack away without ruining your clothes.

Get sides with your crab—steamed rice (¥18/small, ¥28/large) or bread (¥28) is great with the sauce that comes with the crab.

Bread at at Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Bread at Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

Add to your order a plate of morning glory (¥48) stir-fried in spicy shrimp paste.

Morning Glory at at Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

The prawn is glorious, but if you’re unaccustomed to slurping the heads dry, stick to the crab.

They do have a few chicken entrees that are much more affordable than the sea-faring dishes, starting at ¥68.  

In Summary

Nothing beats the taste of fresh seafood done well. Sri Lankan crabs are highly sought after worldwide, and continue to be an extremely popular order in neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

If you’re a fan of crab, you should definitely try it, especially if you haven’t had the Sri Lankan variety yet.


at Ministry of Crab Shanghai in People's Park, Shanghai. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The aftermath

Ministry of Crab
Address: Inside People’s Park, 1/F (Barbarossa), 231 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu 南京西路231号1楼, 人民公园内, 近黄陂南路
Tel: 63180220
Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-11pm