Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Coconut Crab of Batanes

We heard so much about the coconut crab being a delicacy and a must-try in Batanes.

Strangely, it wasn't readily available in many restaurants. We later learned that, although it has been declared a threatened species, coconut crab can still be served locally. It just can't be exported out of the province. 

Food in Batanes is not cheap because resources are scarce and some food items are flown in. But P1,800 per kilo for something local, with most of its weight in the shell?  Anyway, we thought we'd regret bypassing the opportunity so we decided to try it. Suckers.

(pictures of crab from here)

We ordered 2 kilos for our group of 11. Bigger suckers.

The crab was presented to us in pieces on a big platter. While excited to  dig in, we were dismayed to find mostly legs. How did we not notice that this crab had no body? This anthropod is mostly long spindly legs and sacs that make up what looks like the body and the butt. The only real meaty part of the whole crab are the two pincers.

  the sacs are filled with crab fat 

Let me qualify that most of us are crab-eaters and know how to extract meat from the legs and happy to go through all the crab cavities to get at the flesh. We really tried to find the meat in this crab but there wasn't much.  As for the taste? Bland and at times tough.

I definitely prefer the fleshy alimango (mud crab) or the sweet alimasag (blue or spider crab) which is abundant in other parts of the country--and not even endangered or expensive.

It was such a let-down that I didn't even take pictures of the cooked crab (I had to get the crab pictures online)

Our verdict? Unless you really enjoy aligue, don't bother. Let them live.

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