Filipino Crab Eating
Tim Potter Sugar Land Texas
Common Philippine CrabsCuriosity made me search online and research crustacean cook books about crabs. Unfortunately there was so little about edible crabs and if common Philippine crabs would have those that thrive in freshwater. Wikipedia only described and distinguished four of them: Alimango (Mud or Mangrove Crab); Alimasag (Blue or Spider Crab); Talangka (Shore or River Crab) and the Katang (Fresh water Crab). Both Talangka and Katang are much smaller related to the Alimango.
The Alimango is the largest among the four kinds of crabs. Having large pincers is the easiest way to distinguish them from the Alimasag. Their shell is thicker and tougher to crack. They can really grow large and I have seen at the Palawan Iwahig Penal Colony inmates selling them almost the size of dinner plates! The crabs are caught or trapped in rice paddies of the colony. With this I can conclude that those are freshwater crabs because rice would not grow in saltwater paddies.
The Alimasag is relatively smaller than the alimango with slender pincers and thinner shell. It has more meat and 'less compartments' containing them compared to the alimango. The 'compartments' are very thin shell-like within a crab when you open them. The pincers are easy to crack by even just biting through them.
The Talangka and Katang are small look-alikes of the Alimasag. Many Filipinos simply love the fat extract of these crabs preserved and sold in wide-mouthed bottles. Another recipe liked by some is the Burong (Pickled) Talangka.
The regular way in cooking the crabs is simple. While fresh put them inside a covered cookware, salt them generously to bring out their flavor then heat over medium fire. They would be ready to eat once their top shell has turned orange in color.