Many people mistakenly assume that curacha is a delicacy that can only be enjoyed in Zamboanga. Not only do the stunning crabs exist in other parts of the Philippines, they reach all the way down to Australian waters!
At the Nasugbu Public Market last week, they had a motherload of freshly caught curacha (previous post on them here) in the run up to the long holiday. They were mostly still alive and wickedly overpriced at PHP450 a kilo. Even lengthy bargaining and leaning on sukis only got the price down to PHP400, so I only bought one large one to add variety to a cioppino in the plans…
They display them upside down on the counters so they don’t crawl away…
…a close up of the “beasts” either fascinates a viewer or gives them the chills. Their name translates into “cockroaches” (of the sea) after all… :)
Their bright red orange color, BEFORE they are cooked, is a bit unusual in that they must be incredibly conspicuous in their natural habitats, though I understand they are great diggers when trying to avoid predators like humans.
Their meat is similar to that of blue or mud crabs, but a little harder to get to. Some say it is sweeter, but I am not sure I would agree with that assessment. They also don’t seem to yield as much meat for the overall weight of the crab.
I cooked the curacha in the cioppino featured here, and while consuming the soup, decided to pick out the meat from one half of a curacha and placed it on a piece of sourdough bread that was toasted with some olive oil. Added a bit of tomato and broth and took a big bite. Nice. Very nice. But if you had to make many such toasts for say an appetizer at a party, you better be prepared to shell out big bucks for lots and lots of curachas. :)