22 Feb2008


Members of my office crew, legal team, and I spent a good hour in the Legazpi market last week, in the midst of a mild weather disturbance raging outdoors. Despite the bad weather, we were surprised to find incredible offerings in the seafood and vegetable sections and I will do a few posts on our finds. The first thing that caught my eye in the seafood section was a tray with these ENORMOUS squid heads and tentacles. The massive body lay nearby on the tile counter, but it was the heads that I wanted to photograph… stunning!


Next up were some “alupihang dagat” or literally translated as “sea centipedes,” rather unusual looking critters that I guess would have a similar taste and texture to prawns or other similar shellfish. These were at a vendor that had kilos upon kilos of already peeled clam meats, shrimps, etc.


A gorgeous basket filled to the brim with lato or seaweed, in this case, with unusually large “leaves” (what the heck does one call the parts of seaweed???)…


Enormous and tasty WILD prawns that are sea caught, not pond-raised. I find that these have a nicer flavor and are perfect in preparations that are bold and abusive, say grilled over hot coals or bake with garlic and butter and chillies…


There was a wide selection of shrimp/prawns in different sizes and varieties. I sometimes like these “white shrimp” more than the darker prawns, particularly in soups, as their thinner skins and slightly different textured meat goes well with the sour broth…


Lots of small salay-salay…


Shark meat or pating was also on offer, the key ingredient (alternative to ray meat) in kinunot, a local dish with malunggay leaves and coconut milk.


A whole pile of red fish with huge eyes locally called “matang kwau” or “owl’s eyes” (also known as baga-baga to some) due to the disproportionate size of the eyes. Apparently, these are relatively deep water fish, and incredibly or is it relatively dumb, in that they are easily caught by hand line with several hooks in a row…


And finally, a tank filled with tilapia, just so you are sure that the fish were alive and flipping when you bought them. Overall, fantastic selections in an airy, clean provincial market!



  1. Maria Clara says:

    Beautiful and bountiful fresh seafood selection! I will go with your grilled prawns with butter and garlic or prawn sinigang in kamias with lots of tomatoes, kangkong and sliced banana blossoms.

    Feb 22, 2008 | 12:56 pm


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  3. melody says:

    i would love to get a hold of those prawns! inggit ako! it’s a bit expensive where i am.

    by the way, we call the red fish “matang kwago”.

    Feb 22, 2008 | 1:17 pm

  4. Essa says:

    Shark meat? Say it ain’t so, Marketman! :-(

    Feb 22, 2008 | 1:34 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    Essa, yup, it’s shark meat, a fairly common sight in Albay markets… In the same manner rays are common in Bohol and Palawan and elsewhere…

    Feb 22, 2008 | 1:36 pm

  6. sonny sj says:

    How is miss alupihang dagat!! The meat is much sweeter than the usual shirmp or prawns. It’s quite difficult to eat, rather, to extract the meat because of its thorny shell but once you know the proper way of removing the shell, everything is really a breeze.
    Alupihang dagat is Mantis Shrimp in English.

    Feb 22, 2008 | 2:20 pm

  7. nina says:

    In my province we have smaller version of alupihang dagat called PILANTIK. They are much smaller than the one in the photo. The meat is similar to the crabs’. They also have aligi. I love it!

    Feb 22, 2008 | 2:36 pm

  8. sonny sj says:

    Just got too excited to see alupihang dagat again. First line of my comment should have read: How I miss alupihang dagat!!

    Feb 22, 2008 | 2:57 pm

  9. chunky says:

    man, those squid heads and tentacles are sooooooooooo ugly …hahaha! reminds of the character in “pirates of the carribean”.

    Feb 22, 2008 | 3:34 pm

  10. bethp says:

    This is the part of your blog that I love the most MM, your market trips/finds! Look at those wonderful pictures, I found myself chuckling while checking out all those images,coz’ I realized I’m thinking already of what dish can I come up with each pic.As if the fish and prawns were really in front of me.

    Feb 22, 2008 | 3:58 pm

  11. Cumin says:

    Ang galing! I like best the top photo of the squid, so shiny and fresh-looking! Must’ve been slightly frustrating not to have access to a kitchen then for cooking up another feast on the spot.

    Feb 22, 2008 | 4:00 pm

  12. joey says:

    Alupihan dagat is my Moby Dick…since I first saw this shellfish we have locked horns many a time :) I bought some small specimens in the Salcedo market (I cooked them in some wine/garlic/parsley), I have had them at Seaside dampa (in garlic butter…really yummy!). In HK (they are called mantis shrimp) I had them fried with lots of garlic and black pepper…this was really delicious. You can even have them as sushi (it’s call “shako” in the sushi bars, this is a favorite of my husband). Do you know that bigger alupihan dagats can break an aquarium’s glass with it’s claw? :)

    Feb 22, 2008 | 4:48 pm

  13. ratacutie says:

    Hahaha I got scared with the photo of the squid head at first glance. I think the smaller versions of the sea centipede are called pitik-pitik in Iloilo or Capiz, or both. We used to have lots of those together with Diwal! Yummy! I just like them boiled with a little salt. You can taste their unadulterated flavor. That’s how we usually eat our shrimps too. I find that “wild” shrimps (putian) from brackish waters (not sea) are the sweetest! I will have shrimps over prawns any day. I can eat 1-2 kilos by myself..and if you see how small I am…that’s a lot! hahaha

    Feb 22, 2008 | 5:17 pm

  14. lee says:

    Seafood post on a Friday!

    Feb 22, 2008 | 5:20 pm

  15. bernadette says:

    My husband and I always prefer the “wild” shrimps but here where we live they are quite seasonal. The fish vendors know as the “galing ba sa dagat?” people…:-) We live near the sea but the fishes that is caught hereabouts usually go to Manila and abroad daw! Imagine! Legazpi has all its bounties intact!

    Feb 22, 2008 | 6:32 pm

  16. Adam says:

    I know that is possible to be a bit over sensitive about these things (and I love eating fish) but it is heart breaking to see Rays and especially Sharks on sale in the markets. They are fast disappearing from these waters and one day we will eventually realise that we won’t be able to ever see them again, let alone eat them.

    Prawns look great though!!

    Feb 22, 2008 | 6:40 pm

  17. lechon says:

    Is this Legazpi as in the city in region 5 or the area in makati? Those seafood pictures are beautiful

    Feb 22, 2008 | 6:44 pm

  18. millet says:

    i love “alupihang dagat”…i’ve seen big ones in tawi-tawi where they are called “kamon”, and they’re delicious. they’re a type of slipper lobster, and are also called “moreton bay bugs”. they were fairly common in the markets in manila when i was small.

    i want to go to the palengke in legazpi..everything looks fresh and delicious!

    Feb 22, 2008 | 6:52 pm

  19. esquire says:

    hope your legal team didn’t charge you for their time spent in the market hehe :) why don’t i have clients like you?!

    Feb 22, 2008 | 7:10 pm

  20. Mandaragat says:

    Alupihang dagat is good with gata.

    Feb 22, 2008 | 7:40 pm

  21. misao says:

    wow! i miss “alupihang dagat”… we cook this in anyway we cook shrimps or crabs… but i love this plain steamed or “halabos” and dipped in vinegar-garlic-chili mix.

    haven’t seen/eaten this for years already. does anybody know where i can buy some (antipolo-taytay-cainta-pasig area)?

    Feb 22, 2008 | 7:51 pm

  22. suzette says:

    looks so fresh, i could smell the fishiness and saltiness from the sea!

    Feb 22, 2008 | 8:47 pm

  23. Madeline says:

    I really missed that alupihang dagat. When the coastal road was constructed, I havent seen alupihang dagat anymore. I had asked the fishermen from Cavite and Paranaque about it and they said that they dont see it since then.

    Feb 22, 2008 | 10:51 pm

  24. acmr says:

    WOW! I miss provincial sea food shopping! Nakaka-gutom, and yes on a lenten Friday pa!

    Feb 23, 2008 | 1:12 am

  25. eej says:

    It’s nice to know that fresh seafood like these are still available and thriving in other parts of the world. Sadly, the only fresh seafood I see around here are vacuum packed and flash frozen.

    Feb 23, 2008 | 2:25 am

  26. Avic says:

    I’m not sure if I have already eaten shark’s meat but I would be curious to try one. There’s this one docu in Animal Planet that tells the story about “bulok” shark’s meat being sold as a delicacy somewhere in Europe. The name of the country escapes me right now. But I can just imagine the smell of it. :(

    Feb 23, 2008 | 3:43 am

  27. Apicio says:

    Scampi reminds me of alupihang dagat and thanks to Google, I just discovered the two belong to two different species. Called palpatok where I came from. They were gleaned from the catch of the day, collected in a separate container placed beside the crabs and shrimps for sale and offered free to relatives of the seller or to distressed families.

    Once I asked why our company’s salesman was not eating the squid heads in his calamari plate. He said he does not eat squid, only calamari.

    Feb 23, 2008 | 5:55 am

  28. bluegirl says:

    Good Morning Marketman! Your squid photo is hauntingly beautiful! A really beautiful picture of a really scary thing. I can’t quite get that big eyeball out of my head.

    Feb 23, 2008 | 7:15 am

  29. choy says:

    back in the 80’s, a friend from navotas would invariably bring alupihang dagat as pulutan. they were good, but so difficult to eat! for all one’s efforts, you get a tiny morsel from each piece.

    another friend would painstakingly make “himay” several pieces, then make a small hill of the delicious meat. and that’s the way i tasted alupihang dagat.

    i used to steal from the guy.

    Feb 23, 2008 | 9:18 am

  30. Ed says:


    The bulok shark meat would be from Iceland.

    Feb 23, 2008 | 9:46 am

  31. jenny says:

    Eating Alupihang dagat is a definite experience. The meat has the sweetness you’ll get from fresh seafoods. YUM YUM!

    Feb 23, 2008 | 9:53 am

  32. Cumin says:

    Welcome back, Apicio!

    Feb 23, 2008 | 11:11 am

  33. Marketman says:

    Yes indeed, Apicio is back from the annual trip? But it is still wicked cold in the Northern climates, could it be you were just checking in from a South American internet cafe in the midst of the Amazon? :) Shucks, if I knew alupihang dagat would elicit such interest, I would have tried to get to a kitchen to try and cook them… esquire, no, my lawyer seems to love goig on my provincial sorties and learns something new everytime… millet, market days in legaspi as Tuesday and Saturday. We were there at 630am on a Saturday and the selection was spectacular. lechon, Albay, not Makati. Adam, I agree that it is sad to see the rays and sharks in local markets… I refuse to eat sharks fin and bird’s nest soups and generally don’t eat rays and shark, but in some provinces, these are a normal part of their diet… lee, the seafood post on a friday wasn’t intentional, but in retrospect, well-timed… I forgot it was friday and had chicken for lunch. joey et al, mantis shrimp, thanks for the english name…

    Feb 23, 2008 | 11:29 am

  34. alma says:

    Mr. MM i love your photos and i was wondering what type of lens and camera do you used, thank you.

    Feb 23, 2008 | 1:06 pm

  35. lee says:

    hey.. welcome back apicio…

    marketman, i sent you email…

    Feb 23, 2008 | 1:09 pm

  36. betty q. says:

    Silly Lolo: After a week of painstaking stay at the hospital, I went into SLWS (SILLY LOLO WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME!)…I missed your comments. If I had the lap top at the hospital, I would have showed your comments to those tired nurses and I am positive you would have made their day as well!!!!

    Oh, my goodness!….you are going away? Though I will MISS your hilarious comments terribly, you have a really nice time, stay safe and I will look forward to your next comments….Don’t forget to bring some IMODIUM, antibiotics with you…I don’t think you’d need DULCOLAX…just eat sampaloc and/or camote….hahhaa

    Feb 23, 2008 | 7:31 pm

  37. MissPinas says:

    alupihang dagat is one of my mother’s favorite next to seaweed….but it scares me to touch these food growing up…. now i’ve tasted crawfish and love it…..i think i would enjoy alupihang dagat too.. definitely i’m trying this creature once i’m back home….thanks marketman

    Feb 24, 2008 | 8:59 am

  38. danney says:

    Ay that cuttlefish – good for calamares and prawns – nice tasty camaron rebosado. Shark meat? Do we have to catch them? Marami namang ibang isda di ba? But then again, if it will eat me then I will eat him first. Save my life

    Feb 24, 2008 | 10:35 am

  39. Silly Lolo says:

    Betty Q: Thank you for the very kind comments and I hope you are recovering well and now in less pain.
    Yes, the wifey and I are going away for 6 months after a drudgingly long period of selling the SF house (our home for 32+ yrs). We are coming to Manila! I expect to spend 6 months eating all the foods I have missed for all these years and maybe doing mayhem etc. just for fun.
    First on my to do list is to find Marta’s Cakes, walk up to her and say, “Hi, my name is Silly Lolo and I think you’re hot”!
    That ought to make her day. I swear I’ll do that! Then I will methodically visit all the different Palengke’s just to see stuff. Who knows, I might run into Mr. MM and I will promptly invite him to breakfast. Wouldn’t that be great? I hear he goes to markets early in the mornings like I do.
    We will not be touring the Islands as the Wifey is in a wheelchair and small airports, busses, and other transport can be a challenge for her. She is happy as long as I am with her (sweet-na-sweet, ano?). I should be ecstatic since the condo is across the street from Market Market and the buko guy.
    I will be poking my Silly nose into the website regularly just to see what’s cooking!

    Feb 24, 2008 | 1:05 pm

  40. bugsybee says:

    Shark meat! My father was from Orani, Bataan where shark meat is a delicacy, eaten with the shark’s liver (mixed with fish sauce and plenty of onions) as a side dish.

    The last time I had this dish was during my father’s wake when relatives brought us some. But through the years, it’s been harder and harder to buy this.

    Though shark meat is sometimes available in Negros, my father refused to eat it unless it came from Bataan. He said the ones that come from here are “malansa”.

    Feb 24, 2008 | 8:42 pm

  41. dhayL says:

    I’ve never had “alupihang dagat” before, i’ve heard it but was not quiet up to the challenge! oh i loove shrimps and tilapia!

    Feb 25, 2008 | 1:27 am

  42. Apicio says:

    Still in the latin antipodes. Could not resist checking in on a free internet access while waiting to board the hydrofoil for a fluvial crossing of the Plata.

    Check this interesting link of a visually arresting example of cephalopodes’ ability to change the colour and textures of their skin: http://www.ted.com/index:php/talks/view/id/206

    Feb 25, 2008 | 2:43 am

  43. Apicio says:

    Sorry guys, here is the correct link:


    Btw, the main index also shows lots of really interesting talks for those with fast and unlimitted internet access.

    Feb 25, 2008 | 2:56 am

  44. Marketman says:

    Apicio, thanks for the link, it is fascinating. And we look forward to your return to permanent high speed home internet connections back home…

    Feb 25, 2008 | 7:24 am

  45. stacy sims says:

    talk about giant calamaris. thanks MM

    Feb 25, 2008 | 9:06 am

  46. jo says:

    omg shark meat?! those must’ve cost a fortune .. or not? how much were they?

    Mar 4, 2008 | 9:53 pm

  47. meisje says:

    you can also find alupihang dagat in “dampa” in macapagal boulevard encased individually in clear coke 1.5L bottles which sells 3 pieces for P500 :) i just forgot how they call it in english, its something like water mantis, but i’m pretty sure of the “mantis” word :D it’s kinda pricy but definitely good!

    May 31, 2008 | 8:14 pm

  48. issa says:

    mizz ko na alupihan dagat T_T

    Jan 8, 2009 | 5:59 pm

  49. GenerSumilang says:

    I wonder if whats the taste of a giant squid discovered in the deep by the scientists recently? a twelve meters calamares wow! or a 1.5 tons adobong pusit un-sliced! would it be delicious???
    Alupihang dagat looks like a draconian food to me but its actually a delicious food. A fried dragon in my stomach i called, im trying to find them abroad but they are not available?….

    Feb 11, 2009 | 9:37 pm

  50. kim says:

    In batangas, the matang kwaw is called “magandang tingin”.

    Aug 14, 2009 | 1:30 pm

  51. arnel says:

    i just ate alupihang dagat today, i bought 1 1/4 kilo I cooked it with coconut milk

    Jan 29, 2010 | 2:23 am


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