03 Mar2008


I found some incredibly attractive ulang at the market last Saturday so I purchased a kilo (steep at PHP450) which included 10 small to medium sized pieces (they can grow to 350 grams a piece!). I did an earlier post on this ingredient a few years ago, link here, which you can refer to for scientific name and other bits of information/trivia. More and more people are successfully raising ulang in fishponds, so they are making a comeback where they were once almost extinct. The first time we tried ulang was in a fabulous sinigang at a roadside cafe in Bulacan or was it Pangasinan (Highway Cafe) some 20 odd years ago… since then, I have always had my eye out for ulang at the markets. It is only in the past few years that I have seen ulang regularly sold in some Manila markets, but it is still rarely offered on the menus of local restaurants…


Notice that they look similar to prawns, but appear to be plumper, with an oversized head, and “rounder” body. They taste similar to prawns, but I find can have a denser meat, sometimes turning tougher than prawns if overcooked.


…they have these long very thin claws that differentiate them from prawns…


…and up close they have tinges of blue and orange that make them really quite stunning… Up soon, posts on two ways I cooked these ulang



  1. kate says:

    wow! that’s p45 per ulang? pretty steep nga :) btw, is this the same species that they sell along the road going up to Baguio?

    Mar 3, 2008 | 9:11 am


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  3. rachel says:

    can’t wait to see your recipe.meron nyan dito sa vietnamese stores.i always make sinigang out of them.i don’t know what else to make, so i’ll try whatever you come up with.

    Mar 3, 2008 | 10:26 am

  4. john paul sarabia says:

    mm i caught a baby octopus when i dive last weekend. can you pls tell me how can i cook it. ty. i usually don’t get anything from the sea but i just want to try to cook a fresh octopus.

    Mar 3, 2008 | 11:11 am

  5. Marketman says:

    john paul, I have never cooked octopus, but you should check some greek recipes as they seem to do them particularly well… but it involves some prep work or hanging, boiling, etc. to get it ready… bummer for the octopus :( rachel, recipes up in the next day or so. kate, yes they were mahal and they are probably the same as the stuff sold along the road to Baguio, as these are raised in Bulacan and nearby provinces…

    Mar 3, 2008 | 11:14 am

  6. sonia says:

    MM, i think i know exactly the restaurant/ roadside cafe you are referring to. it is in calumpit, bulacan and their sinigang na ulang is memorable! i ate there some 15 years a go . . . but the memory and the taste linger. the orange-y fat somehow colored and enriched the broth and the meat of the ulang was sweetish and not tough at all. i was told that the secret is in the timing of the cooking — drop the ulang when the broth is boiling, cover the pot then turn off the heat. just wait wait for some 5- 10 minutes before serving. in short, do not overcook. i tried it and it works, but i have not succeeded in getting the fat into the broth for that orange-y, fat infused super delicious broth.

    Mar 3, 2008 | 12:02 pm

  7. Tricia says:

    Sinigang na ulang is my favorite!!!!!

    I get them from a roadside vendor in Plaridel, Bulacan as my husband is from Baliuag. When I was a child in Nueva Ecija, my mom buys them and lukaok fish from roadside vendors in Palayan City but I think the river there has dried up.

    Mar 3, 2008 | 3:43 pm

  8. Homebuddy says:

    Last year we were at Lobok River in Bohol. We had lunch in one of those boat houses that ply the river. For the first time in life I was amazed to see prawn sized “ulangs”. They made it into “tinuwa” (tinola for you). Never have I seen them that big! If I could only post a picture that I took for posterity, they were king sized. I never knew ulangs could come this big?
    I think ulang is blander than the sweeter “pasayan-putian” or the shrimp tagalogs use for halabos.
    MM, Your site is addictive, because since I found it, I find myself looking forward to your posts daily. Its very informative, interesting and enjoyable! Keep it up and more power!

    Mar 3, 2008 | 6:13 pm

  9. Maria Clara says:

    There was a time period many many years ago in the mid60s when Pampanga river was habitable by all aquatic creatures – ulang were one of the habitats then in the river bank along with other body of water link to it. With our crooks government officials allowing the dumping of industrial untreated water in the river – it eventually became inhabitable to aquatic creatures and pose a threat to all living creatures with its polluted water and stench emanating from it. They are good in sinigang soured with kamias with lots of tomatoes and the broth made frothy from banana heart or green bananas and kangkong.

    Mar 4, 2008 | 2:39 am

  10. Jade186 says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, I thought that the word “ulang” meant “lobster” in Tagalog, and according to the English-Tagalog /Tag-Eng Dictionary by Maria Odulio De Guzman, ulang is lobster.
    I also tried an online Tagalog-English dictionary and the Filipino wikipedia and they yielded the same result – ulang is the Tagalog word for lobster.

    What do you reckon? What then could lobster be in Filipino that you know of? Quite confused here now…

    Mar 4, 2008 | 4:18 am

  11. dhayL says:

    You’re right MM, they have a much denser meat compared to regular prawns. At first, they look scary because of their bigger and rounder heads. Although, I haven’t had the fresh ulang as yet, they’re readily available up here but frozen…Maybe in the summer time i’ll have some luck!

    Mar 4, 2008 | 5:42 am

  12. Marketman says:

    dhayL, yup “scary” is an interesting description, :) Jade186, ulang is the central luzon or bulacan term for the freshwater shrimp, also known as udang in Ilocos. Not surprisingly, udang is the Malay or Indonesian term for shrimp, hence all kinds of dishes in Indonesia and Malaysia with shrimps of all kinds in it referred to as udang goreng, for example, or “fried shrimp”. Also, their crackers flavored with shrimp are also called krupuk udang. There was a strong Malay influence in Ilocos several hundred years ago, and I would guess the term came up through that association. The same shrimp are also known as paje in Palawan, kalig in Leyte, and bizarrely, kissing-kissing in Pangasinan, so close to Bulacan. See link to my earlier article for the sources of these names. As for lobster, I think they are called banagan in Tagalog. Homebuddy, you are probably right, the ulang has a denser less sweet meat than the suahe. sonia, the name was Highway Cafe and run by a some sisters as in siblings.

    Mar 4, 2008 | 6:54 am

  13. Sandy says:

    So glad to know that ulang is making a comeback in our markets! I love ulang in tom yum goong. I like the giant ones simply grilled.

    Mar 4, 2008 | 4:43 pm

  14. Beth says:

    One Christmas, I spotted from the market really big ulangs and I cooked it ala thermidore.Verdict?Burp!burp!

    Mar 6, 2008 | 3:25 pm

  15. Andrea says:

    actually, a male ulang can reach total length of 320 mm and females 250 mm. And on peak months and harvest, they can reach a price of P500/kl. I know it because I just finished my commodity system study of that Ulang or freshwater prawn…

    Apr 2, 2008 | 2:48 pm

  16. ApplesH says:

    You will find ulang regularly sold in Edsa Central Market. I buy mine there every saturday or early morning sunday. If you come by sunday afternoon, then Im afraid they will all be gone. They come cheap there too where they sold for about P250/kilo (big ones). We always cook them sinigang in kamias – yummy!

    Oct 4, 2008 | 11:09 am

  17. gerald apinado says:

    i want to breed ulang! anyone hir can give me d exact addres of the seller? much better if the location is near hir in muntinlupa. just do txt me at my cell no. 09186553639

    Oct 24, 2008 | 9:37 am

  18. marjun says:

    You can also check my blog about Ulang.www.scampifreshgensan.blogspot.com


    Oct 24, 2008 | 4:31 pm

  19. gerald apinado says:

    i realy want to breed ulang. is anyone hir can give me the no. of ulang breeder hir in phils.? pls.contact me at 09186553639 thanx!

    Nov 5, 2008 | 12:13 am

  20. Weng says:

    I tried ulang today in Bulacan. Wow. The head fat is like taba ng talangka, very rich. The meat is very dense, but very substansial.

    Our host gave us a package to bring home. Hinuli daw sa dam.

    I’m gonna experiment with these: use the heads for some sort of bisque, and the tails for grilling, baking, turning into Thermidore, and in a couple of pasta sauces.

    Jan 24, 2009 | 12:29 am

  21. Jayson says:

    well Ulang is really a nice food on the table.Gerald you can check this number for more info regarding Ulang (044)456 0671

    Jan 26, 2009 | 1:36 pm

  22. che says:

    Proudly to say i grew up with the three sisters (Espiritu sister) who owned and operated the famous Highway Cafe Restaurant in the roadside of Calumpit Bulacan where they serve the best “sinigang na ulang” in the world, yes in the world!!! Espiritu sisters were known for their specialty of not only “sinigang na ulang” but also “adobong kanduro” (snipes), “taba ng talangka”, special “lechon sa kawali” and home made “longganisa” which are ofcourse served with milagrosa rice (the best rice ever). Prominent officials of the country, actresses, actors, models, business icons were their frequent clients. They usually travel all the way from Manila just to savor the specialty of Calumpit, it’s all worth it after all!!!

    Jul 9, 2009 | 7:20 pm

  23. kathleen mae porras says:

    hi, good day!! my friend is interested on that kind of business… but we don’t know where to buy the shrimp to be grown at the pond..we’re also wondering if how much will it cost per shrimp.. and we want some more information.. is anybody can give us the contact number of the person involved??? plz text or call me on this number, 09196585894.

    Oct 20, 2009 | 2:28 pm

  24. Vince says:

    I’m selling Ulang at p300 per kilo medium or large size. I’ll sell cheaper if you get 10-20kls. I’ll meet in Pasig or along Libis. Vince: 0915-2481760

    Jan 9, 2010 | 10:00 pm


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