17 Mar2005

Ulang or Giant Freshwater Shrimp (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) used to thrive in several rivers and waterways throughout the Philippines. ulang1They needed unsullied fresh water or somewhat brackish (part salt, part fresh water) conditions to thrive in the wild. In the last few decades they became rarer and rarer from natural sources as our rivers got more and more polluted. But we have now successfully domesticated the shrimp and raise them in shrimp ponds or together with rice crops in rice fields and nearby ponds. Large (compared to shrimp) and meaty, they are a more reasonably priced alternative to lobster and about the same price as prawns. The most common usage I have found is in a terrific ulang sinigang (shrimp with a sour broth). They differ from prawns in that their heads are unusually large and they have these long thin claws (not obvious in these pictures as I think the vendor removed them!). They have bright blue and sometimes yellow striped colored shells and legs.

Ulang can grow up to a foot long and weigh about 350 grams (or 3 pieces to a kilo). ulang3The ones I photographed here were about half that weight at 6 pieces to a kilo and they cost P380 a kilo. I suspect much of that potential length would include the long thin claws. Native to the Philippines, but related to dozens or hundreds of freshwater shrimp throughout the world, this is a food source that was unfamiliar to many Filipinos in the last two generations due to its disappearance from rivers and streams. However, aquaculture is bringing it back quite successfully. If you have never tasted ulang before, try it. Treat them like large prawns though I find the meat can be denser and dries out faster when it is roasted or grilled. Overcooking them makes them tough. For a first taste, try them in a sinigang made with sour tamarind or alternatively, kamias fruit.

In some material I came across doing research for this post, some ulang4local sources refer to ulang as freshwater shrimp or crayfish. They are not crayfish as the latter are small freshwater lobster and there are none of those in the tropics except in Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia. For the curious, ulang are also known as udang in Ilocos and Cagayan (also the word for shrimp in Malaysia and Indonesia); paje in Palawan; kalig in Leyte, kissing-kissing in Pangasinan, etc., according to an article by Rose De La Cruz on the Palawan.com website.



  1. schatzli says:

    I have eaten them when we spent holidays in Samar where rivers way back then were so clear and clean. This was late 70s and early 80’s. I remember us catching cat fish too and many other goodies from the river!

    I was lucky then to have seen Samar and Leyte when only few people would dare to visit coz of the activities of the NPA. But we have families out there!
    We look forward to our move tomorrow, in our area is full of gastro shops. One is a seafood place where we can get fresh crabs, prawns and alaska king crabs.

    Mar 17, 2005 | 9:05 am


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    nice info. kindly share information too about:
    a) process products and by-products from ulang
    b) ULANG hatchery culture and management
    c( post-harvest technologies in ulang

    Aug 24, 2007 | 2:12 pm

  4. rogie l. felicidario jr. says:

    may nagka conduct ba ng training sa pilipinas tungkol sa pagkuculture ng ulang at saan?pwede ba ito alagaan sa concrete tank tulad ng tilapia?tnx

    Sep 17, 2007 | 9:44 am

  5. Quillene says:

    Hi MM!

    Is ulang the same as Langostine?

    Apr 9, 2008 | 10:14 am

  6. Felix Anthony S.Templa says:

    we had raised five ponds of this what we need is enough market to buy this product

    Sep 22, 2008 | 2:39 pm

  7. Alicia D. Bulawan says:

    I’m interested about freshwater shrimp because most of our barrio folks rely on this commodity as their everyday viand aside from tilapia. Usually they catch these shrimps when the river starts to rise due to heavy rains using a mosquito net. Also, a friend of mine requested me some information about freshwater shrimp…its biology, production management & postharvest. Actually, I’m connected with the Department of Agriculture & one of the staff of Techno Gabay Center based at the Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Center, Balinsasayao, Abuyog, Leyte. Hope you can feature more about this commodity in your future issues… Thanks a lot & more power!…

    Oct 16, 2008 | 9:01 am

  8. GERRY says:

    can you give me market of ulang?local market and exporter.we can supply these ulang.thanks

    Oct 27, 2008 | 12:59 pm

  9. GERRY says:

    we can supply these ulang.pls feel free to contact us. G.S. BALINGIT JR. SEAFOODS DEALER.09282512225

    Oct 27, 2008 | 1:02 pm

  10. Malou Aralar says:

    I am from SEAFDEC/AQD and we conduct training courses on the culture of Ulang at our Station in Binangonan, Rizal

    Nov 19, 2008 | 12:44 am

  11. Jeffrey So says:

    I am from sucat muntinlupa. near laguna de bay. who can conduct a seminar for ULANG raising? backyard raising or fish cage or any.

    Nov 20, 2008 | 1:46 pm

  12. Patrik de los Reyes says:

    From Iloilo po ako. Tawag sa amin niyan ay Urang. Naalala ko noong maliit pa ako palaging may nakasamang Ulang pag bibili ng hipon ang lola ko. Tapos nang magka-aquarium kami, nilagyan ko nang mga 4 siguro galing sa ilong malapit sa amin. Nakakatuwa silang tingnan (kaso hinuhuli nila minsan yung ibang isda). Malaki rin siguro ang potential nila sa pet industry, especially sa West. Na realize ko yan dahil nangdito na ako sa Canada (mga tao dito kahit anu nalang ang inaalagaan).

    May isa pang klaseng freshwater shrimp. Yung katawan ay tulad din ng ulang kaso yung pincers niya ay malaki tapos di masyadong mahaba. Anong tawag kaya dito? Tagal ko nang di nakakita nito. Medyo rare sila kasi.

    Jan 18, 2009 | 2:33 am

  13. 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

  14. loida says:

    sana e mail nyo naman me pano b mag alaga nyan bihira kasi dito sa min yan pag meron naman napakamahal kahit sa backyard lang sana gusto ko mag alaga san b nakakakuha ng pwedeng i cultured saka magkano nagagastos sana me seminar kayo pano makapag small business nito thanks

    Jan 31, 2009 | 3:51 am

  15. jess Lebanan says:

    I.m interested to culture ulang here in our locality at South Cotabato. I’m very glad if you can send me the right management of this as a small bussiness to start with. thank you very much for your kindness.God Bless You

    Mar 29, 2009 | 9:53 pm

  16. lhor says:

    Good day, just for a few info about *Ulang* in Leyte sa Palo to be specific we call this *Ulang * as Urang, marami nga yan sa mga rivers dito, nahuhuli nga yan (pati ako nung maliit pa nanghuli nyan hehe) gumagamit kami ng yung bang ring ng besikleta? tapos itatahe mo dun yung old mosquito net tapos lalagyan mo sa gitna ng pahaba na tale, where u have to hang yung medyo maamoy na na stripes of coconut meat kc yun ang gusto nilng pag-kain!! and the best kung maka kuha kayo ng ulang try it with coconut milk gataan nyo!! number one talagang masarap yan hindi natutuyo ang meat at tasty with rice.. **BUSOG** generations ng recipe yan ng mga taga brgy Libertad ng Palo!! God Bless

    Apr 28, 2009 | 12:44 pm

  17. emil says:

    can anyone here give me the complete details of any agencies which conduct seminar(s) for this ulang culture, i am very interested.

    0915 680 3785
    584 0866

    Jun 24, 2009 | 1:23 pm

  18. Resty Gempesaw says:

    Good day. I am from Cabanatuan City.
    I am interested to have “ulang”raised in our backyards. Pls tell me where can I purchased ulang’s larvae to start my small backyard project about “ulang”.
    Thank you and best wishes.

    Aug 6, 2009 | 12:16 pm


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