Beach Food…


A trip to the beach and a trip to the nearby market is always like a shot of pure energy… like plugging in a cell phone that is “low batt”. Despite the market being a small town affair, and grungier than most in Manila, I find that the choices are often purer in kala3the sense that there isn’t a whole lot of “imported” fruits and vegetables (whether from Baguio, Mindanao or China)…so things more naturally go together. And the natural colors of the produce, when photographed outdoors, beat any still life I can put together in the city… Take this “centerpiece” of sitaw (yard long beans), kalabasa (squash), onions, ginger, siling mahaba (mild chilies) and squash blossoms…isn’t it just stunning? I used it as a centerpiece for lunch, but it would all eventually be cooked for dinner that evening…


We had some last minute guests joining us at the beach on Saturday so I was kala4hoping that there would be a lot of stuff at the market so I could pull off a good dinner of mostly locally sourced dishes. Luckily, a nearby fishpond/crabpond decided to harvest their alimango (crabs) that day and they simply flooded the local market. I had never seen so many crabs before and the prices dropped to just PHP230 a kilo, simply unheard of in this town. I purchased nearly 8 kilos worth and one of the crabs weighed in at about 1.5 kilos by itself! These were destined for the house specialty…Chili Crabs a la Marketman!

Along with the crabs, I got a kilo of the most amazing prawns, the meat of several coconuts to make fresh coconut milk, and the vegetables described above. With all of this I planned to make a revved up version of “sitaw at kalabasa” (squash and yard long beans in coconut milk) by adding prawns, chilies and squash blossoms… So for about 12 people for dinner the menu was set : 7 kilos of chili crabs, a huge platter of veggies and prawns in coconut milk, and 1.5 kilos of barbecued pork liempo. Yum. Photos of the food coming up in the next few posts!


15 Responses

  1. Chilli crab, who can resist! Its one of the finest dishes here in SG ( i omit the ginger whenever i cook it at home)I prefer a simplier flavor. Butter, garlic and chili sauce will do. Yeah better take advantage while the crabs are cheap in the Phil. Next month or before Xmas expect the price to triple!

  2. nice MM. looking forward to your chili crab photos. We cook this dish at home on special occasions. I wonder though how one gets the white (egg?) streaks in the chili crab sauce? Seems richer and more authentic that way. Quickest way to down several spoonfulls of rice: douse it with chili crab sauce!

  3. chili crab sounds yummy. like fabian, we cook these on special occasions. what we usually do is cook it with ginataang kalabasa where the crab shell is partially opened (not cracked or halved) to let some of the fat out and mix with the gata. totally calorific but you could fool yourself into thinking it is healthy because of the kalabasa

  4. I love chili crabs and anything with prawns. I did endulged with chili crabs just last week but your teaser post surely makes me crave for it again!!! Looking forward to your Chili Crabs recipe.

  5. since i’ve learned how to cook chili crabs (thru MM of course!) we have chili crabs every month at home. thanks MM for the recipe!!!

  6. Yeah, who would say no to chili crabs? Am looking forward to your version of chili crabs MM. Thanks.

  7. Lucky guests! That sounds like a fab menu…we never used to cook this at my parents house…maybe it’s a sign that I should start…

    We used sitaw in the centerpieces at my wedding reception (along with other native veggies) :)

  8. This is so yummmmm ooh! I’m going to M&M Farms and get some vegetables available for this dish. It will be good for tonight.
    Thanks, it’s great!

  9. Your radar for good foods is always energized! Your table centerpiece is magnificent and recyclable too. Crabs, prawns, kalabasa and sitaw in coconut milk they are to die for. Plus ice cold regular soda I’m ready to dive in.

  10. Beautiful produce, fantastic menu! Look forward to your special ginataang sitaw and kalabasa recipe.

  11. grabe, nakakagutom naman to.. i miss eating anything with gata.. i gotta lose weight, fast!!!! any tips MM?

  12. Hello Marketman. I found your blog via other foodie blogs and I’m in awe of all the food pics and info you all share, especially about Manila or the Philippines in general. I was just there a few weeks ago, had my wedding there… and now MISSING all the great food, sights, sounds and even smells! I’m hoping to come back for a visit this coming spring to fully enjoy the yummy food, great entertainment and the wonderful shopping.

    I’m inspired to write you after watching an infomercial about the “aerogarden”. It’s an electric hydroponic garden of sorts, where you can grow herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, flowers, etc. on your countertop. Reading your blog, I know there is sometimes a lack of fresh herbs and greens in Manila, and I thought this might be an interesting gadget to try out over there. I’m not sure if the local infomercials there have shown it, but I’m curious what the results would be. Let me know if you’d like the website, and if you do ever get one in your hands, please share the results!

    Thank you for your awesome website!

  13. illtaketwoplease…yes, some small commercial growers do raise greens and herbs using hydroponics, but frankly, I think I can tell the difference between hydroponic lettuce or tomatoes or some herbs and those raised in soil… it is an alternative but perhaps a less tasty one… but thanks for the heads up…with my black thumb, I would probably kill even my hydroponic lettuce!

  14. Hahaha. Just like how I would kill even silk plants in my home. This gadget caught my eye, and I thought you might be interested, especially with the shortage of herbs in Manila. Take a look at . I’m thinkin of ordering one in the hopes of eating more healthfully at home, like more salads!



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.