Curacha Toasts a la Marketman

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. :)


15 Responses

  1. EVOO and butter for the crusty bread just before dipping into that luscious sauce for starters … promises of wonderful things to come … only then can one start extracting the meat from the shell …

  2. I’ve never tasted nor seen curacha in the flesh…I do hope it will be available in Manila… :-)

  3. My Dad is from Zamboanga, so from an early age I have grown to be fond of curacha. I associate many fond memories of visits to Zamboanga and enjoying delicious curacha dishes.

  4. I just have to comment on those wonderful pictures, the colors are so much alive, seems like I could just pull out and turn over those crabs! What camera are you using here?And as always, thanks for sharing and have a beautiful day :)

  5. Most sea creatures are so brilliantly coloured because the warmer shades of the colour spectrum are the first to disappear underwater. So the crab is likely near invisible to those interested in eating it as the colour Red is totally gone by 30 feet, followed progressively by the rest of the rainbow at approximately 20-30 foot intervals. A red fish is less visible to predators than a blue one…or in this case, a red crab.


  6. Both the ‘creature’ and the resulting cioppino look out of this world!! Must have tasted wonderful!! (And thanks, Stewart Sy ) for the explanation and science into the fantastic colors underwater.

  7. Australia has 2 varieties, one is called the Balmain Bug, the other is Moreton Bay Bug. They are very good with coconut milk, ginger and chili.

  8. MM Php 400.00 for a kilo for these curachas is not a bad price. It was sold $20.00 a kilo here in Brisbane before easter. I have not tried curacha but for me, nothing beats the sweet taste of blue swimmer crabs.

  9. pinksalmonlady, I have purchased them before at PHP220-240 a kilo, and with alimango at PHP300-350 and alimasag at say PHP300-350, the curacha was relatively expensive… :)

  10. It’s been a long time since I’ve tasted Curacha(at Alavar Restaurant) but will not miss it as long as I get my supply of female fat crabs!

  11. Curacha also seen in STA.ANA CAGAYAN…I first saw n tasted it last May while having outing there and yesterday my cousin send us 5 kilos she bought it for only 200 pesos…SO yummy….:)



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