Taba ng Talangka / Crab Roe Paste


Taba ng talangka (crab roe or “fat” from small shore crabs) is either terrific taste “heaven” or wicked cholesterol “hell,” depending on your point of view. I generally, though not always, avoid crab and lobster roe, coral or fat for the simple reason that its color and consistency conjure up immediate increases in fat deposited around my mid-section which is feeling a little “salbabida-ish” (“innertubish,” a newly patented Marketman adjective) lately. However, when I do indulge, it’s with a “you only live once” attitude… Taba ng talangka apparently comes from those really small crabs that look like they are all shell and no meat…but they apparently have lots of roe/fat! I have never made this delicacy from scratch and don’t intend to…I just wanted to describe to you the sinful enough bottled version.

At the Likha ng Luzon fair where I met up with Karen of The Pilgrim’s Pots and Pans, she pointed me to the Navarro’s stall that was selling bottled taba ng talangka. I bought a bottle, brought it home and it promptly got lost in the pantry. I rediscovered it yesterday and quickly sautéed it with some chopped garlic and calamansi as instructed on the bottle’s label. The same label states the stuff is a surprisingly low 30 calories per tablespoon but made up of 66% FAT! Yikes! Actually, in addition to crab fat, the paste has crab meat, vinegar, corn oil, garlic and food coloring as well. At any rate, served as a side dish to a Filipino meal of grilled or fried fish and meats and vinegary salads, this stuff is WICKED GOOD. I understand it goes well with pasta as seen on Kai’s post, but I never got to that point…it was so good just mixed with freshly boiled rice. Absolutely fantastic!


34 Responses

  1. you know, it’s awesome with hot chilies…. i remember the talangka guy going around BF Homes in the 80’s, with his sack of talangka and bottles of this stuff. you’re right, there’s only one way to consume this and it’s with the “die happy” attitude LOL.

  2. I absolutely love taba ng talangka. Where can I buy this brand Navarro’s aside from the fair?

  3. Marketman,

    As they say…’you eat, you die; you dont eat, you die, so better eat and die happy!’ I totally agree 101% with you on this one…but somehow, i cant find a good commercialized bottle of this stuff, my only supply being the homemade one my provincial aunt (rarely) makes. And when she does(in little bottles too!), its orange gold for me.

    I like it slightly tangy with a little hint of calamansi…yum!

  4. Mmmm… I LOVE this stuff! It looks positively vile, but it tastes so good! I agree with you, ivan… I like it slightly tangy as well.

    When I go back to Manila for a visit, I am SO going to pork out and gain 50 pounds. And it will all be Marketman’s fault!

  5. Ivan, you are technically correct. The orange stuff is actually female crab “hard roe” or eggs. For trivia’s sake, there is also “soft roe” or “white roe” which is essentially the male equivalent or sperm. Crab fat is the literal translation of “taba” though I agree it should be referred to as roe so I have updated the entry. Imagine if the translation were “itlog ng talangka” – that would elicit a few sniggers don’t you think? Fried Neurons, they sell this stuff in bottles so they must have this in the Asian groceries on the West Coast. Alicia, I am not sure where else you can buy this but it is really good. I did find a contact number for you 045-981-2138 for Navarro’s… Steefodie, live to eat, not eat to live… and thanks for the hint on the sili labuyo addition…that sounds really good too!

  6. MM, natakam naman ako bigla sa talangka! but word of caution… “sabi da” . . . thou shall not eat the taba ng talangka when you are very hungry, otherwise you will have a very upset stomach!!! :)… my lola will always tell us to drink something hot (like coffee) before eating this stuff…with freshly cooked white rice … hmmmmm….

  7. We just opened a Navarro’s bottle last night we got from Festival Mall, so I was happy this morning you featured taba ng talangka. For eating so much I stayed up a good 3 hours after dinner to make sure I wouldn’t get a bangungot. And we always put it way back inside the ref so we won’t get tempted everytime we open the door!

    The vendor said the gold-colored bottle cap is premium while the white cap is regular. MM, they also have good burong hipon and burong dalag. My mom-in-law who’s kapampangan and grew up tasting homemade taba ng talangka and buro said it’s pretty darn good. They also sell canned versions for the overseas pasalubong market.

  8. there’s a stall in greenhills tiangge that sells Navarro stuff, together with the other stalls selling regional food stuff. Plus there’s also one in the supermarket of sm megamall.

    it’s perfect with pasta! I just saute it with garlic, a dash of thyme and some lemon juice! Perfect!

  9. Other than pasta, you can try it with shrimp. Saute the paste with garlic, season, add a little lemon (if you like it a bit tangy) then throw in your cooked shrimp. Have lots of steaming white rice ready. Top with crispy fired garlic – serve and indulge.

  10. Navarros can be found at Market!Market!, too, at the Region III kiosk at the Fiesta MArket!Market! section. Also at Razon’s at the food court and at Jupiter Street in Makati City.

  11. I remember us (me and my entire family) helping my lola make this one. We used to make to make a lot of this and that’s just for home consumption! We do love our fat haha! My fingers get all scratched up but it didn’t really bother me at all. There used to be a crab “maglalako” doing the rounds in the Poblacion whom we get it from. We get the female crabs which has more fat even if it’s more expensive.

    We didn’t buy it before since the store version is just flour with some crabfat in it. Now we buy it from Barrio Fiesta, it’s not as good but it would do. My lola rarely makes this anymore. I’m now missing it. Maybe I’ll ask my lola to make some.

  12. love the post. crab fat (/roe/whatever you want to call it) rocks! i’ve heard that the orangey stuff has had food color added to it and that the pure stuff is really greyish. any truth to this rumor?

  13. Well, I have seen real crab coral and it is orange, but I imagine food coloring is added to the bottled versions to ensure consistent and a perception that it is more appetizing…

  14. There’s a Navarro’s at Tiendesitas as well. That’s where I get the Pampanga butong pakwan. Nasty as well. I, however, love the taba ng talangka I used to get at 21 in Bacolod. It wasn’t pasty. Buo-buo na talangka fat. No additives or extenders.

  15. My friend from the States has asked me to bring this and only this from the Philippines when I go to visit her. My mom used to make talangka when I was in high school It stinks up the house and soon, I didn’t want to eat it anymore. But in small doses, it’s terrific. I like it on the side, and not mixed in with rice.

  16. Navarro’s products are available at the Robinson’s Galleria supermarket as well. People, you should try the Navarro’s Burong Hipon, too! It’s great!

  17. I have tasted Navarro’s burong hipon twice, but it seems I can’t have enough of it as it is too much to my liking. For me it tastes like the fresh one I used to indulge upon when I was still there in the Philippines. We are here in Los Angeles right now and we only had our chance on the “buro” when somebody brings pasalubong, and there isn’t always that somebody who’s bringing or willing. I want to know if there is any distributor of Navarro’s burong hipon here in the US or at least an online website where we can order, and have it delivered right to our US doorstep. I would appreciate it if anybody can help me with this.

  18. I discovered Navarro’s Burong Hipon last December when I visited Philippines. As a Kapampangan, we always try to sneak a bottle when every someone is visiting here in California. Now since I found this Navarro’s in can, we can easily bring this to the US. Since its canned it shouldn’t be a problem. I am so happy….!

  19. i bought taba ng talangka at greenhills tiangge,ive always been a lover of this dish and navarros is d best ive ever tasted,less salty and less msg[maybe],but perhaps isnt it great if they can have a website so we can see how this stuff are being made or bottled,some sort of a tour prehaps.,anyway good luck,.

  20. My lola used to make this when i was young and we would squeeze the blanched talaba dry over steaming rice. I would squeeze about 10 pcs, add calamansi then eat. Using the hands is the only way to go. It’s actually black with some orange bits. And it’s also fun to lick your forearms to prevent it reaching your elbows. We rarely make it now as it’s quite tedious to clean them (with a toothbrush) and salt them under the caps one by one. Plus our aging household population is trying to eat to live. =)

  21. Would this paste work as a substitute for she crab roe in a typical southern american she crab soup?…or does it have to many other flovors addes please advise.

  22. good day. if you want to avail a different brand of crab fat paste please do contact me. I can say that it is better than any other brand that is available in the market. Here’s my contact number 09266439021 and my email ad “”.

  23. botlled ones are not that good,its the talangka, the live ones that you buro,just put salt and after 2 days you can eat them.

  24. For bottled taba ng talangka, Navarro’s is so far the best, in my opinion. I always buy the “puro” variant which is a little bit more expensive. I am craving for this taba ng talangka now. I googled it because I want to find out if they have a website and if they are exporting to other countries and I ended up in your site.

    They are available in SM Supermarkets and perhaps other big supermarkets. Btw, their bottled buro is also good especially if paired with grilled fish, grilled/boiled talong, boiled okra, etc and fresh mustasa.

  25. Yan, I love burong talangka. We salt live talangka and freeze them atleast overnight. Then squeeze out the meat ang roe and eat them with rice and ofcourse with with suka at bawang! But it’s not for someone with weak stomach and not to be eaten when you are hungry :)

  26. Being at home for only a couple of months every year, i never fail to visit my “suki” in the Bocaue public market every friday morning to buy my all female, live talangka.
    They are freshly caught at fishponds in the fishing town of Hagonoy. We steam it well done, with a little sprinkle of salt. Our sawsawan would be palm vinegar with “sili labuyo”

  27. Hi! This is me again… if you will review the comments here, I posted last january 2008 about the taba ng talangka. My products brand is “Nena’s Crab Paste All Natural” and it’s now available at selected SM supermarket every friday saturday and sunday… at Department of Agriculture showroom(Q.C. memorial circle), Greenhills shopsville, marketmarket. Definitely it’s a different taste, and i’m sure after trying it you won’tlook for another brand next time. Thanks! I also have it in small sizes.

  28. our municipality gainza camarines sur region 5 adopted crab paste as the one town one product(OTOP) because we have abundant source of good quality talangka. recently we are promoting crab paste not only in the bicol region but all trough out the phil to help women micro-entrepreneurs earn additional income. if you are interested in our product you can contact at cp no. 09197062318 or 09202138997.

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