Curacha also known as spanner crab or red frog crab is a local Chavacano name given to a seacrab species found in Zamboanga. It is uniquely found in the deep-waters of Zamboanga and nowhere else in the world. It is a highbred crustacean, with crossbreed characteristics of a large sea crab and a big spiny lobster. It is a large crab with a red color, which stays the same in color even when cooked. The crab is usually steamed or boiled so its flavor is preserved.Unlike most crabs whose majority of meat can be found in their claws, the mother-load of the curacha's meat is found in its body
|It has what I refer to as "hairy legs"|
My paternal grandfather was a proud son of Zamboanga, and my Dad spent his early years in this southern province. When we were young Dad would take us to his hometown, so that we know our family's roots. Dad also made sure that we enjoyed this weird alien looking alimango cousin native to the Zamboanga peninsula. Love how the local restaurants like Alavar, Chimang and that restaurant that had the super long name with Seafood Island in it, offered different curacha dishes. These restaurants had different ways of cooking curacha, one thing they all had in common all the dishs were scrumptious. I remember one trip when my Lola Stella was determined to serve us some home cooked curacha. She told us that she went to the market early because she wanted first pick of the curacha. Only to be told by the vendors that only a few pieces were delivered and everything had been bought by a military man who was hosting a party that day. The guy was still in the marked, so my Lola tracked him down and begged that he sell him some because her nephew and his family has just arrived from Manila, and she wanted us to have some curacha for lunch. I have to give it to Lola Stella, her charm and her animated gift of speaking must have been so convincing, the man eventually gave her about 2 kilos of curacha. These were some of the best tasting curachas I had not only because they were fresh but because what Lola had to do to get them, it showed us how much she loved us.
|It has flat claws like a lobster|
|Oh the yummy meat and aligue|
During last Saturday's market day one of the seafood vendors had curacha, it is very seldom that we find curacha in this market, so even if the price was at P450.00 a kilo, I know it's ridiculous, we had to buy some. We asked if the curacha was fresh, the vendor claimed that it was definitely fresh because these just came in from Palawan via air, her words were "kakamatay lang nila". We told her really now, we have never seen live curacha before, and we did not know that there were curachas in Palawan too. When we got home my sister-in-law was left to attend to the goods from the market. My parents and I together with 1st Brother were going to church because it was Mom's birthday, then off to Quaipo to buy some daing and hamon for Dad.
When we got back home my sister-in-law told us that she saw the curachas move. Wow the vendor was telling the truth they were really alive. They must have been tired from the plane ride when we bought them at the market. At home they must have recovered, and were strong enough to move around when my sis-in-law noticed them.
At dinner we enjoyed the sweet meat of the fresh curacha, they tasted wonderful. To paraphrase a Chinese fast-food chain's commercial - you don't need any sauce or dip all you need is your mouth to enjoy curacha, so if you have not had it before try it, you won't regret it, promise :)