My nephew celebrated his 14th birthday today. His father (my brother) brought over from Zamboanga City some exotic crustaceans for the dinner spread.
And so I had my first taste of the not-so-exotic-anymore steamed lobster (the last one I saw at a beach front resto in Boracay was so small it hardly filled up a small plate and cost P1,500!). Yum! It tasted like a crab only with a lot more meat and fiber.
My brother also brought home some live alupihang dagat ( tatampal, hipong dapa or mantis shrimp) in large mineral water bottles filled with seawater. He said these were caught by divers on the seafloor in Tawi-tawi. Alive, they look more like centipedes than mantises. They actually look like wide-bodied shrimps, hence hipong dapa much like the flounder is called isdang dapa. It taste like sinewy prawns.And lastly the curacha (NO, not the Rosanna Roces-starrer with the tag: Ang babaing walang pahinga). Curacha (so-called in Chavacano because it looked like a mutant cockroach -cucaracha) is the Red spanner/frog crab commonly found in the water of Zamboanga. It looks like a cooked/steamed elongated crab. It is fleshy and tastes like crab and prawn.
All these exotic crustaceans taste best with the coconut-based Alavar Sauce (formulated by a Zambo resto of the same name).
all photos here were downloaded from Google images.