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Susan in HK

Oh my goodness, this sounds good!!! You made me obsessed with curry puffs (I've made them three times in five weeks) - now I might turn my obsession to these crabs! But I might be lazy and let our cook make the first attempt...


Susan - Doesn't it? I've just made myself very hungry and I'm really wishing there was an evening market nearby where I could pick up a few crabs for dinner!


Good lord - that looks fabulous. Nothing better than fresh crab.


Thanks for the post and excellent photography. The coconut squeezing picture really reminds me of our kitchen back home -- nothing ever came out of a can.


Good God Almighty, this beats the hell out of Singapore Chilli Crab. What a fabulous recipe, and how lucky you were to see it being put together and then eating it!! Fantastic photos - esp the coconut milk ones!


I just had dinner but I'm still salivating...especially looking at the picture of the crab roe.


Robyn and Dave, your photo and food essay on Butuan has made me decide to plan my trip there this August. I don't know if it's further synchronicity but there's a gold exhibit here at a local museum that has a display of gold pieces discovered in several archeological digs in Butuan and Northeastern Mindanao. But I'm going to track down that kilawin vendor for sure!! Thanks.


Robyn, this looks truly glorious, and with the temperature climbing in New York, like one of the few things I'm eager to turn the gas on for in my kitchen. I have a stupid question though--do all female crabs have roe? Or is it sort of a cra(b) shoot?


Lizzie, I agree ... although a nice big lobster or some jumbo prawns can give crab a run for it's money.

Jude - betw. you and me I'd really have to be desperate to used canned coco milk. Squeezing it fresh is not that hard at all, either.

Ling, Renato - thanks.

Mila - that's great. Do drop us a line and let us know how the kinilaw was.

Rohan, I believe that all female crabs have eggs, but in varying amounts. A good fish monger should be able to advise you on which types would have the most (maybe the time of year is important, on the east coast?). Good luck with the recipe!


man powered coconut milk.. got to love it... gnarled hands and all.. lol. Cool blog!


Looks amazing. Some of my favorite Southeast Asian meals have been crab dishes- I'd love to add this one to the list. The combination of ginger, garlic, crab and coconut milk sounds so intriguing. -X


Thanks, Mei.

Xander - it's a darned good dish! I've been surprised by the fervency of the comments on this post. Put it down to the universal appeal of crabs and coconut milk, I guess.


Oh. My. Gosh. That looks amazing. I'd be in a delirium too if I were in your seat.

marcos calo medina

hi robyn,

many thanks on your post on butuan's national dish (sort of). it's actually called either buntaa OR binuntaan.

my mother's sister eleanor does a simplified version which is about as authentic as we'll get outside butuan. all ingredients are the same, except she doesn't stuff the crabs. similar to the ulang prawns in coconut milk we had in arayat. except the pampangos use scallions and ginger very sparingly while the butuanons use it a lot.

nobody does it quite like may aunt virginia villanueva in butuan city though.



Hi Robyn,

Just the way my mother used to cook Buntaa. I really tried buntaa myself but i would say, my mom's way still the best. Renato, when in Manila visit Ayala Museum at Greenbelt, Makati and Metropolitan Museum at the Central Bank compound, Roxas Boulevard for the permanent display of fantastic gold ornaments. Butuan has archeological evidences that a number of gold finds and devices for gold processing were discovered in Butuan.

Dolly Pia

It's an all-Filipino dish "to die for"; make no mistake, it's not a health food, it's high in cholesterol (roe and coconut milk). But what the heck - at least you die happy! My mom cooks it the best of course, she prepares it almost everytime when I visit her in L.A.!


Wow what a great post, sorry I missed it when it was first posted thanks for the refreshed link!

Translator Chicago

May we know your host there in Pampanga? Are they the best people to get in touch with regarding good food in the Philippines?
My, your post really is enticing - thanks! I'm gonna pause now because I'm getting hungry. Hmmm, I wish our ref has fresh crabs inside.
Have you tried balut btw? :-)

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