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Goodness, those prawns look amazing! I'm salivating right about now.

John Sconzo

I am consistently in awe of your photography. The writing and content ain't too shabby either. Happy holidays!

Linda Nelson

Funny you wrote about Asia being "un-Christmasy". I grew up in Sarawak, Malaysia where our Christmas is singing Christmas songs in church, eating curried pork and chicken at community dinners, and having soccer matches in the village -- that's what a normal Christmas still feels to me. Now I live in the midwestern USA, and I feel decorating the Christmas trees, wrapping and opening presents, and having turkey and ham dinners are very "un-Christmasy". Everything depends on one's point of view. The prawns in your post look sumptious. Merry Christmas.


I'm with Beth - drooling into my keyboard right now.

I love huge prawns - much more so than lobster.


I am so going to try this! Off to Chinatown to find these prawns!


Wow ! So decadent. It would cost a fortune in Kuching as fresh water lobsters (this is what we call these here) are highly prized here. Great post.


Beth - they're pretty tasty!
John - thanks, from both myself and the photographer.

Hi Linda - well, of course those parts of Asia where a higher percentage of the population is Christian seems more Christmas-y, to me anyway. The Christmas spirit is very strong in the Philippines, as I imagine it would be where you grew up. On the Malaysian peninsula the whole Christmas thing -- Christmas trees and carols piped throughout malls, the odd decoration -- rings a little bit hollow. I suppose it doesn't help that I just can't get into the shopping aspect of the holiday. ;-)

On another note -- we've spent a few Christmases in Italy which, to me, felt so much more truly Christmas-y than any Christmas I've spent in the US.

Merry Christmas to you too, and best wishes for 2010.

Meemalee - I agree. And I love both much more than crab.

Charlotte - report back. Hope it turns out well for you!

Borneoboy - interesting, as in Pampanga where we ate this they also call them small lobsters.


The live prawn is a beautiful animal. The blue grayish color is exquisite. It will be hard for me to kill and devour it.


Hah, funny that you mention Italy, Robyn. B/c my wife and I too will be home in KL this year, in search of x-mas/eve meal ideas I was just reading your post from last June recalling one of your most memorable x-mas eve dinners, Provencal daube with Piemontese bue grasso beef

Oh, how we missed truffles this year. While the Prawns won't necessarily go with the Barolo we have been coveting, looks like we may have to give them a try : )

Please keep your "week of cooking a few extravagant meals" coming. Your ideas and Dave's pictures are great inspiration.

Katy Biggs

Germany is the best place to spend Xmas if you like the Xmas markets that type of things. Italy and France are heaven for those who are looking for gastronomic adventures - you get stuffed with 7/8 courses of meal starting from the eve!


Wow! Look at those seafood! Awesome!


Those prawns are the stuff of gastronomic dreams.


I just spent my first Christmas in Asia, in Dali, China. I tried to generate some sort of Christmas-y buzz and ended up with a deep-fried hamburger for dinner, which was delicious in its own way.

The locals do seem to enjoy Christmas though, many were wearing Santa hats and everyone was spraying each other (and complete strangers) with fake snow spray.

Aljur - Sikat ang Pinoy

oh no!! it's so mouthwatering. i will experiment at this on weekend. wow.. i love prawns but so far haven't tasted the Ulang sa Gata yet. wweeee

singing teacher

I'm looking for some unique recipes from the Philippines and I'm glad I stumbled upon this site. Thanks for this recipe, I needed it because two weeks from now I have a special guest who loves to eat Filipino dishes. Thanks for this post. :-)


Your blog is beautiful! I'm Filipina and inspired to make this for my mom! How long do you think it is between adding the prawns and the red liquid floating up, please? I know you might say "the red liquid will tell you"! But any guidance would be great! Thank you!


Glory - Thank you. It was about 15 minutes. Be sure not to bring the liquid to a full rolling boil. Something a bit more than a gentle simmer. If it boils too hard the red oil won't collect on surface. Also, you have to use prawns with plenty of fat -- or else no red oil!
Good luck.

Memories of Pampanga


I know Apung Lucia. My grandma taught her how to cook.

I should say I am a better cook than grandma bec I've tasted/tried/cooked dishes from diff Asian countries, including the local dishes. I've been living here in the states many years and travels to the Phils once in a while. Loved Pampanga dishes to name a few: pesa, chicken adobo, paella, etc.

My personal email address: [email protected]


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