Batanes cuisine is very simple. Its remote location meant that most of the ingredients must be sources from within the islands, or it’s going to be really expensive. A trip to the market was rather uninteresting. There was only a small selection of vegestable, and an even smaller, though more exotic selection of fishes. Pork and beef are available, while chicken is near scarce and expensive — Php 190 per kilo!
However, eating out in Batanes can be quite exciting: lobsters are cheap and coconut crabs are available!
Frustrated by our failed attempts to dine on lobsters during our trip to Coron, Palawan, Gail and the rest of the group are hankering for lobster. Hearing that lobsters go as low as Php 300 per kilo, we know we just have to have lobsters in Batanes! The odds were in our favor, and we were rewarded with a very generous helping of lobster. With help from Tita Remy, our housekeeper at Novita House, she sourced out three kilos of lobster for our dinner on our first night in the island. Cooked simply by steaming, the lobsters were juicy and very meaty.
Next to the lobster, we were also looking forward to trying the tatus, the local parlance for coconut crab. Again, through Tita Remy’s help, we were able to arrange for a lunch picnic at Sabtang’s white beach. For Php 250, we dined on fried fish, steamed sigarilyas and the highlight of the meal: coconut crabs.
The tatus is unlike any other crustacean I have ever seen. Rather than being err, wide like other crabs, the coconut crab has a longer body, with a sac at the rear end housing the aligue that is reminiscent of a spider’s. The crab was meaty, with a distinct flavor. Though it was only steamed, the meat has the faint taste of coconut milk, the effect of its penchant for coconut. It is said that coconut crabs can climb coconut trees to get the coconuts, and using its large pincers, it tears off the coconut husk and uses the smaller pincers to pull out the coconut’s flesh. Apart from coconuts, the tatus also feeds on fruits and organic materials.
Priced at Php 600 per kilo, the coconut crab is a rather expensive treat. But never mind the cost; the delectable taste of this crab is worth every peso.
RCJ’s Food Hut
Romy Cielo – Manager
Sabtang Island, Batanes
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile Phone : 0916-854-8285 / 0921-715-4919 / 0916-674-2344
Thanks for sharing the contact info, Melo!