Philippines: Seafood Island

Every fall, I get to travel to the east coast, spending a week on the sunny shores of Cape Cod; soaking up sun, salt water, and fresh seafood. It’s a tradition in my wife’s family, going back years, and I’ve been invited along every year since 2011.

They’re getting packed and preparing to go in just a matter of weeks. I’ll be missing the trek for the first time since we became a couple – and while I’ll certainly be deprived of the good camaraderie, eating the best lobster and clam chowder in all of Massachusetts, and watching my beloved Patriots with the local diehards, I can still get my fix of ocean fresh seafood.

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For nearly 12 years, Seafood Island has been serving up the catch of the day to hungry Filipinos. Offering a wide array of meals to groups or singles, you can find all sorts of options, ranging from the enormous Magellan’s Landing, featuring tilapia, squid, shrimp, talong, crabs, sinuglaw, chicken, and rice, to their individual orders of fresh shellfish.

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As amazing as all of those sounded, I was here for a one of a kind dish that I’ve never had before. I was going for the bucket of Pacific crab.

Seafood Island offers a half dozen different preparations for their crab; but order by the bucket, and you’re playing by the house rules: only the mouth watering Crab Maritess style is offered. Succulent crabs are deep fried right in the shell, coated in fried garlic and soaked in a hot butter bath.

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My order came out hot – and I needed a few minutes just to keep from burning my fingers against the still steaming shells and hot butter. Waiting was excruciating, as the smells of the surf were too much, and before long, I’d begun working my shell cracker like a seasoned surgeon, and was enjoying the melt-in-your mouth crab pieces.

What makes these Pacific Alimango crabs so unique, is the softness of the meat. While the claws contain bits of the sweet, more traditional crab flavor we’d expect from fresh Atlantic fare, the centre was unlike anything I’d ever had before. It melted on my tongue, turning into a rich, savory, almost butter like texture. Coupled with the super crispy bites of fried garlic, and I was in for an unparalleled food pairing that I won’t soon forget.

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The meal was expensive by Filipino standards, and at 810P (~$25 Canadian), you’ll be Shelling out for these mighty crustaceans. But seeing as I’ve been given only one chance to live by the South China Sea, I need to take advantage of these local delicacies. Missing out might make me a little Crabby.

Facebook: Blackbeard’s Seafood Island
Twitter: @seafoodisland

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