|Batanes' Specialty - Coconut Crab|
Undoubtedly, the star of Batanes cuisine is this fierce-looking arthropod locally known as Tatus. It is a crab but it looks more like a spider with its longer limbs and a sac at the rear end housing its aligue. It is usually cooked steamed or sauteed in sauce such as sweet chili or butter and garlic. However, the best was of cooking it according to my newly-found Ivatan friends is to cook it with fresh coconut juice.
I was served Steamed Tatus in Coconut Sauce. I thought Tatus will taste like Alimango but no, it has its own distinct flavor with a faint taste of coconut milk. I thought it was because of the coconut juice in the meal but I gather that Tatus has penchants for coconut that mainly form part of its diet.
The best parts of Tatus are its huge pincers with its thick juicy meat. However, foodies with high blood pressure must beware thou because each Tatus has huge deposit of fats or aligue. One might be tempted to mix it all in steamed rice but again, do it in moderation.
Note: According to this site, coconut crabs are listed as endangered species and "it shall be unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, to take or catch or cause to be taken or caught such fishery/aquatic species". This order, although way back 2001, was not yet lifted so you have to be wary of either taking or catching them. But eating them? Let me ask you this, "if your friendly Ivatan folks offered these sumptuous treat for you, will you decline?" Well, your answer is good as mine!