Meaty Indonesian Mud Crabs from B&B Fishery Services

Meaty Indonesian Mud Crabs!

My thoughts on Sri Lanka Mud Crab vs Indonesia Mud Crab

To be honest, most folks in Singapore don't really choose mud crabs down to the exact breed and location. Most of us just go to restaurants and order the crabs, bearing in mind the usual market rate. However, this is not always recommended as there are so many kinds of crab available in the market. For example, crabs from Indonesia, Sri Lanka (or India), Vietnam, Philippines and so on. The grades do differ and when you are going to buy your own to cook, you might want to take note. There are quite a number of resources online and nothing Google can't solve! The way of tying and the material used (vine, rattan, raffia) are tell tale signs of where the crab is from. Sri Lanka crabs tend to have the vine kind of material.

Look at the tying material. This usually gives hints to where the crab is from.

I actually love the Indonesian mud crabs! They are cheap, mostly meaty and of good quality perhaps due to the nearer geographical export location. They tend to have the same crabby flavour although the claws are usually bigger in proportion to the body. Indonesian mud crabs also tend to be cleaner and "less muddy" than their Sri Lankan counterparts. In fact, some restaurants and seafood stalls do sell the Indonesian mud crab in lieu of the Sri Lankan one.

Look at the claws! Indonesia crabs usually have bigger claw to body ratio.

Good specimen of an Indo crab

Very meaty claw

One claw will usually be the dominant one and be much bigger.

There are certain grades that are available in the market and I found the better grades tend to have thinner shells and also cost perhaps only 20% cheaper than the "Sri Lanka" mud crabs. And yes, similar to durians, crabs are also sold according to their grading.

Look at the perfect colouration!

Female crabs are also available for Indonesian mud crabs but it's usually not that common as the male ones are more prized for their meat.

The female crab that I opened up in the previous picture.

Male crab!

How to choose a Mud Crab?

Again, there are many resources online but I guess it depends on the grade your supplier gives you. A better or premium grade one will definitely be more "meaty" and in better condition. In general, I have a few small pointers that have worked well for me. 

  • Look at the colouration. Darker or more worn out shell indicates that the crab hasn't moulted in a while. These usually contain more meat. For Indonesian crabs, the claws or body will be dark brown or orange with green hues. If if is green and lightly coloured, you have to check.
  • The crab should feel heavy! When you are used to buying crabs, you can roughly tell how heavy it should weigh according to its general size.
  • Look at the claws and pincers. Are the teeth worn out or are they pristine? Worn out teeth indicate the crab has eaten well.
  • In general, the crab should look contrasting and not "dull" Dull crabs may mean they have been out in storage for quite some time and may die within the day. They also tend to be less lively when you pick them up.
  • Look at the crab legs and body. Is it full and bulging or does it look translucent and may contain much water? Some folks use the pressing method but try not to do this as it is not very nice if you are not buying it.
  • If unsure, just get a trusted supplier to pick some for you. This is the best policy. Trust me, it is better to pay slightly more for good crab than to get it from some flash sale. There are loads of cheap Indonesia mud crabs out there that may not be that consistent in form.

How I cook my Mud Crab [Taste Test]

These days, I prefer to boil or dry steam my crabs. Simply kill the crab, chop it up and chuck it in a pot to boil or steam. For dry steaming, you can put 800g crabs in for about 10 to 15 minutes. It does depend on how big your pot is and how you fill it up though so trial and error for best results. If in doubt, put it in a little longer. Crabs seldom are overcooked to the point of dryness. For the dry steam, you can use leek, ginger, garlic, scallions, chinese wine and beer. Adjust accordingly to your taste. There is no need to use salt as there is natural saltiness that occurs from cooking the crab. You can refer to some pictures below on how my crabs were done!

Extremely meaty crab!

Full heads

Look at that "drum" meat.

Spreading steamed crabs out on banana leaf

Full of roe and eggs

Double shelled Indo crabs

Boiled crabs!

Perfect boiled crabs. You can arrange them nicely after cooking.

The steam from the boiling actually cooks the crab. There is no need to add water as it is a "dry boil"

B&B Fishery Services Contact

The crabs used for my taste test are mostly are from B&B Fishery Services. You can find them at their Facebook page or contact Brian at +65 8833 8913. They provide delivery services and have loads of other interesting seafood too. Have a look!

Other Seafood Purchases from B&B Fishery Services

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