Filipino Crispy Crablets: Why They’re So Loved & How to Serve Them

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Small crabs that have been seasoned and deep-fried until crispy are known as crispy crablets.

While some of these crabs are raised in fish ponds, they’re typically found on riverbanks. But usually, these small crabs are also found in Filipino rice fields.

Crablets are actually baby crabs or very young ones. They’re small, so they cook fast in hot oil.

Crispy crablets is one of those quick, easy, and delicious Filipino dishes that only takes minutes to make. All you have to do is lightly coat the crustaceans in cornstarch or flour and deep fry crablets for a few minutes in vegetable oil.

This dish is perfect as an appetizer or even as a main course served with rice.

The crispy crablets are usually served with a vinegar-based dipping sauce on the side and are popularly enjoyed with beer.

What are crispy crablets

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Crispy crablets (full Filipino recipe here) are believed to have originated from the Philippines and have probably been around for a very long time.

The dish is said to have come about because of the abundance of small crabs in the rice fields and rivers in the country.

People probably started making this crispy crablets recipe as a way to use up small crabs that were considered too tiny to be used in other dishes. Since these crustaceans are so small, they cook quickly and are perfect for a quick snack or appetizer.

The dish has become so popular that it’s now served in restaurants all over the world.

What in the World are Filipino Crispy Crablets?

Crablets are baby crabs that are typically less than an inch in size. These tiny creatures are a delicacy in the Philippines, where they are often deep-fried to create a crispy and flavorful snack.

The Filipino Twist: How are Crablets Prepared?

Filipino crispy crablets are typically prepared by marinating the crabs in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and other spices. The crablets are then coated in cornstarch or flour before being deep-fried until they are crispy and golden brown.

The Crispy Factor: Why are Crablets So Popular?

The crispy texture of Filipino crispy crablets is what makes them so popular among locals and tourists alike. The combination of the crunchy exterior and the tender meat inside creates a unique and satisfying eating experience.

The Perfect Pairing: What Goes Well with Crispy Crablets?

Filipino crispy crablets are often served as a snack or appetizer, but they can also be paired with other dishes to create a complete meal. Some popular pairings include:

  • Garlic rice
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Steamed fish
  • Mango salsa

The Filipino Crablet Craze: Where to Find Them?

Filipino crispy crablets can be found in many restaurants and street food stalls throughout the Philippines. They are often served with a spicy vinegar dipping sauce and are best enjoyed with friends and family.

So, if you’re looking for a unique and flavorful snack, give Filipino crispy crablets a try. Who knows, you might just discover your new favorite dish!

Why Crispy Crablets are the Filipino People’s Favorite Snack

Filipino crispy crablets are small, deep-fried crabs that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The secret to their popularity lies in their texture and flavor. The crispy exterior gives way to a succulent and juicy meat that is packed with umami flavor. The combination of crispy and juicy makes them irresistible to snack on.

Easy to Prepare

Another reason why people love Filipino crispy crablets is that they are easy to prepare. You can buy them pre-packaged from the grocery store or wet market, and all you need to do is deep fry them until they turn golden brown. They are perfect for those who are always on the go and want a quick and easy snack.

Affordable and Accessible

Filipino crispy crablets are also affordable and accessible. They are a popular street food in the Philippines, and you can find them in almost every corner of the country. They are also inexpensive, making them an excellent option for those who are on a budget.

A Great Snack for Any Occasion

Filipino crispy crablets are a versatile snack that can be enjoyed on any occasion. They are perfect for snacking while watching a movie, as an appetizer for a party, or as a side dish for a family meal. They are also a great option for those who want to add a unique and flavorful twist to their usual snack routine.

A Cultural Staple

Lastly, Filipino crispy crablets are a cultural staple in the Philippines. They are a representation of the country’s rich culinary heritage and are a source of pride for Filipinos. Eating crispy crablets is not just about satisfying one’s hunger, but it is also a way to connect with one’s culture and traditions.

Crispy Crablets Cooking Tips

  • To ensure a crispy coating, mix cornstarch and flour in a 1:1 ratio.
  • For a healthier option, use panko instead of flour.
  • Make sure the crablets are dry before coating to avoid excess moisture.
  • Fry the crablets in hot oil (around 350°F) until golden brown.
  • Use a paper-lined plate to absorb excess oil.

Sauce Tips

  • A popular dipping sauce for crispy crablets is vinegar with chopped onions and sliced chili peppers.
  • For a spicy kick, add a dash of hot sauce to the vinegar mixture.
  • Mix in minced garlic for an extra flavor boost.
  • If you prefer a lighter sauce, mix vinegar with a little bit of sugar and salt.

Serving Tips

  • Crispy crablets are best eaten fresh, so purchase freshly caught ones if possible.
  • To eliminate any unpleasant scent, squeeze lemon juice over the crablets before cooking.
  • Ensure the crablets are seasoned well before coating to match the quality of the meat.
  • For a complete meal, serve with rice and a variety of sauces for dipping.

Secret Tips

  • Adding a little bit of black pepper to the coating mixture can give an extra kick of flavor.
  • To remove excess moisture, sprinkle a little bit of cornstarch on the crablets before coating.
  • A little bit of minced garlic mixed into the coating can add an extra layer of flavor.
  • For super crunchy crablets, mix a little bit of cornstarch into the coating mixture.

Remember, cooking crispy crablets takes a bit of work, but the end result is worth it. With these tips, you can ensure that your Filipino crispy crablets are the best they can be!

How to Enjoy the Ultimate Filipino Crispy Crablets

Preparing Filipino Crispy Crablets is easy and can be done in your own kitchen. Here are the steps to prepare this delicious dish:

  • Clean the crablets thoroughly and pat them dry.
  • In a bowl, mix cornstarch, ground pepper, and a bit of salt.
  • Add the crablets to the mixture and coat them evenly.
  • In a pan, heat oil to medium heat.
  • Fry the crablets until they turn golden brown.
  • Once cooked, remove the crablets from the pan and place them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

The Secret Ingredient

The secret ingredient to making the perfect Filipino Crispy Crablets is adding a beaten egg to the mixture before coating the crablets with cornstarch. This will enable the mixture to stick to the crablets for a longer time, resulting in a crispy and delicious dish.

Variety is Key

There are different types of crablets available in the market, and each one has its own unique taste. To check the quality of the crablets, make sure they are young and have a hard shell. Here are some other tips to keep in mind:

  • Use fresh ingredients to ensure the best taste.
  • Adding a bit of ground pork to the mixture can enhance the flavor of the dish.
  • For a spicier kick, add a dash of hot sauce to the dipping sauce.
  • Filipino Crispy Crablets are equally popular as a main dish or as a side dish to other seafood or meat dishes.

Enjoy the ultimate Filipino Crispy Crablets with these tips and tricks!

Other Crispy Filipino Crab Dishes You Need to Try

If you’re a fan of crispy crablets, you’ll definitely love this dish. Fried crab with vinegar dip is a similar dish that uses whole crabs instead of mini crablets. The crabs are fried until crispy and served with a side of vinegar dip. The texture is similar to crablets, but the taste is milder since the crabs are bigger.

Crab Cakes

Crab cakes are another delicious dish that uses crab meat. The texture is similar to crablets since they’re both crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The difference is that crab cakes are made with crab meat, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients, while crablets are made with whole mini crabs.

Popcorn Crab

Popcorn crab is a dish that’s similar to crablets in terms of size and texture. The crabs are coated in panko breadcrumbs and fried until crispy. The result is a crunchy and delicious meal that’s perfect for snacking.

Crispy Crab Fingers

Crispy crab fingers are another dish that’s similar to crablets. The dish uses crab fingers, which are the smaller parts of the crab’s claws. The crab fingers are coated in breadcrumbs and fried until crispy. The texture is similar to crablets, but the taste is slightly different since crab fingers have a different flavor compared to whole crabs.

Filipino Crispy Crablets: Your FAQs Answered

  • Make sure to marinate the crablets for at least an hour to infuse flavor into the meat.
  • Coat the crablets in a mixture of cornstarch and panko for a healthier and crunchier texture.
  • Fry the crablets in hot oil until they turn golden brown and crispy.
  • Place the fried crablets on a paper towel to remove excess oil and to keep them crispy.

What is the best way to serve and eat crispy crablets?

  • Drizzle some orange vinegar sauce over the crablets for a delicious tangy flavor.
  • Dip the crablets in a mixture of vinegar and soy sauce for a milder taste.
  • Enjoy the crispy crablets as a snack or as a main dish with rice and vegetables.

Where can I acquire the skills and techniques to cook crispy crablets?

  • Join Filipino cooking groups on Facebook to learn from experienced cooks and to get recipe ideas.
  • Read Filipino food blogs and cookbooks to get a better understanding of Filipino cuisine.
  • Contact Filipino restaurants or stores to ask for help or guidance in creating the dish.

Can I use other types of meat or seafood to create crispy crablets?

  • Yes, you can use fish fillet, chicken cordon bleu, or mini critters like shrimp or squid.
  • Just make sure to adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly.

Is there a brand of crablets that is recommended for this dish?

  • There is no specific brand recommended, but make sure to choose fresh and tender crabs for the best taste.
  • Check the smell and texture of the crabs before purchasing to ensure their freshness.

Are there any other Filipino dishes that are similar to crispy crablets?

  • Fried fish or shrimp are similar dishes that are also popular in Filipino cuisine.
  • Try creating your own unique twist on the dish by adding different spices or sauces.


So there you have it- everything you need to know about Filipino crispy crablets. They’re a delicious snack that’s perfect for parties, and a great way to enjoy some Filipino culture. Plus, they’re pretty easy to make, so why not give them a try?

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.