The Differences Of Talangka, Alimasag, And Alimango

One is not like the other two.

IMAGE Shutterstock
ILLUSTRATOR Roselle Miranda

Crabs are one of those seafood choices that immediately makes you think of a celebration. Not many can eat crabs every day so knowing how and what to do with the crabs you do have is important.   

There are several kinds of crabs on the market that you will find but the most common kinds you'll find are these three: the mud crab, the blue crab, and the talangka

What makes these three crabs so popular? These are the meatiest, the tastiest, and also the most prized of the local crabs. It's actually very easy to tell one of these crabs from the other. Here are the main differences between these three kinds of crabs: 

alimango or mud crab
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1 The mud crab or the alimango is bigger than the alimasag, with thick hard shells and large claws. 

These are hardy crabs boasting of large gray to dark brown colored shells and large and powerful pincers. These crabs can grow as heavy as 3 kilograms! Those in the market however commonly weigh around 500 grams up to 1 kilo each. The claws are particularly meaty making these the prized parts of this crab.     

alimasag or blue crabs
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2 The alimasag or blue crabs live in the sea, mud crabs in mangroves, and talangka along riverbanks.  

The alimasag or the blue swimming crab meanwhile are smaller than the alimango. These slimmer crabs have gorgeous blue and white speckled-markings against brown shells. You'll need around 3 up to 5 blue crabs to make 1 kilo but the splurge is well worth it. These are some of the tastiest of all crabs. The blue crab meat is sweet, succulent, and the claw meat is particularly tasty, sometimes tasting a little nutty and even buttery. 

The mud crab meanwhile is actually officially known as the mangrove crab since these are commonly found in the mangroves or hunkered down in the mud among the swampy areas' tree roots.

The talangka meanwhile are spawned in the sea but as it matures, these critters can be found in a number of watery areas, including the countries freshwater river banks.   

talangka or river crab
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3 The talangka or river crab is the smallest of the three crabs but is most prized for its roe. 

Weighing around 65 grams each, these tiny crustaceans are smaller than their close cousin, the mud crab. However, it doesn't develop the super thick and hard shell that the mud crab does. Instead, these are prized when still very small to cook as the pulutan or bar chow, crispy crablets. 


Since these crabs are so small, the meat of these crabs are not the reason why these are so prized. These tiny crabs are actually where the misnomer crab fat or aligue are sourced. Other names for this rich delicacy is taba ng talangka and crab paste. Aligue is actually the roe of the female talangka which makes the female talangka even more prized than the males.   

Love crabs? Now that you know how these crabs are different, here are recipes to try: 


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here.

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