This Fried Crab Belongs on Paella and Here's Where to Get Both
Say hi to Cangrejos Locos, Chef Robby Goco's latest.
(SPOT.ph) You probably think you’ve been there and done that when it comes to Spanish food, but with all the different regions and styles to explore, it seems we’ve barely scratched the surface. But Cangrejos Locos over in Molito Commercial Center isn’t about to let that issue go unaddressed—not while Chef Robby Goco has something to say about it.
“This is all very straightforward,” says Goco. “Nothing complicated, nothing pretentious. There’s no room for stuff like that here.” And, indeed, the interiors tell you everything you need to know; in the light of day, the bright colors and Spanish tile patterns don’t exactly scream black tie.
And that’s more than fitting, considering that the food looks like you’d need forks, knives, and a little help from your hands to devour it properly—and you’re going to want to go to town on the Huevos Rotos (P280) at the very least. Crispy fries buried under runny sunny side-up already sounds like everything you shouldn’t eat (but will), but throw in the peppery bite of chorizo chunks? It’s almost too much, in the best way. If you’re looking to go a little milder, the Croquetas Locos (P240) aren’t as crazy as they sound, but they do make a nice sound when you bite into them. The tangy aioli on the side gives the crunch-fluff-chew of these fried potato bites the edge you didn't know they needed.
But even with such winning starters, there’s just no way to truly prepare you for the Barcelona-style paellas—they’re thinner in the pan than you’re used to seeing, but the flavor runs deep and the preparation twice as easy. Start with the Mushroom and Asparagus (P535); it may only be vegetable stock, but the crispy bottom that you get as a result is still unbeatable. (All our fellow tutong fans, raise your hands!)
Those who’ve been around the block a few times know that there’s more you can do with a paellera than meets the eye—the Seafood Marinera Fideua (P670), with its use of short, thin noodles in place of robust rice, is proof. Because you don’t rely on the rice for body or texture, a fideua allows you to fully savor the flavors that go into the dish—in this case, tender cod fillet, fat shellfish, and a satisfying saffron stock.
But the Cangrejos Locos Paella (P670) is what you’re here for, even if you don’t know it yet. The softshell crabs may seem like they’re the star of the show, but every little component contributes to the experience—the crab fat doesn’t overpower the stock-steeped rice. But if you want to up the crab factor, the Roasted Garlic Angulas (P280/100 grams) is the thing to order. The salty tang of sundried tomatoes in the garlic sauce brightens each bite, as though to match the interiors of the restaurant. White, Red, and Purple Sangrias (P185/glass) are the best things to wash it all down with—we recommend the White for its citrusy, refreshing bite.
To end your meal, the Churros con Chocolate (P130) are light and crispy, and the chocolate is somehow rich without weighing you down. But if you want to go out with a bang, the Grilled Pineapples (P160) are a culinary experiment gone right—the smokiness of the charred fruit transitions you seamlessly to the guttural sweetness of the butterscotch. The scoop of vanilla ice cream ties it all together perfectly.
The point of Cangrejos Locos is that Spanish food doesn’t have to be stuffy, stiff, or stingy—belly-rubbing satisfaction is the name of the game here, and boy, do they make it easy to win.
Photos by Majoy Siason