Can You Eat Coconut Crabs?

coconut crab

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Crab is by far one of the most mouthwatering types of seafood. If you’ve ever spotted a coconut crab, you might find these large crabs somewhat intimidating based on their appearance.

As delicious as one of these big round crabs might look, can you eat coconut crabs?

You can eat coconut crabs, and if you ever get the opportunity to enjoy one, you should. It’s a very delicious and lush crab that tastes similar to other types of crab. Coconut crab does have to be cooked before consumption, but it’s thankfully very simple to prepare. 

Interestingly enough, coconut crab is not only a delicacy, but on the Pacific Islands where they often roam, the coconut crab is considered an aphrodisiac. 

Can You Eat Coconut Crabs?

You absolutely can eat coconut crabs, but it’s not as easy as it seems. They aren’t readily available in most grocery stores, so you’ll either have to hunt them down in a specialty store or splurge on them at a restaurant or on vacation.

If you live outside of Asia, it’s nearly impossible to find coconut crab anywhere. 

A coconut crab lives throughout the Pacific and Indian oceans and make their way to various small islands that surround those oceans.

Some of these islands are privy to catching as many coconut crabs as possible, causing their populations to go down. Others are more cautious about hunting them, even going so far as to keep them protected. 

Do Coconut Crabs Taste Good?

Coconut crabs have a mild seafood flavor that is quite similar to soft shell crab or lobster. The meat inside of a coconut crab is much creamier in consistency.

Coconut crab takes to flavor and seasoning very well, but it doesn’t need a lot of extra accouterments to make it a delectable dish. 

Because of their size, most people aren’t able to eat one on their own, making it a great type of crab to share amongst friends.

Despite their name, they don’t taste anything like coconut. Their moniker is actually inspired by their strength, as they can open up a coconut with ease to feast on the fruit inside. 

Do Coconut Crabs Have A Lot Of Meat?

One of the reasons coconut crabs are so thoroughly enjoyed is because their legs and bodies contain a ton of meat.

This type of crab can grow to weigh as much as nine pounds and up to three feet long, so you can only imagine how much of that weight is meat. When it’s cooked well, the meat stays bountiful. 

Unlike many other types of crab, you can eat more than just the legs. Interestingly enough, the eggs of female coconut crabs are one of the most highly desired parts of the crab as they are especially tasty. 

Can You Eat Coconut Crabs? 5

Is Eating Coconut Crab Safe?

As long as you’re eating coconut crab that has been properly cooked and you don’t have a dietary allergy to shellfish, eating coconut crab is perfectly safe.

The only potential concern with eating these crabs is that their diet consists of many different plants, some of which may be toxic for humans. However, cooking is able to eliminate any potential remnants of these toxic plants. 

How Is Coconut Crab Cooked?

Coconut crab is very easy to cook. You can either steam or boil it depending on your preferences, but steaming seems to be the best way to maximize flavor.

Steaming coconut crab also helps the meat stay intact so you’re not losing any of it due to shrinking. You also have the option to bake or boil this crab. 

Where Can You Find Coconut Crab?

Depending on where you live, it can be very difficult to find coconut crab. Populations of this crab have diminished in some areas due to excessive hunting.

In fact, many islands have made hunting coconut crabs illegal, as this crab is at risk of extinction in some areas. Other islands will regulate the sourcing of coconut crabs to ensure they can still be enjoyed without harming the population. 

If you happen to be visiting an island where coconut crabs live, it’s never recommended that you try and join a hunt or catch one on your own. These crabs are large and they have very strong pinchers, and they will attack a person if they feel threatened.

A coconut crab can cause extensive damage if they manage to bite you, so it’s best to admire them from afar. 

Final Thoughts

If you ever get the opportunity to try coconut crab as a seafood lover, you should indulge in the lush, flavorful delicacy.

While it’s not drastically different in flavor from more accessible crabs, it’s truly a privilege to be able to try this crab. The best way to enjoy coconut crab is on a tropical vacation where coconut crabs freely roam.  

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