Mud crabs are classified into four species (under the genus Scylla): Scylla Serrata, S. Tranquebarica, S. Paramamosain, and S. Olivacea. They are one of the most expensive crab species on the planet because the vast majority of their commercial output is sent to market alive. Because of its high nutritional value, rapid growth rate, and strong market demand, mud crab aquaculture has grown in popularity.
In the video, we showed how to distinguish Scylla Olivacea and Scylla Tranquebarica based on the colour, size, shape of the frontal lobe spines, claw size, and polygonal patterning of their claws. In this post, we are going to compare the meatiness between Scylla Olivacea and Scylla Paramamosain. To clarify, RAS Aquaculture has all species of mud crabs except Scylla Serrata, which is the most well-known. It is also referred to as a giant mud crab or a Sri Lankan crab with blue-ish claws. Scylla Serrata can be found in Australia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
To recap, Scylla Olivacea has orange to brown claws. Scylla Paramamosain is identified by its green claws. Scylla Olivacea is widely distributed throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, and the Philippines. Scylla Paramamosain, on the other hand, is commonly found in Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
In this video, the size difference between Scylla Olivacea and Scylla Paramamosain that we use to compare the meatiness is obvious because they are of different grade and weight. H2 Olivacea is the smaller of the two, while H4 Paramamosain is the larger. We chose different grades to demonstrate that smaller crabs do not necessarily have less meat. Furthermore, Scylla Olivacea does not appear to grow larger than 800 grammes. Scylla Paramamosain, on the other hand, has a weight limit of 600-700 grammes.
Before cooking the crab, we made sure that the two mud crabs are not water crab by checking if they have meat inside or not. The easiest way to check if they are meaty or otherwise is to apply pressure to the carapace with the thumb and finger on either side, or turn the crab over and press firmly on the abdomen plates. The crab is not full if the shell flexes at all. If it’s hard, then the crab is full of meat!
After both crabs are steamed, the crabs turn red. This is caused by a pigment known as 'astaxanthin,' which is usually hidden by a protein coating. Because the protein covering is not heat stable, it will denature when exposed to heat. The molecules of red-orange astaxanthin are then released. Because these pigments are stable, the astaxanthins have developed their distinctive red hues.
Discussion: Despite the different sizes, both crabs have a generous amount of meat. Even the H2 Olivacea contained meat.
The meat of Scylla Paramamosain tastes sweeter than Scylla Olivacea. Scylla Olivacea, on the other hand, has a tougher and fuller meat texture than Scylla Paramamosain. Because of the lack of sweetness in the meat, SO are sometimes traded at a lower price in Singapore than Scylla Serrata. However, due to the consumer preference for fullness, they are well received in parts of Thailand and Malaysia. The meat in the claws of Olivace is thicker than that of Paramamosain. Because of its larger size, Paramamosain is obviously more meaty, but Olivacea is actually more compact.
The meat texture of Scylla Paramamosain is usually the softest of all mud crab species, but the meat is sweet. Despite their softness in meat quality, they can still command a reasonable price due to the Chinese market. Unlike the Singapore and Malaysian markets, which emphasizes the fullness of claws, the Chinese market places a huge bounty on females with mature ovaries. Scylla Paramamosain is thus an ideal species for the Chinese consumer market.
In conclusion, Scylla Olivacea and Scylla Paramamosain are both meaty. In terms of sweetness, Paramamosain outperforms Olivacea. The meat texture of Paramamosain is softer than that of Olivacea. Olivacea is fuller than Paramamosain in terms of fullness. In terms of market demand, Olivacea is well received in Malaysia due to its fullness, whereas Paramamosain is not a preferred species among Malaysian consumers.