Posted in A Girl at Lunch, Restaurant Hopping, The Flavors of Asia, The Well-read Foodie

In Which there are “Crab” Cakes…

Kani Cake
Kani Cake

Crab cakes are something straight out of Ruth Reichl’s autobiography Comfort Me with Apples.  In chapter two (The Success Machine), she takes lump crabmeat, mixes it up with breadcrumbs and a host of other good things, forms the mixture into patties, and fries the lot up in a lot of butter.  Reichl cooks these cakes in a fit of pique; worried sick that she doesn’t know what’s up with her then-husband (artist Douglas Hollis) who’s always away doing projects and who, alas, doesn’t seem to want to properly settle down and have children.  It’s a situation that seriously warrants luxurious, decadent, fattening, but so-comforting dishes such as proper Baltimore-style crab cakes.

While my own emotional state isn’t at all that rosy at the moment, I have not been prompted into cooking crab cakes at home.  Things aren’t that bad (well, not at the moment, knock on wood!), but a case of the blues calls for stodgy, tasty things.  Probably not the healthiest course of action, of course, but a spot of deliciousness on the tastebuds helps to lift one’s mood.

This what I was hoping for when I decided to try some nosh over at Coco Hut.

Crunchy outside, gooey within
Crunchy outside, gooey within

Coco Hut is run by the same team behind popular burger and taco joint Army/Navy.  But while A/N does Tex-Mex grub in the midst of faux military decor, Coco Hut served fried chicken and seafood with a more laid-back, island-hopper vibe.

For this particular lunch, I opted for the kani cakes and a plate of pancit palabok.  Oh, and to wash things down: a large glass of teamarind.  The teamarind is a tamarind-infused spin on iced sweet tea; this sweetly tart concoction is served ice-cold and goes down a treat on a hot summer afternoon.

The kani cakes were, alas, not quite crab cakes as these are made with surimi crabsticks, those faux crab-flavored fish cakes used for California maki.  Nevertheless, these make a (just-acceptable-enough) substitute as they work well with the mozzarella cheese and jalapeno bits.  The exterior of each “crab” cake is well-breaded with crispy panko and shatters when you sink your teeth into it; the crisp exterior gives way to the soft, gooey center.  Dip these babies in sweet chili sauce and you are good to go.

Coco Hut's pancit palabok
Coco Hut’s pancit palabok

I must confess, though, that I was a trifle disappointed with Coco Hut’s spin on pancit palabok.  While I like this sort of noodle dish good and saucy, this was too saucy and the amount of noodles felt rather short.  I think I would have been better off ordering the garlic chicken sotanghon I saw on the menu.  But, nevertheless, it was a fairly good meal.

Coco Hut:  2nd Floor – Bonifacio Stopover, 2nd Avenue cor. 31st St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

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