Imitation Crab


Imitation crab is a seafood product made from "Surimi" or fish paste. The Alaskan pollock fish is most often used in preparing imitation crab meat. The fish is skinned, boned, and minced. Once it is made into "Surimi", the surimi is then shaped into chunks or tubes, then cut into chunks of sticks. It is cooked and coated with red food coloring to make it look more like authentic crab meat.

Imitation crab meat has less protein, cholesterol, and carbohydrates than real crab. Fresh lime juice may improve the flavor if you do not like the imitation.


Other names: Surimi, Sea Legs, Krab
Translations: Imitācija Krabju, Dirbtinė krabas, Imitaţii de crab, Imitacija Rak, Cua giả, Imitacja Crab, Imitatiekrab, नकली केकड़ा, Imitação de Caranguejo, Имитация краба, Απομιμήσεις Καβούρι, تقليد كراب, 모방 크랩, Imitace Krabí, Kepiting imitasi, Pekeng Crab, 仿蟹, Imitació del cranc, Imitacija Crab, Imitácia Krabie, L'imitazione di granchio, חיקוי סרטן, Oäkta Crab, Имитација Краба, 模倣クラブ, Imitation de crabe, Imitation Krabbe, Imitasjon Crab, Imitación del cangrejo, Імітація краба, Jäljitelmä Crab, Имитация на раци

Physical Description

The sticks are normally wrapped in a plastic cover to retain freshness. Individual "sticks" in many forms are usually coloured red or yellowish red on the outside, with a rectangular cross-section or a cross-section fibre showing white meat on the inside. In some stick forms, strings of the white imitation crab flesh can be torn from the stick in a similar manner to string cheese. This is cool!

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Sweet and salty.
Mouthfeel: Somewhat chewy with a slight rubbery texture.
Food complements: Cream cheese, Avocado, Chives, Citrus fruit.
Wine complements: Pairs with a semi-sweet white wine, Such as a gewurtztraminer or a vignoles.
Beverage complements: Also pairs well with citrus liqours.
Substitutes: Real crab, Whiting.

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Check the date on the package.
Buying: Imitation crab is available at nearly every supermarket.
Procuring: The curing of the fish paste is caused by the polymerization of myosin when heated. The species of fish is the most important factor that affects this curing process. Many pelagic fish with higher fat contents lack the needed type kind of heat-curing myosin and are not used for surimi.
Certain kinds of fish, such as the Pacific whiting, cannot form firm surimi without additives such as egg white or potato starch. Before the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, mad cow), it was an industrial practice to add bovine blood plasma into the fish paste to help its curing or gel-forming. Today some manufacturers may use a transglutaminase to improve the texture of surimi.

Preparation and Use

Surimi is a useful ingredient for producing various kinds of processed foods. It allows a manufacturer to imitate the texture and taste of a more expensive product such as lobster tail, using a relatively low-cost material. Surimi is an inexpensive source of protein.Since crab sticks are cooked during the curing process, they can be eaten directly from the package. They are often used in seafood salads as a cheaper substitute for real crab meat.
They are also used in fishing as bait.
A California roll is a sushi roll made with imitation crab meat, avocado, and cucumber (sometimes) rolled with sesame seeds on the outside. Russian, American, and European deli counters feature various salads prepared with imitation crab meat, eggs, vegetables and herbs chopped together and seasoned with mayonnaise

Cleaning: Imitation crab comes ready-to-eat.

Conserving and Storing

Once thawed, immitation crab will last about 5-6 days, if kept in air tight container. It's seafood, so anytime longer than that and you risk becoming ill.


In Asian cultures, surimi is eaten as a food in its own right and seldom used to imitate other foods. In Japan fish cakes (kamaboko) and fish sausages, as well as other extruded fish products, are commonly sold as cured surimi.



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