What Is Imitation Crab?

Feb 28, 2013 1:31 pm

Imitation crab, crab stick, "krab." All the same.

Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/phuson/"> Phu Son </a> on Flickr
Photo: Phu Son on Flickr
The vast majority of California rolls are made with dreaded imitation crab.
 

Ever order a California roll? Well, for one, that tells us that you’ve probably never read our 12 Sushi Commandments. But it also means that you have experienced the wonder that is imitation crab. It’s not every day that you come across a food with the word “imitation” regularly preceding it, but that is precisely what is going on here with crab stick, readily available at most grocery stores and commonplace in neighborhood Japanese restaurants. (Some go so far as to call it "krab with a k.")

So, what exactly is it, you ask? Imitation crab is a form of processed seafood made of finely pulverized white fish flesh — called surimi — typically using various whitefish. Creating surimi involves skinning, rinsing, grinding and cooking the fish into an odorless paste, before coloring and flavoring is added to resemble the leg meat of snow crab or Japanese spider crab.

Want our advice? Stick to the real stuff. And do yourself a favor and opt for something with actual fish the next time you’re craving sushi.

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