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Crab sticks - imitation crab meat made from surimi.
Sugiyo "Kaori-hako"

Crab sticks (imitation crab meat, seafood sticks, krab) are a form of kamaboko, a processed seafood made of finely pulverized white fish flesh (surimi), shaped and cured to resemble leg meat of snow crab or Japanese spider crab.[1]

Crab flakes use the same mixture to form flakes instead of sticks to resemble crab meat or lobster meat.


Sugiyo Co., Ltd. (スギヨ Sugiyo?) of Japan first produced and patented crab sticks in 1973, as Kanikama. In 1976, The Berelson Company of San Francisco, CA USA, working with Sugiyo, introduced them internationally. Kanikama is still their common name in Japan, but internationally they are marketed under names including Krab Sticks, Ocean Sticks, Sea Legs and Imitation Crab Sticks. Legal restrictions now prevent them from being marketed as "Crab Sticks" in many places, as they usually do not have crab meat.[2]

Alaska pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) from the North Pacific is commonly the main ingredient, often mixed with egg white (albumen)[1] or other binding ingredient, such as the enzyme transglutaminase.[3][dead link] Crab flavoring is added (either artificial or crab-derived), and a layer of red food coloring is applied to the outside.

Individual sticks in many forms are colored red or yellowish red on the outside, with a rectangular cross-section or a cross-section fiber showing white inside meat. In some forms, strings can be torn from the stick in a similar manner to string cheese. The texture is rubbery, with a salty taste and smell similar to steamed crab. Cross fiber is manufactured to be similar to the texture and fiber of snow crab or king crab legs.[citation needed]

Quality imitation crab is usually lower in cholesterol than real crab meat,[citation needed] but is also highly processed.

Uses in cuisine[edit]

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 have salads prepared with imitation crab meat, eggs, vegetables and herbs chopped together and seasoned with mayonnaise.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Laura, Campo-Deano; Clara Tovar (October 2009). "The effect of egg albumen on the viscoelasticity of crab sticks made from Alaska Pollock and Pacific Whiting surimi". Food Hydrocolloids 23 (7): 1641–1646. doi:10.1016/j.foodhyd.2009.03.013. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  2. ^ "What's in a Name: Crabless Crab Legs No Longer Imitation". Wall Street Journal. 13 Dec 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2010. (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Mystery science eater - Time Out New York". Newyork.timeout.com. Retrieved 2010-08-19. 

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4 news items

Undercurrent News
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:07:30 -0700

It is perfect surimi for crab stick production, as it cooks really fast, which is the majority of what surimi is used for in Europe,” said the source. Bersch agreed. “The product has high whiteness and a good gel strength. For many buyers, it has been ...

The Virginian-Pilot

The Virginian-Pilot
Fri, 21 Mar 2014 21:00:58 -0700

My favorite appetizer wasn't vegan-friendly; the decadent crab rangoon ($5) is cream cheese, celery and crab stick wrapped in wontons and deep-fried to a lovely golden brown without getting too greasy. Each of the six warm wontons was prepared to ...


Wed, 26 Mar 2014 01:15:10 -0700

Seafood Company Suffers as Political Tension in Ukraine Continues. 26 March 2014. UKRAINE - The current political tension in Ukraine is causing problems for on of Europe's leading crab stick and surimi producers, Viciunai Group. "It is very difficult ...
Queensland Country Life
Sat, 29 Mar 2014 09:52:30 -0700

Along with classics like char siew pau (roast pork buns) and some of Singapore's best shao lin bao (soup dumplings), there are other delights, like the prawn and tofu roll, kind of like the best crab stick you ever ate. Katong is a spot in eastern ...

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