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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 imitation crab meat in 1973, as Kanikama. This was a flake type. In 1974,Osaki Suisan Co., Ltd. of Japan first produced and patented imitation crab sticks.

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] 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]

Production of Imitation Crab Meat[edit]

Imitation crab meat is made from fillets of Alaska pollock which are passed through a machine which removes fish scale, skin and bone, and grinds the flesh. Once the fish has been minced, it is washed with water in a process known as leaching. Leaching cleans the minced meat and also removes some water soluble nutrients. Next, the minced meat goes through a refining machine which separates soft white fish meat from the hard dark brown meat, followed by a screw press which removes excess water. The active proteins are frozen and prevented from degradation with the help of cryoprotective compounds such as sugar and sorbitol. The surimi is finally packaged in polyethylene bags in 22 pound blocks kept in freezers at -20℃.

To make the imitation crab meat, surimi is heated from -20℃ to -4℃ to allow for proper slicing into smaller pieces. The crab meat recipe includes ingredients that enhance the crab-like taste, including natural crab meat, starch, and egg whites. They are then mixed together in a large bowl grinder in a process called comminution and the final mixture is transported to a holding tank from which the mixture goes through the sheet-forming machine. The smooth sheets are then cooked, making the sheet stable. The sheets then undergo a slitting process which gives the texture and appearance of crab, then steamed to form the final product. It is then vacuum packaged in thermoformed trays and placed into either polyethylene, nylon or polyester plastic bags. Finally, it is pasteurized with steam.

Uses in cuisine[edit]

A California roll, a sushi roll, can be made with imitation crab meat, avocado, and cucumber 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. [dead link]

4. Imitation crab meat. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from http://www.madehow.com/Volume-3/Imitation-Crab-Meat.html#b

5. Seafood Health Facts: Making Smart Choices. Retrieved April 29, 2014 from http://seafoodhealthfacts.org/seafoodqa/23.php

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_stick — Please support Wikipedia.
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7 news items

Helena Independent Record

Helena Independent Record
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 05:00:00 -0700

Wok-N-Roll's version is grilled sirloin and cream cheese; Suki Café's version is crab stick, eel, avocado, cucumber and cream cheese topped with a special sauce. And both restaurants have tako on their menu. You may not be able to catch tako with a fly ...

The Independent

The Independent
Fri, 17 Oct 2014 04:05:52 -0700

Soup made from vegetables from Fukushima. “I don't know exactly what the base is but it might be a miso. It seemed to change the second time I had it and had something interesting floating it in it – I'm not quite sure what , maybe a crab stick?” he said.

Tulsa World

Tulsa World
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 07:02:00 -0700

The seven-piece Spider roll included tempura soft-shell crab, avocado, cucumber, crab stick and masago, and the Rock Star roll had grilled steak and avocado topped with teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds. The steak was chewy, but otherwise the rolls had ...
Shreveport Times
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:52:30 -0700

(Both of my sons pick Sake Sushi whenever they are given a choice about where to go for dinner!) We like to sit at the sushi bar, and no sooner had we chosen seats than an amuse-bouche of shredded crab stick in a sweet and spicy sauce appeared before ...

Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Journal
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 23:19:34 -0700

The white fish and pink shrimp stayed firm; the fish used in the “crab stick” dissolved into shreds that added a pleasant consistency. The soup itself is not quite enough for a meal but, with the addition of sushi or a small hibachi side of meat or ...
Tulsa World (blog)
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 09:52:30 -0700

Nhinja Sushi & Wok, featuring moderately priced sushi and Asian dishes, has opened near Woodland Hills Mall at 6746 S. Memorial Drive. The restaurant is owned by Mary and Kang Nhin, who have five other Nhinja locations in the Oklahoma City area.

The New Indian Express

The New Indian Express
Fri, 03 Oct 2014 17:33:45 -0700

“And for the evening time we have come up with a spate of snacks,” says the chef. Mumbai chat potato, Ceylon porotta, cheesy potato, kuboos burger, chicken patties, potato wedges, French fries, classic smileys, imperial pizza, oriental crab stick ...

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