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

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]


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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226 news items

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Wed, 14 Jan 2015 06:37:23 -0800

Here's the truth: The California roll contains no crab meat at all. The red and white "crab stick" -- often referred to as imitation crab -- does indeed come from the sea. In Japanese, crab stick is called "surimi," which actually means "ground meat ...

Cherry Hill Courier Post

Cherry Hill Courier Post
Sat, 24 Jan 2015 10:56:15 -0800

The Drexel Dragon Roll ($11) was also terrific, crab stick-and-cream cheese wrapped in pretty white sesame paper and topped with absolutely delicious barbecued eel and truffled eel sauce. Truffle appeared again in the tuna usuzukuri ($12), oiling the ...

Boston Globe

Boston Globe
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:56:15 -0800

For an appetizer, ubiquitous avocado salad ($5.95) appears in a far more dramatic presentation than we are accustomed to; the crab stick, mayo, cucumber, and tempura flakes arrive wrapped like a birthday present in delicate slices of avocado, topped ...

Chicago Daily Herald

Chicago Daily Herald
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 03:15:00 -0800

This dish takes a crab stick, wraps it in sliced chicken, breads the combo with tempura, and deep fries the whole concoction. I was leery of the combination of chicken and crab, but I was pleasantly surprised with not only the taste, but also the ...

The Star Online

The Star Online
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:07:27 -0800

Renowned for its authentic Japanese cuisine, Kampachi also beckons with appetisers like shishamo (grilled capelin fish), salads such as Tobiko (flying fish roe with crab stick) and soup including dobin mushi (clear soup with steamed seafood and chicken ...

The Star Online

The Star Online
Wed, 14 Jan 2015 15:57:27 -0800

... enoki mushroom, oyster mushroom, broccoli, white radish, carrot, bell pepper, pak choy, Chinese cabbage, spring onion, sea bass fillet, tiger prawn, fresh water prawn, white squid, beef, chicken, flower crab, prawn ball, crab stick, chicken ball ...


Tue, 06 Jan 2015 17:52:03 -0800

Despite a little too much napa and the unnecessary presence of imitation crab stick (a food item whose existence I refuse to fully accept), the elements worked well together, bound by a nice level of heat. (Boiling Point's options range from "not spicy ...


Fri, 16 Jan 2015 07:56:15 -0800

My boyfriend bought a hot dog, crab stick and spring roll from the Night 'n Day before going for a nap tucked up in the bed my mother had dressed in pink silk everything. I sat alone on the front garden with a tea mug filled with angry wine and a plate ...

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