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.
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.
Alaska pollock from the North Pacific is commonly the main ingredient, often mixed with egg white (albumen) or other binding ingredient, such as the enzyme transglutaminase.[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.
Quality imitation crab is usually lower in cholesterol than real crab meat, but is also highly processed. Because it is created from fish, it can be kosher, but only if it does not contain crab-derived flavoring, as shellfish is not kosher.
Uses in cuisine 
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.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Kanikama|
- 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.
- "What's in a Name: Crabless Crab Legs No Longer Imitation". Wall Street Journal. 13 Dec 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2010.(subscription required)
- "Mystery science eater - Time Out New York". Newyork.timeout.com. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "OU UKD Public". OUdirect.org. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
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