Origins & Information - (A-Z) Imitation Crab

My mom used to tell me that the imitation crab sticks we ate were just made of flour, flavoring, and food coloring. I believed her, of course, because she is my mom. Therefore, despite liking imitation crab a lot, I used to avoid it because I didn't want to bloat myself with useless unhealthy carbohydrates. I also think that that was a big reason why my mom hardly bought imitation crab as well. However, as I got older and started eating more food that wasn't homecooked by my own mom, I realized that imitation crab was used in a lot of things. You've probably had it in Americanized sushi, seafood salads, stir-fry dishes, and sometimes even appetizers. So, is it really just another flour-y creation that dumps carbs into your diet?

Imitation crab actually has some merit in being seafood! Officially patented in 1973 in Japan (but known since the 1500s), it is now made from surimi which is basically finely pulverized white fish paste also used to make fish balls and other imitation seafoods. The most commonly fish used is Alaskan pollock because it has little flavor on its own, is abundant, and is inexpensive; the fish is skinned, deboned, minced, rinsed, and pulverized into a paste. The paste is mixed with crab flavoring for taste and smell and is dyed in such a way to mimic the look of crab legs. You can find it in stores sold either in chunks or sticks and because they are pre-cooked, they can be eaten right after purchase. They peel away like string cheese quite often as well and even look like those sticks too! It is not recommended to cook it too much lest the texture become tough. Imitation crab is great for those who are not huge fans of the crab itself or are looking for an alternative that is lower in carbohydrates and cholesterol. For much more specific information in greater detail, you can visit to learn the nitty gritty about imitation crab!

This post is part of an A-Z series I am running for my blog category "Origins and Information" while I am in Vietnam with my family for July. Many of the posts in the series answer questions that were posed by friends/readers. If y'all enjoy the series, I will gladly run another in the future!