Come on, admit it, we all had it at least once in our life. Crab sticks or imitation crab is far from healthy, allergen free or hardly contains any actual crab meat!
Long story short; traveling to Japan almost a millennium back during the Late Heign period where people invented a new luxury food called “surimi”. This paste like culinary substance containing minced white fish and early era preservatives (mostly salt) was improved from generation to generation in order to extend shelf life and taste where it eventually ended up including any form of sugar, salt, eggs and other fillers.
By the mid 1970s this “fish cake” reached the US where companies saw the value and began further development to enhance taste, texture and serving presentation. Surimi was soon transformed into frozen crab leg strips where it further boosted its sales in supermarkets and restaurants.
Nowadays these sticks mostly contain Alaskan pollock, wheat, salt, sugar, egg whites, fish oils, scallops, oysters, salmon, less than 2% actual crabmeat (best case scenario), food colouring, food flavouring and other preservatives. They are far from allergen safe.
Sadly enough they are widely used especially in Japanese restaurants as cheap alternatives in salads and sushi menus; most commonly in California rolls.
So, in your own judgement, next time you stand behind that frozen section in a supermarket or find yourself holding that paper menu ask yourself,
Is it Worth It?
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