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 crab leg meat.
Sugiyo Co., Ltd. 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. This 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. Crab flavouring is added (either artificial or crab-derived), and a layer of red food colouring is applied to the outside. – wikipedia

Not very appetsing, eh? Nonetheless, I was on a mission to create a crab chowder; fresh crab is not available in Johannesburg, unless you go to high-end supermarkets like Thrupps, where you’ll pay the equivalent of a pair of designer sneakers for a tiny bit of crab meat. My aim was to pit two Sauvignon Blancs against one another; First Sighting and Waterford.

“An intense nose with flavours of asparagus, wild gooseberries and capsicum intermingled with indigenous coastal fynbos aromas. Full and crisp on the palate with a clean minerality on the aftertaste.” My vote? 4/5.

“Apples and slight tropical fruit on the nose. Baked up by some minerality. Very smooth on the palate and quite full bodied. Really well balanced and good length on the finish.” My vote? 4/5 again; try as I did, I couldn’t fault either wine.

The ersatz crab chowder? Let’s not go there …


68 Comments Add yours

  1. Nog maar altyd gewonder hoeveel krappies daarbuite sonder bene loop ….

    1. theonlycin says:

      No hoef jy nie meer bekommerd te wees nie 🙂

  2. Taylor used to eat them crab sticks like viennas, now she won’t touch them!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      They are just horrible, I am going to search for tinned crab and try again 🙂

      1. I seem to remember seeing them at Pick n Pay – the mall one which is a bigger one than the other ones here! Maybe one of them posh Spars might have some too.

      2. theonlycin says:

        Thanks Chantellle 🙂

  3. That stuff is really not nice!

    1. theonlycin says:

      It ends up looking like vomit 😉

  4. Hey, got a good tip for you! The Chinese “deli” at Pineslopes (opposite Monte) almost always have a big carboard box of thriving fresh crabs … and I expect an invite when you use the real thing!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for the tip! Love you xxx

  5. Tina De Comarmond says:

    One of a very few foods I don’t like. Will take lot of convincing for me to eat crab sticks, but I must say the chowder looks divine, Regards Tina

    1. theonlycin says:

      It tasted OK, Tina, but it was really hard to get past the appearance. Thanks for the visit 🙂

  6. Leeswammes says:

    Thanks for the edutainment! I knew there was something un-crabby about surimi but not what exactly. I only eat surimi in ready made sandwiches when I’m on the go. I love it, actually. Your chowder looks… interesting, but I think I’d eat it – especially if it was made by you.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Haha, thanks Judith 🙂

  7. Tilly Bud says:

    I have never tried crab sticks – couldn’t face them – and now I’m rather glad 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Then my work here is done 🙂

  8. Oh try as I might, I can’t like them crab sticks. That being said, I also battled paying for the crab meat I bought the other week! It was absolutely worth it though.
    Have a happy day.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Lucky you, Mandy, enjoy the rest of the day 🙂

  9. dearrosie says:

    It’s always interesting to read your blog and discover what foods are and are not available in your part of the world.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Likewise, rosie, it’s one of the best things about blogging 🙂

  10. MissChris says:

    My beloved looooooved those horrid things!!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      My Bunn won’t touch them 😉 xxx

  11. Jamie Dedes says:

    What a pretty dish!

    Too sad that you can’t easily and reasonably get real crab there.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It is sad, Jamie, I just love crab 🙂

  12. Tandy says:

    thankfully you had some lovely decent wines to ‘lift’ the crab sticks!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, the wine did soften the blow 🙂

  13. MaanKind says:

    I LOVE crab! Nothing like a few Krap-knypers to add flavour to seafood chowder. What happened to the fresh crab in Pick & Pay? They used to sell it?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Haven’t seen it for a very long time, MaanKind.

  14. Pseu says:

    Looks lovely to me, but I don’t like the thought of crab sticks!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Never again, Pseu 🙂

  15. thestonemaidendiaries says:

    And to think that crab is so freely available over here, even in Tescos which is the equivalent of your Checkers.
    Had some lovely Scampi last night for dinner, yum! (not big on crab on crab sticks)

  16. ceciliag says:

    Right well, I am skipping the fake crab and going straight to the plonk.. I love a good sav blanc! (oo that rhymes.. sorry) c

    1. theonlycin says:

      Bwahaha, you made me laugh so loudly that the dogs are barking at me 😀

  17. Sparkle says:

    Me not big on seafood. Enjoy your day

    1. theonlycin says:

      I will, almost wine-o-clock Sparky 🙂

  18. SuziCate says:

    While I prefer real crab, I do like the krab sticks in a particular salad that I eat on crackers….otherwise not thanks. And I’m sure I’d love the wine!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Seems a crab stick salad is quite popular on crackers, SuziCate, do you add mayo?

  19. Spectra says:

    I’d never thought to research this fake crab meat before, though I knew it was made with white fish. The enzyme,transglutaminase, is a concern, as I am gluten intolerant and anything that even resembles the word gluten is usually very bad for me! And the artificial dyes heighten existing ADHD. I stay away from it as I loathe the flavor and texture, but years back, when I lived in California and had many sushi dinners, I did use the fake crab for California Rolls, as that’s the standard ingredient.Today, I make it with real crab.

    Do your stores maybe carry frozen crab? We have it here, and it is markedly more afordable than fresh or canned. It’s just a matter of cracking open those shells, which can be a great stress-reliever!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Some of our fishmonger shops do carry frozen crab, only thing is; how long has it been in the freezer?

  20. slpmartin says:

    The crab sticks always taste like processed seafood to me..ah but real crab because of my location (SoCal) is more readily available at a reasonable price…so need to use it any way. 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’re a lucky fellow, Charlie 🙂

  21. adeeyoyo says:

    I can’t believe that you can’t get crab in Jo’burg. Are they seasonal? I remember curried crab always being available in Durban.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It must be a coastal thing, adee, I don’t know if one can nosh freshwater crab?

  22. gospelwriter says:

    Given a choice between a tiny bit of fresh crab meat and designer sneakers, I know what I’d choose. 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hehe, walking shoes? 😉

  23. Naomi says:

    Thanks for the info, Cindy, I didn’t realize these were fake…even less apetising now 🙂 As for the wines, I’ll make a note. Love those exquisite descriptions!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Naomi, I can highly recommend both wines 🙂

  24. nrhatch says:

    The wine and bread look good. 😀

    My favorite crab dish . . . snow crab legs dipped in lemon butter.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Snow crab? Don’t the poor critters die of cold? 😉

  25. SidevieW says:

    Crab in Joburg?
    Come to the spruit with a few viennas or some bacon and some string. Dangle it in the watsr and soon – there is your crab!

    Good ones at Emmarentia too.

    When we cleaned out my fishpond at tghe front door there was a nice sized one living there

  26. Count Nicholas Czardas says:

    Crab sticks, the vienna’s of the seafood world.

    My money would have been on the maritime influenced First Sighting klapping the Waterford, but then I’ve never tried the Waterford, so that’s just a guess. I’ll trust your judgement, cos you actually did the test.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Nope, I thought they went head-on-head, but then I am a mere punter 😉

  27. You forgot to rate the crab sticks 😀
    What does it say about me that I adore them and find them moreish? In a country where one is never far from fresh crab, you’ve just inspired me to put the sticks on tomorrow’s shopping list.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Bwahaha, enjoy them Kate 😀

  28. Yvette says:

    Oh, I remember these, but true I haven’t seen them in supermarkets for a while…on the look out today! I think they may be in camoflage these days…battered and deep fried!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Lol, that sounds perfectly horrid, Yvette 😉

  29. Yuck, now I’m pleased I never buy crab sticks! The wine, that’s another matter…gotta go shopping, they sound divine 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      They are highly recommended wines 🙂

  30. bluebee says:

    I suspect the designer sneakers might taste better than those crab sticks – just looking at them makes me itch

    1. theonlycin says:

      Bwahaha … make sure the sneakers are the same pink as the crab sticks 😉

  31. sonsothunder says:

    The ersatz crab chowder? No they can keep that crap…I mean crab.. well, I’ll admit it is pretty in the chowder, but I think it was learning that it had “Transvestymayonaise” in it that turned me off completely.
    But seriously… Every body knows the Waterford ( American ) Rules…Just kidding, I know the First Sighting is made there.
    But, interesting comparison here on the the French Vineyard regions, and the Oregon region where Waterford is grown. http://www.waterfordwine.com/
    God Bless You

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for the link, Paul, very interesting. I am off to Wine School this morning, will share the info and appear to be very clever 😉 xxx

  32. libraryscene says:

    The fake crab is still ‘real’ enough for this vegan to say pass…that said, the description of the Waterford sounds delightful, yes, please, here is my glass ~ (couldn’t resist corny rhyming, sorry)

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hahaha … you clever thing 🙂

  33. I love crab sticks! Now you’re telling me crab sticks aren’t really crab sticks! What is this world coming to??!! 😉

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