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 thoughts on “A CRABBY FAKE

  1. 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!

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  5. 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!

  6. 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. 😉

  7. 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!

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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)

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