What are crab sticks made of?

Not a single festive table is complete without the popular salad with crab sticks. Salty meat covered with red skin is inexpensive and gives dishes a pleasant fishy flavor, so chefs quickly adopted it. True, not everyone knows that there is actually no crab meat in crab sticks at all.

If you read the ingredients on the packaging of crab sticks, you will see that the main component of this dish is Surimi minced fish. The Japanese came up with his recipe back in the distant XII century. The islanders then drew attention to the fact that the minced meat obtained from ground and squeezed ocean fish tastes good and can be used to sculpt various figures that will decorate any meal.


For a long time, the Japanese were unable to sell Surimi and its dishes for export. Neither the Americans, let alone the Europeans, wanted to eat white balls and cakes with strange Asian names. This continued until, in the second half of the twentieth century, Japanese food manufacturers found an ingenious way to cheat picky overseas consumers. To make the product more attractive in appearance, they decided to paint it.

They applied a red strip of food coloring to the white mince and began exporting the resulting product under the name "imitation crab meat." Surimi in a new wrapper very quickly conquered the markets of not only the USA and Europe, but the whole world.

Composition of crab sticks

Surimi is usually prepared from the meat of white ocean fish - pollock, herring, mackerel or hake. The fillet is crushed and washed repeatedly with cold water until only insoluble proteins remain. Then the resulting mass is sent to a centrifuge to remove excess moisture. At the end, we have a practically tasteless minced meat, which is appreciated in Japan, but not abroad. Therefore, sugar, salt, various flavorings are added to the fish mass, and stabilizers and preservatives for better storage. After that, a red stripe is applied to the resulting Surimi with the help of carmine, paprika or other dyes.

It would seem that crab sticks are a fake for crab meat, even this emulation has learned to forge. Chinese crab sticks do not contain surimi, but are composed of vegetable (soy) protein, starch and egg white, as well as flavoring additives.