Imitation Crab Isn't Crab At All. So What Exactly Is It?

January 14, 2015 2:34 PM

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Imitation Crab Isn't Crab At All. So What Exactly Is It?

The California roll is like the gateway drug of sushi. It may have been your first stint, easing your way into the world of a cuisine that first feels exotic to many Western eyes and palates. And while you were comfortable eating that roll, so simple with its perfect balance of crab meat, creamy avocado and seaweed, there's something you might not have known. Here's the truth: The California roll contains no crab meat at all.

The red and white "crab stick" -- often referred to as imitation crab -- does indeed come from the sea. In Japanese, crab stick is called "surimi," which actually means "ground meat." It's kind of the ocean's version of the hot dog, if you need an analogy.

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