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Jan 1, 2012 05:53 AM

Imitation crab meat in Chinese restaurants

Many Chinese restaurants I go to use a delicious kind of imitation crab meat. The pieces are solid. There are no flaking strings or rings inside them like many other brands of crab meat. It doesn't taste remotely like real crab, but I like it as a food itself. It is very mild and not at all fishy. The pieces are white inside and have a red exterior. I really like the taste and texture of this kind of imitation crab meat, so I would like to know what brand(s) they may be using.

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  1. Do you mean this sort of fish cake? It comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and flavors.

    Here's a Wikipedia article about the Japanese version:

    3 Replies
    1. re: DeppityDawg

      I know for sure I don't like the Japanese version because it is very sweet tasting. But it is similar.

      1. re: luckyfatima

        That will be plain 'fish ball' (yú jiāng), also sold in all Asian groceries. It's kind of a paste/slurry mix and the restaurants sometimes make it into their own shape (rather than the prepackaged sliced version in Japanese food).

        1. re: poloprincess

          It is not the fish ball either. Many of the mixed seafood dishes I order have the imitation crab as well as fish balls.

    2. Kamaboko is available at most Japanese (or larger Asian) groceries. Yamasa is a popular brand, it's generally sold in a tube (fridge/frozen) and then you slice it.

      1. I am pretty sure that it is not a Japanese product. The only distinct thing about it to me is that it seems long and cut into large chunks, and unlike many other types of imitation crab, it does not break into strings (there are no lines in it) or rings.

        It looks like this:

        1. Another pic. See, it is just regular imitation crab meat, but probably a Chinese brand. There are several Chinese brand I see at the local Chinese-Vietnamese super market. I can tell some brands break into strings, which I am trying to avoid. I want the solid one. The ones at the mainstream grocery store also break into rings or strings. What brand is the solid one?

          1 Reply
          1. re: luckyfatima

            I understand your conundrum. I have a long list of Chinese surimi brands that have disappointed me in the past and am still trying to find the right brand. I did once purchase a domestic product that was available at a national supermarket chain that was pretty good, though considerably more expensive than the Chinese grocer and it only came in irregular flakes, which is not how I typically eat surimi. But perhaps have you tried the "nice" brand available at the fish section of your local supermarket chain?

          2. I'm not sure about the brand, but based on the pictures it looks like kani fumi kamaboko (you could also search surimi or kanikama).