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Does crab rangoon have any real crab in it?

  • Jpan99 Jul 20, 2012 01:44 PM

I've tried many a crab rangoon and basically what's not to like about fried dough with cheese filling. But aside form the somewhat savory taste of the filling and the occasional red speck in the pure white filling, is there really any crab in the crab rangoon?

I've checked recipes online that have 8 ounces of cream cheese mixed with 8 ounces of crab meat. I seriously doubt my local Chinese restaurants use that much crab, if any at all. I guess I think the red flecks are crab flavored seasoning or something. Maybe it's one of those Americanized Chinese food items like lobster sauce that is usually served with shrimp and has no lobster in it. Or maybe the filling is just pureed so smoothly that you don't detect the crab?

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  1. I've had it with real crab...it's definitely much better than krab.

    1. You are more than likely right that your restaurants are not using real crab and certainly not on a 1:1 ratio. It's more than likely Surimi, known here as "crab with a K," and some seafood seasoning. It sounds like you're talking about the basic cutout Cantonese/.Mandarin places; is there anything higher-end or more refined where you are? The problem with that being....they probably will not be serving Rangoon'd anything. You might have better luck if there's a local place w/ a Tiki theme.

      1. My tastes these days run to more authentic Szechuan-type places where "Crab Rangoon" isn't on the menu, but even when I'm visiting a favorite local Americanized take-out place, I never order "Crab (or even "Krab") Rangoon" anymore. It's never been anything but severely disappointing. Now when I make it myself, that's another story. . . .

        (Oh, & surimi (aka "fake" crab) works just fine in Rangoon. Just don't try to pass it off to guests as real crab - enjoy it for what it is. :) )

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bacardi1

          I'd say it depends on the resturuant. Around me, an awful lot of the little holes in the wall don;t make thier own rangoons at all, they simply pull them pre made and frozen out of a box (I've seen them do it) Almost all of those are almost assuredly "Krab", Of the one's where I know they do make thier own (either because I've seen it, or else becuse there is some distictive mark that they are not mass market pre frozen such as being a seriosly different shape.....well some do, some don't. One place I order from (whose rangoons look like beggars purses) may use real crab, though it's a little hard to tell, as the amount of cream cheese and scallions they use sort of makes it hard to detect the crab period (if you want to know why I am so fond of a rangoon where I can't really taste the crab, it's becuse of what else I DEFINITELY cant taste; the sugar) Then again, they make a big farrago about offering "real crabmeat" options on things like the lo mein, so the certinaly have real crab available, whatever crab is in there may be real.
          There is another place I know of that also makes their in house Ive seen them do it there. They defintely use real crab, and probably do use the amounts of the recipe, as the filling has so much crab in it it's virtually solid (there also the only place I know of that doesn't use that bright yellow dough for the wrapper, they use an ordinary frying wonton skin which the fold sideways then over, so that an order looks like a pile of gigantic fried tortellini.) It actually a very different experiance, a rangoon with so much crab you cant taste the cream cheese. Then there was the place that, in an effort to be different instead of offering a crab rangoon, offered one with smoked salmon...........

        2. I'll confess to actually making crab Rangoon, and when I do I am only partially ashamed to admit using "krab." it tastes like the crab Rangoon from the few American-Chinese takeout places I will order from.

          I've never made it with actual crab meat because I almost always make crab cakes when I pick that up. No reason to drown real crab in cream cheese.

          4 Replies
          1. re: MonMauler

            I agree with you, & there's absolutely NO REASON to feel ashamed for using surimi (fake crab) in anything - especially a snack like this. Like I said before, while I take exception to people trying to pass surimi off as real crab to guests or restaurant patrons, taken for exactly what it is, it's quite nice in many dishes.

            1. re: Bacardi1

              I would go so far as to say that, in many dishes "krab" is the BETTER choice. real crab meat (especially some of the canned forms) has a much lighter, more subtle flavor, that can easily be overwhelmed in recipies rich in strong flavors.

              1. re: jumpingmonk

                This is exactly my thought? My filling for crab rangoon incorporates sharp cheddar, soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions and garlic salt before deep frying. Those strong flavors are going to overwhelm real crab. Surimi, however, holds up perfectly and adds a nice sweetness to what is otherwise a salt and fat bomb.

                1. re: jumpingmonk

                  Exactly!

            2. Just out of curiousity, has anyone here tried one of the "baked" Crab (or Krab) Rangoon recipes out there? Where you push wonton wrappers into greased muffin pans, add the filling & bake them instead of the traditional deep-frying method? It's on my "to-cook" list, but was just wondering if anyone else had tried them yet & how you liked them (or not).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Bacardi1

                I've used those puff pastry cups, filled them with grab cream cheese/eggs, baked. I like them better than rangoons.

              2. Does this dish even have Chinese roots? Apart from the use of wonton skins? Cream cheese? the name of a Burmese city?

                The first (and maybe only) place I had them was at a Vietnamese restaurant in Indiana - 2 decades ago. I don't recall seeing it on Chinese menus before that.

                If there is a case for using the imitation stuff, this is it. The cream cheese will mask the subtitle flavors of real crab.

                As for the shrimp dish, it is shrimp in lobster (style) sauce. The first time I had it, long long ago, I learned that the sauce is in the style of one used with lobster, not one made with lobster. It rarely makes sense to interpret Chinese, and Chinese-American, dish names literally. There's a lot of imagination and allusion in the names.

                But that sort of thing isn't limited to Chinese names. There's no dog in a hotdog, or ham in a hamburger.

                3 Replies
                1. re: paulj

                  Crab Rangoon is American as apple pie, paulj. It was invented by Trader Vic.

                  1. re: knucklesandwich

                    That's hilarious along with other 50s stabs at exotic food. How about Rumaki? I remember eating 50s housewife style sukiyaki at friends houses.

                  2. re: paulj

                    Does it really make a difference if it's delicious & you enjoy it?

                  3. My neighborhood Jaspanese/Chinese place has them on the menu as 'cheese wonton' presumably because they are krab and not crab, and the restaurant doesn't want to be out of compliance with Florida's seafood labeling law. (krab instead of crab is actually one of the more common state violation findings in the reports I've seen.)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: beachmouse

                      (that and "grouper" rather than "whatever cheap white fish we could get ahold of today")

                    2. The menu prices at most small corner Chinese takeouts probably wouldn't support using real crab. I have made them with both real crab & Surimi. IMHO, the Surimi's flavor holds up better and its about a 5th of the cost of the lowest grade lump.

                      I wonder how the cheaper, stronger tasting claw meat would work for something like this? Can usually get that for under $7.00 LB.