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Confession, I love surimi, who else does?

zackly May 1, 2014 01:54 PM

I love this stuff right out of the package eaten as is or maybe a little hot sauce or cocktail sauce. I know surimi production is a high art form in Japan.There isn't a lot of carbs in it but there are a lot of ingredients which I'm sure turns off many.. Sure, I'd prefer king crab, snow crab, dungeness or blue crab but for the price the fake stuff is pretty tasty.Anyone else share my love.

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  1. c
    ChervilGeorge RE: zackly May 1, 2014 03:08 PM

    I'm with you! I love surimi when it's good. I've had a few brands that have been terrible but I don't remember what they were.

    I like to make a seafood salad with it or California rolls (as much as I love fresh crab, I prefer my California roll with surimi). I've added it to seafood enchiladas on occasion with success, added it to udon. And I love, love, love it dipped in cocktail sauce that's ice cold.

    Do you have favourite brands?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ChervilGeorge
      hill food RE: ChervilGeorge May 4, 2014 03:14 PM

      I've made California rolls with fresh Dungeness I cracked myself and I've made them with surimi, the real crab just kinda got lost in the roll and I should have just had cracked crab by itself. I like surimi for what it is as long it's identified as such.

      1. re: ChervilGeorge
        zackly RE: ChervilGeorge May 4, 2014 03:39 PM

        Well honestly I generally buy the one of two brands on sale @ Shoprite here in CT. I think one might be Louis Kemp. I haven't seen Sea Legs Supreme recently, which used to be the best and maybe first brand available, it is sold wholesale but I don't know if they pack retail sizes anymore. Did you know that when they first brought surimi to market in the US it contained real crabmeat because the marketing people felt it wouldn't be accepted otherwise. The crab got "lost" in the mix and once it became popular it was removed.

      2. r
        rochfood RE: zackly May 1, 2014 03:25 PM

        Just had a sandwich today. Mixed up some w mayo, sweet relish, hot sauce, and dash of Dijon.
        I actually enjoy it most on that white soft "Italian " bread.

        Sometimes like to mix it with scrambled eggs or just eat w cocktail sauce.

        1. greygarious RE: zackly May 1, 2014 04:30 PM

          A since-closed Chinese buffet in my town used to have surimi that was, I think, mixed with cream cheese and possibly some mayo, then baked or broiled - the top and edges were crusty and golden brown. It was trashy but I loved it. I tried to duplicate it once but failed. I am a recent convert to sriracha and have been thinking about another attempt, including some of the crimson condiment.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greygarious
            EWSflash RE: greygarious May 4, 2014 08:20 PM

            Sounds like something that would be served in a clamshell and be very tasty to me

          2. 512window RE: zackly May 1, 2014 04:41 PM

            Me too. I eat it straight.

            1. Veggo RE: zackly May 1, 2014 04:44 PM

              No way.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Veggo
                jumpingmonk RE: Veggo May 1, 2014 05:17 PM

                Straight surimi is one of my all time favorite "go to" snacks. It's tasty, quick and fairly easy on my stomach (handy when't I've eaten something that disagreed with me earlier in the day and my stomach has gotten to the "I don't want anything put in me ever again" state.
                Sometimes I add it to a stir fry or to top a salad, but usually I eat it as is. I have also once or twice used it to make an ersatz version of a "crabby melt" (basically, a tuna melt, but with crab) Though in that case I do do something slightly odd I usually unroll the surimi first (I tend to get the Louis Kemp version which is one of the ones where the sticks are actually sheets rolled up like a jellyroll) it sits on the bread easier that way (plus, it warms quicker and makes an easier to bite sandwich (with less likelyhood of the innards all rolling out after the first bite, which they sometimes do with the sticks.)

              2. Will Owen RE: zackly May 1, 2014 05:32 PM

                I don't care for it right out of the package, but I've made ridiculously good seafood enchiladas with a combination of surimi and thawed precooked shrimp. I just adapted my recipe for chicken enchiladas Suizas and thought it'd probably turn out okay, so in my usual reckless fashion I cooked it for company. Lucked out again!

                1. j
                  Judyluvs RE: zackly May 1, 2014 06:12 PM

                  If it's in the budget I'll use real seafood but will still add the surimi as a cheap seafood filler when I make stuffed flounder. Cheese sauce hides a lot of sins.

                  1. PHREDDY RE: zackly May 1, 2014 07:18 PM

                    I have used it with chopped onion, celery, mayo salt & pepper on a sandwich....It is OK, but prefer the real deal..
                    A friend of mine made a soup with yucca, zucchini, onion, vegetable broth, some angel hair pasta and surimi......yuk!

                    1. Tripeler RE: zackly May 1, 2014 07:56 PM

                      I live in Tokyo, and we just got some new type of surimi that impersonates fresh scallops. They are surprisingly good, and have a distinct scallop flavor. Better yet, they cost a fraction of real scallops. I am now thinking of different ways to use them. Chopped up and stuffed into an avocado half comes to mind. Anyway, I would never think it could be a scallop substitute, but as surimi it is pretty darn good!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Tripeler
                        zackly RE: Tripeler May 3, 2014 07:41 AM

                        I used to import surimi sticks from Korea. Sticks are different from the usual supermarket stuff because of their construction. The sticks are minced while the more common type is filament. Mince sticks are generally deep fried and down't fall apart in the fryer.. Anyway, the manufacturer sent me some samples of surimi scallops that I thought were quite good especially given their price point (dirt cheap). They were at least as good as the typical Chinese take out joint that uses scallops so loaded with chemicals (primarily Sodium tripoly-phosphate)that they glow in the dark. I thought they'd be good for non-Asain fast food places that serve inexpensive fried seafood like clam strips, fish sandwiches and shrimp in the basket. The problem was how to describe them on the menu. "Imitation Scallops" I was afraid would be a turn off which is why I eventually decided not to bring them in. Later, I was talking to the owner of my local Chinese takeout restaurant about them. He said he had been using them for years. I asked him what he calls them on his menu (already knowing the answer). He looked at me with a quizzical expression like I was the village idiot and said "Scallops". I guess he never heard about the Truth in Menu laws.

                        1. re: zackly
                          jumpingmonk RE: zackly May 3, 2014 01:45 PM

                          In a slightly funny turnaround of this (as well as an example of Truth in Menu) has always written certain noodle dishes on the menu as Real Crab Mean Lo Mein/chow fun/mei fun etc. to make it clear that they are NOT using surimi (which is what most places would put in something as unfancy as basic pick-your-protein noodles.)

                        2. re: Tripeler
                          EWSflash RE: Tripeler May 4, 2014 08:21 PM

                          I'm guessing that surimi in Japan is the best you can get

                          1. re: EWSflash
                            Tripeler RE: EWSflash May 5, 2014 07:43 PM

                            I've never had surimi made outside of Japan that was much good to eat. In Japan it has a history and seems to get better every year. The latest one, surimi-scallops, was quite impressive.

                            1. re: Tripeler
                              ipsedixit RE: Tripeler May 5, 2014 07:54 PM

                              I'm waiting for surimi sashimi.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                Tripeler RE: ipsedixit May 6, 2014 06:33 PM

                                There is already a sashimi made from konyaku, and while it tastes and feels absolutely nothing like fish, it is sliced and eaten in a similar way. The dipping sauce is sweetened miso. The item itself has no calories.

                                1. re: Tripeler
                                  ipsedixit RE: Tripeler May 6, 2014 06:57 PM

                                  You could have a bowl of noodles and sashimi ... with absolutely no calories!

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    Tripeler RE: ipsedixit May 7, 2014 04:11 AM

                                    Yes, while I do enjoy the texture of konyaku products, they are really no substitute for good noodles and good fish. Actually, if they are seasoned properly, it is a great way to eat and (hopefully) lose weight.

                        3. jw615 RE: zackly May 1, 2014 08:06 PM

                          I don't really consider it to be a substitute for real crab, but I do like it for what it is, and enjoy it. An added benefit is that it is a relatively quick and easy way to add protein to my meals without too much fat.

                          I'm not sure what brand it is that I use but it took me a really long time to find a safe one for me - I'm allergic to soy protein. I keep a supply stashed in my freezer. I haven't been able to find it locally, and had to bring it in a cooler from 4 states away.

                          1. ipsedixit RE: zackly May 1, 2014 08:10 PM

                            They're great.

                            As long as you don't treat them as a substitute for crab (or other crustaceans).

                            Or even as a substitute for krab (or other krustaceans).

                            Respect surimi for what it its. Sodium-friendly Seafood Spam.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              juster RE: ipsedixit May 1, 2014 09:11 PM

                              I thought it was krab. Is that something else?

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                ajk11 RE: ipsedixit May 4, 2014 08:06 PM

                                Growing up, while all my other caucasian friends enjoyed string cheese, this was my lactose-free asian version of "string cheese" =) wrapped in thin plastic and peeled away in thin strips, it at least felt like it haha.
                                'seafood spam' is a great way to put it too!
                                the brand that i grew up with is osaki kanikama, usually in the freezer section of asian supermarkets. i've never really tried other brands, but you can't go wrong with this one

                                1. re: ajk11
                                  ipsedixit RE: ajk11 May 4, 2014 08:22 PM

                                  this was my lactose-free asian version of "string cheese"

                                  Mine was dried cuttlefish.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    ajk11 RE: ipsedixit May 5, 2014 07:33 PM

                                    love cuttlefish too. screw m&ms + popcorn at the movies, dried cuttlefish + peanuts + roasted seaweed is what my family snacked on. probably would have freaked out the people next to us if they actually saw what we were eating!

                                    1. re: ajk11
                                      ipsedixit RE: ajk11 May 5, 2014 07:55 PM

                                      Yeah, midnight munchies during sleep-overs at my house as a youngster was, um, a bit awkward.

                                    2. re: ipsedixit
                                      EWSflash RE: ipsedixit May 5, 2014 08:10 PM

                                      Oh lord, I can chow down a bunch of that, and then have a wrestling match with the dental floss and after that nobody in the house will have anything to do with me because I smell like shredded dried cuttlefish- exept for the dog, who becomes fascinated with me all of a sudden

                                      1. re: EWSflash
                                        ipsedixit RE: EWSflash May 5, 2014 08:14 PM


                                        You mean to tell me that cuttlefish doesn't also do double-duty as dental floss.

                                        All this time I've been misinformed.

                                        No wonder Obamacare refuses to cover my dental bills.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit
                                    chowser RE: ipsedixit May 6, 2014 01:27 PM

                                    Exactly. I lived off of it in grad school in bowls of dried ramen or udon. Fish balls, shrimp balls, various shapes like cylinders (I love the half moon one that was white w/ pink around the curve). Topped w/ an egg.

                                    1. re: chowser
                                      ipsedixit RE: chowser May 6, 2014 04:27 PM

                                      In many ways I feel surimi suffers from the same perception problem that tofu has.

                                      "What the fuck! This tofu tastes nothing like my steak!"

                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                        chowser RE: ipsedixit May 6, 2014 04:37 PM

                                        Yeah, had they called it fish spam instead of imitation crab meat, people wouldn't complain as much. It is what it is, not what American marketers pretend it is.

                                        1. re: chowser
                                          SWISSAIRE RE: chowser May 6, 2014 06:53 PM

                                          And unfortunately not what Sushi-ya and other Asian restaurants charge for. Most charge the customer as though it were the real item.

                                          Not actual sea life, but a fish-like food substitute.

                                          I call it " Soylent seafood. "

                                          I'm sure with a thick dab of Wasabi, it could turn into Soylent Green.

                                          1. re: SWISSAIRE
                                            chowser RE: SWISSAIRE May 6, 2014 07:15 PM

                                            I can't remember the last time I ate at an Asian restaurant that serves surimi as crab. Hot dogs, sausages, bologna, mortadella, etc. Every culture has a way of using parts that people don't want to eat as is. They don't contain humans so none of that is soylent anything.

                                            I have never heard of sushi-ya and just looked it up. Honestly, I can't imagine expecting anything other than fake crab at a place like that.

                                            1. re: chowser
                                              SWISSAIRE RE: chowser May 6, 2014 11:22 PM

                                              My apologies.

                                              Sushi-ya is Japanese, and commonly refers to restaurants small or large that specialize in sushi. Sometimes also referred to as a Sushi Bar.

                                              Udon-ya = Udon or large wheat noodle restaurants.

                                              And so on.

                                  3. kitchengardengal RE: zackly May 1, 2014 09:30 PM

                                    Ok, everyone's going to think this is heresy on top of heresy. My mother used to make this curry dish with real crab, but I use surimi.
                                    Mince some onion in butter, add a can of cream of mushroom soup and a tsp to a tbs of curry powder, and some water or milk. Cook on low for a little bit. When it's hot, add a package or two of surimi, stir around to break up the surimi. Serve over rice. I don't make it as often as I'd like, and I know I have a package of surimi in the freezer. This may be tomorrow's dinner.

                                    1. Teague RE: zackly May 1, 2014 11:11 PM

                                      I like surimi. I grew up with it, and honestly, a "crab" louis salad just doesn't seem good to me unless it's on there. And I swear, I've evolved, Mom used canned asparagus and I know better now. But surimi fake crab, mmm. I do live in the midwest, and the actual crustaceans available are not normally the best.

                                      1. SWISSAIRE RE: zackly May 1, 2014 11:40 PM


                                        Saw it made years ago in Hokkaido, Japan on a scholarship at Waseda University. The process was somewhat secretive then, with the main problem being binding agents, off-odors, and moisture retention. Today it is manufactured throughout Asia and even in the Baltic regions under various names.

                                        I respect the intent to provide a cheaper source of sea-like food ( Mariculture or Aquaculture ) for a larger group of people world-wide, using scraps and lesser fish sources. But since that day, my choice is to limit it when I can. I draw the line with Kamaboku, and in limited amounts.

                                        The Seafood Spam mentioned above is an accurate but somewhat understated description, especially when it comes to additives. The problem is that even at good Sushi-ya, it is being sold at a high price, as though it is the real seafood species itself.

                                        1. k
                                          kseiverd RE: zackly May 3, 2014 05:38 AM

                                          Can't say I LOVE the stuff, but more like LIKE it from time to time. Like it in a seafood salad with lemon-based dressing.

                                          1. f
                                            ferret RE: zackly May 4, 2014 10:55 AM

                                            While I can't say I "love" it, the only sandwich at Subway that appealed to me was their "seafood" blend (more than 1 type of surimi?). However, it's now gone.

                                            1. s
                                              Steve RE: zackly May 4, 2014 12:11 PM

                                              There is a product of surimi that is formed into thin strings to replicate baby eels. That is a damn good product cooked in a clay pot with garlic and olive oil.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Steve
                                                Veggo RE: Steve May 4, 2014 01:03 PM

                                                And a good value, considering that a 4 oz. tin of angulas is now $74! I have one tin left for a special occasion that I bought when they were 'only' $69.

                                              2. Kris in Beijing RE: zackly May 4, 2014 02:52 PM

                                                Straight out of the pack, standing in front of the fridge, at 2 a.m. when what I was really after was a glass of water.

                                                And for some reason, I just realized that I always store it in the cheese tray.

                                                1. EWSflash RE: zackly May 4, 2014 08:19 PM

                                                  I don't love it, but I don't hate it, I like it as an alternative to fresh seafood in Arizona. Actually, I accept it as a good thing all by itself. Americans tend to see it as a hissing and a byword, a bastardization of real seafood, but then they'll gobble down hot dogs and tofurkey and all sorts of other stuff. Can't we all just get along?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: EWSflash
                                                    JTPhilly RE: EWSflash May 6, 2014 12:10 PM

                                                    it definitely fairs better in the hot dog camp than the seafood camp - had it for the first time in a long time today - meh it was ok on a salad

                                                  2. p
                                                    pickledtink RE: zackly May 5, 2014 07:59 PM

                                                    Glad I am not the only one! I love surimi. To me it has a very distinct taste from that of any kind of crab. Although the ingredient list doesn't bear thinking about too hard, I still enjoy it. I don't know if I'd order it specifically at a restaurant, I kind of prefer it with cocktail sauce at my house!

                                                    1. c
                                                      cgarner RE: zackly May 6, 2014 09:27 AM

                                                      I love it straight out of the package
                                                      My husband’s family does a mini-quiche type thing with surimi, shredded Emmenthaler, eggs, spinach dill and minced onion, baked in Pillsbury crescent dough in mini muffin tins, it’s delish!

                                                      1. z
                                                        zackly RE: zackly May 6, 2014 11:12 AM

                                                        Fast lunch today; surimi, siracha ,1/2 avocado, Kalamata olives& cottage cheese. 3 minutes prep time. Nutritious & delicious!

                                                        1. mcf RE: zackly May 6, 2014 11:22 AM


                                                          1. c
                                                            ChervilGeorge RE: zackly May 6, 2014 01:04 PM

                                                            Does anyone have any info on a brand of surimi that has the scallop type of flavour/texture? Are any available in the US?

                                                            I've seen it mentioned a few times on the site. A google search didn't turn up anything worthwhile. Does it have a specific name like "krab" or "sea legs"?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: ChervilGeorge
                                                              zackly RE: ChervilGeorge May 6, 2014 07:29 PM

                                                              I've never seen them in a retail store but I would contact Trident Seafood in Seattle http://www.tridentseafoods.com/
                                                              They own the Louis Kemp retail brand and are a big player in the surimi business. Also, if you have an Asian supermarket or wholesale distributor nearby they probably would sell you some.

                                                            2. a
                                                              ajk11 RE: zackly May 6, 2014 06:28 PM

                                                              all this talk about surimi had me make some old favorites with my cousin: a korean style egg potato salad banchan (potatoes, pickled cucumber, steamed carrots, fuji apples, green onions, chopped surimi, mayo), some butter basted and roasted dried cuttlefish (a must try for all those who like dried cuttlefish), and kimichi of course. if only we had an ice cold beer, it would have been perfect

                                                              1. bagelman01 RE: zackly May 7, 2014 04:01 AM

                                                                ME Too....

                                                                1. PHREDDY RE: zackly May 8, 2014 06:14 AM

                                                                  I was at the market yesterday (in NYC) and saw the Louis Kemp brand of Flaked surimi, 12 oz for $2.99. I just had to buy one. Had some with some garlic chili paste and ketchup ,mixed as a spicy dipping sauce, with a glass of Pinot Grigio, just before diner....Just saying!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: PHREDDY
                                                                    zackly RE: PHREDDY May 10, 2014 10:17 AM

                                                                    and you were Living Large!

                                                                    1. re: zackly
                                                                      PHREDDY RE: zackly May 11, 2014 06:58 AM

                                                                      I just went back to the market with the one dollar off coupon that came in the previous package, and now picked up another package for $1.99...

                                                                  2. j
                                                                    joonjoon RE: zackly May 10, 2014 09:09 AM

                                                                    I have fond memories of eating surimi growing up. It's like the seafood polly o.

                                                                    1. l
                                                                      lastZZ RE: zackly May 11, 2014 01:07 PM

                                                                      This is why you like, it tastes good>>> It has sugar and MSG in it plus the umami taste from Anchovy, Sardine.>>>>>

                                                                      Here is the ingredient list for a fake crab product called Trans Ocean Crab Classic:

                                                                      Alaska Pollock, Water, Egg Whites, Wheat Starch, Sugar, Corn Starch, Sorbitol, Contains 2% or Less of the Following: King Crab Meat, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Extracts of Crab, Oyster, Scallop, Lobster and Fish (Salmon, Anchovy, Bonito, Cutlassfish), Refined Fish Oil (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat) (Anchovy, Sardine), Rice Wine (Rice, Water, Koji, Yeast, Salt), Sea Salt, Modified Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Yam Flour, Hydrolyzed Soy, Corn, and Wheat Proteins, Potassium Chloride, Disodium Inosinate and Guanylate, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Carmine, Paprika.

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