How do you feel about surimi?

Surimi, you probably know, is a fish paste that is often flavoured and used to make items such as artificial crab or lobster flakes or chunks. It somewhat mimics the taste and texture of the original, is less nutritious, is still low in calories and somewhat nutritious and is inexpensive.

How do you feel about it? Do you ever buy it for snacks, or to use in cooking? Are there reasons you would not do so?

As this is a food-related thread, I’m moving it from IMHO to Cafe Society.

Yes, I do, on a quasi-regular basis.

Surimi as fake crab sticks can be tasty enough, and I make “sushi cigar rolls” (conventional sushi rolls but I don’t bother slicing them) with a spicy, Sriracha-based sauce. It’s sort of my go-to thing to eat if I don’t know what else I want to make.

If I have more surimi sticks than rice, I’ve made the left overs into “crab” sandwich spread with mayonnaise and green onions.

I feel like it’s probably more ecologically sound than proper crab, though I have no evidence to back this up whatsoever, and I’ve never looked.

Yes, though many versions contain wheat and all I’ve ever found as krab add sugar.

All add sugar for both flavour and to stabilize the texture. All also add starch.

I usually avoid it. I grew up on fresh seafood and have no interest in processed imitators.

I love it, it’s obviously not crab but it’s its own thing and it’s delicious for that. Having said that, I’ve never cooked with it at home so I decided to check if my local large grocery sells it. They have a small pack but it costs more by weight than fresh salmon or tuna filets so, at that price, what’s the point?

Is it anything similar to Japanese fishcake? I eat that quite a lot as an ingredient in various hotpot type dishes; it’s a little rubbery and doesn’t have a lot of flavor by itself, but I thought it was nutritious enough, and it’s not actually vile or anything. I don’t think they add sugar to it.

Same here. I never buy it, but don’t object to it as long as it’s not being passed off as actual crab.

Similar. In Japan it is very commonplace, and also is sometimes flavoured like eel (unagi) or made into sausage.

I like to snack on it. I am beginning to consider cooking with it. I have never ordered it in a restaurant (unless it was a part of some California roll, which is likely), except oerhaps as part of a seafood sub at Mr. Submarine. I would be mad if real crab was passed off as the imitation stuff.

It’s the basis of both major traditional Japanese fishcake recipes: chikuwa and kamoboko. IMHO, these are the only acceptable uses for surimi.

ETA: Although I haven’t eaten it very often, jakoten would also be a fine use for surimi.

I can go for a California roll now and then, though I’d rather have the ones that have real fish draped over the top of the roll (rainbow rolls, for instance).

As a snack, I prefer Krab over Crab. I’ve tried using Krab in cooking, but my Krab Cakes turned out horrible.

Pretty much this. I use the Old Bay crab cake recipe with chopped up fake crab, and it’s not bad. Kinda like turkey bacon vs. pig bacon - as long as you’re not expecting it to be exactly the same, you may find you like it for what it is. I’m pretty sure I’ve got a pack in my freezer right now. (Actually, both fake crab and turkey bacon…)

Yeah the Japanese brands are so much better than any brand with a lot of English on it. American brands are like mush.

Osaki is my personal favorite brand. Chewy texture and fishy, seawater-y taste. Most Americans would probably hate it.

When I was young, my mom was trying out some fad diet that involved (among other things) eating fish a certain number of days per week. She’s not a big fish-eater, aside from tuna, and she was getting tired of that, so she picked up some fake crab legs and lobster tails for variety.

Those things were absolutely vile. As in, even the cats wouldn’t eat them. Now, it’s probably just that particular brand that was bad, or maybe a bad batch of them, but it’s completely soured me on the concept.

I like surimi, having only purchased/eaten it in Asia and now a Japanese brand in Hawai’i. Maybe the American stuff is of lower quality, but I think the Asian stuff is fine. I don’t buy it often since I only use it for making sushi, which isn’t something I do much. Leftovers go into quiche or added to grilled cheese sandwiches; that’s about the extent of my surimi usage.

I’ve read that it’s made with pollock and from an environmental standpoint it’s better to eat pollock than most of the fish we consume. But I don’t know how true that is.

I mean, I like surimi with a dash of sesame oil and a glug of mirin. It’s just not particularly on diet.

I chopped some into a salad like I would with canned fish (celery, mayo, mustard, whatever seasoning I grab) and decided I like it better in sushi. I’ll stick with sardines for the fish salad.

I like the texture of fish cakes.