What's the Deal With Fake Crab?

You've probably tasted imitation crab (called "crab with a k") in a California roll or crab dip, but you may not know how it was created, how it's prepared, or what else you can do with it. For your convenience, we have all that information and more.

"Imitation crab is made of white fish, starch and other ingredients to create the texture and taste of crab meat," he says.

A 2007 Oregon State article reported that Japanese cooks have made surimi for centuries by mixing leftover fish filets with salt to make "fish gel" to preserve the harvest.

"The common perception of imitation crab is that it is an artificial product because of the term 'imitation,'" explains Silverstein, yet it is manufactured with fish.

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"The fish used in imitation crab are white fish such as pollock, cod or haddock, which are some of the most commonly consumed fish on the market."

She adds that imitation crab's starch is wheat, but each brand has a different combination of components, with some having actual crab flesh and flavoring, so if you have crab allergies, avoid it.

"Imitation crab looks and cooks just like crab meat, but its texture is slightly different, often smoother and denser than actual crab meat," Silverstein.