I first saw the term “imitation crab meat” while eating a serving of instant cup noodles. It was a NISSIN Cup Noodles Seafood. Maybe relative products of different brands also used the same imitation crab It was just a coincidence that I first noticed it on NISSIN product.
What puzzled me was the word “imitation”. It is synonymous to – fake, artificial and copycat. With the help of science, we are able to create artificial and nature identical flavors. We are able to extend and or completely replaced real meat with textured vegetable protein (TVP) and soya. Create dangerous milk counterpart with melamine. Produce an edible and carefully hand-crafted eggs. Produce artificial soy sauce and vinegar. So, creating imitation crab meat is not somewhere near to impossibility.
So why create an imitation crab meat even if we know that real counterparts are available and exceptionally delectable?
The first reason is the price and the second is the exceptionally delectable taste. Here, the alimango runs from 200 to 600 pesos per kilo depending on season and place of purchase. The smaller and more available specie alimasag has an average cost of 200 pesos. Then, if we consider the average meat we can harvest from every crab, the bulk of weight are shells. You may consider venturing into calcium powder processing to convert those waste to cash.
Delicious crab flavor creates demand. The price is obviously not affordable. There’s a gap in supply chain. Producing imitation crab is a cheat way to fill in the gap.
Based on www… imitation crab is made of fish, specifically blue grenadier and alaska pollock. The alternatives are deboned, ground, mixed with flavors, extruded and painted with crab meat like color.
You might think that the term “seafood” included in package label is misleading. It is not however. Seafood may refer to all edible creatures within sea.
The “Kani” which the Tokyo Tokyo restaurant waiter told was made of crab meat might be made of imitation crab meat. Perhaps, since it never satisfied my taste expectations.