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FeChef

Difference between surimi and imitation seafood flakes/legs

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I realize surimi is just the japanese word for ground meat. But its the only name i have to go by in reference to a type of imitation seafood product be it crab/lobster/shrimp flavor that has a totally different texture then the standard stuff you buy in flake or leg form. The texture i am referring to is soft but firm, and chewy. You might know what i am talking about if you have ever had seafood stir frys at chinese takeout restaurants. They usually include shrimp, scallop, imitation seafood, and usually one piece of lobster (lol) along with mixed chinese vegetables.

Anyway, i never could find imitation seafood with this texture and just assumed it was a cooking method until now. The only problem is the source of the imitation seafood (listed as surimi) comes with an assortment of other seafood items such as shrimp, mussels,octopus,and squid, and is not ideal if just wanting the imitation seafood. The source comes from (of all places) Walmarts great value brand frozen seafood mix. It comes in 1lb bags for about $5 a bag which is cheap, but there is not much imitation seafood in the mix. I am sure it varies from bag to bag. As far i  could tell, they dont sell just the frozen imitation seafood in a bag.

 

I made this thread in hopes someone knows more about this then i was able to research on google.

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This is what I usually buy. It is "meaty" as noted, not flaky or shredded. 

 

Kroger Imitation Crab Meat Chunk Style Crab Select, Bag

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Upon further inspection, i noticed something. The legs, flake, and even chunk as mentioned above (although i have not tried that brand as we don't have a Kroger) all seem to have "layers" while this product thats comes in this walmart great value mix looks to be similar to the leg style (round but cut into 1 inch pieces) but solid, not layers. I believe this is responsible for the firm chewy texture (like an al dente ramen noodle) where the layered product is more "spongy/bouncy" and is not very good served hot in a cooked dish.

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It might just be a brand issue. lous kemp and trans ocean are the two available brands carried in my local grocery stores. They both seem to be the same layered product just made into different shapes. I will have to keep a better eye out for other brands.

 

Thanks for the link, at least now i have another item to look for at my local asian market. I believe the woman that owns it is chinese which i dont speak, and her english is limited so asking for a specific type of surimi is challenging.


Edited by FeChef (log)

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Can you  source this Kroger Brand? I have checked every grocery in a 15 mile radious, all sell brands that use layered surimi. Even the asian market only sells surimi that is layered. Do i need to ask for a different product? I don't want to buy a whole bunch of products like fish balls, fish cakes or whatever. But nothing besides these seafood mixes at walmart have this solid surimi. This is fustrating to say the least.

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I was thinking, would it be possible to buy this layered surimi ( on sale of course) put it in a food processor and turn it back into a paste, then form it back into a solid? I don't know much about the process, and i really dont want to attempt it with raw fish as it would be way to expensive in my neck of the woods. Maybe meat glue? Or another binder? 


Edited by FeChef (log)

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On 1/10/2020 at 5:22 AM, FeChef said:

I was thinking, would it be possible to buy this layered surimi ( on sale of course) put it in a food processor and turn it back into a paste, then form it back into a solid? I don't know much about the process, and i really dont want to attempt it with raw fish as it would be way to expensive in my neck of the woods. Maybe meat glue? Or another binder? 

 


I don’t think this would give you the right texture. It would be mealy, as the individual ground piece would still be recognisable (unless you really use a lot of egg and starch to homogenise, but then it won’t have a meat-like texture anymore).

You can start the process easily from frozen fish. That should be possible to source at a decent price. Or check for squid or shrimp. 
Please also check out this thread:

 

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Agreed  - that self help idea = disaster. There is much food science by the producers. I think sourcing is the issue. Next time I buy it I will do a better side view . Some producers are trying to mimic the "shred/flake" of real crab. What I get has a real "chew:. Onward 

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I'm not sure from your description what you're talking about, but it does make me think of the stuff called naruto ("fish cake") that turns up in ramen bowls.  My Asian grocery has a whole freezer devoted fish cakes of this style (as opposed to breaded patties that look like Baltimore crab cakes) and fish balls...  I'd wager what you're looking for would be in there.  


Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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2 hours ago, cdh said:

I'm not sure from your description what you're talking about, but it does make me think of the stuff called naruto ("fish cake") that turns up in ramen bowls.  My Asian grocery has a whole freezer devoted fish cakes of this style (as opposed to breaded patties that look like Baltimore crab cakes) and fish balls...  I'd wager what you're looking for would be in there.  

Yeah all i could find at my local asian market is the pink loaf on a wooden plank. I didn't buy it because it was a bit expensive and im not sure if it would have the same taste as imitation crab legs. I was hoping they had solid imitation crab legs but the ones they had were the same layered product that shreds easily for making sushi like spicy crab rolls and such.

 

@heidih I am not saying you are mistaken, but i have checked EVERY grocery in my area and all 5 or 6 brands no matter if its flake, chunk, leg, crab, lobster, they all are layered. It can be hard to tell because the vacuum packages make it hard to move the pieces around, but i was able to confirm they all had layers. Unfortunitely the closest Kroger is over 450 miles away, lol.

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I think that "they" think the layering make it more like crab which is flaky.and shredable.  Just like the goofy pink coloring to mimic real crab. The roll on the plank - not what you want. Next time I buy some I will do a close up and make sure it is not just very compacted layers. Don't want to mislead you. 

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On 1/11/2020 at 1:22 AM, Duvel said:

You can start the process easily from frozen fish. That should be possible to source at a decent price. Or check for squid or shrimp. 

This might be doable. I can get frozen raw shrimp, and squid for less then $4lb, Possibly some frozen fish as well. I will have to go price hunting though, fish like pollock and haddock cost over $8.99lb frozen in my area. Its crazy, i hated how my mom baked those types of fish when i was a kid, it was dirt cheap back then, i can't believe i can buy even just farm raised salmon for that price now, which is 10x better in every way.

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OK got some. It is NOT layered. Top left shows a chunk pulled apart - almost looks flaky.

 

IMG_1181.JPG

IMG_1182.JPG


Edited by heidih (log)
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On 1/21/2020 at 4:31 PM, heidih said:

OK got some. It is NOT layered. Top left shows a chunk pulled apart - almost looks flaky.

 

IMG_1181.JPG

IMG_1182.JPG

 

You are right, it is definitely not layers. Although it doesnt look to be completely solid. I suppose they dont turn it into completely paste maybe for texture reasons. Its worth a shot if i could only find that brand locally. Can you take a picture of the back of the package, maybe they list who produces it for Kroger?

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OK just because I respect eG curiosity I got another pack. Distributed by Kroger out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Asking the local restaurant  often flatters them  - give it a go :)  

IMG_1191.JPG

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