Crab sticks are a type of processed sea food made of surimi, or finely pulverized white fish flesh, that has been shaped and cured to resemble snow crab legs. The individual pieces are usually colored red or yellowish red, and rectangular-oblong in shape, and small strings of the crab sticks can be neatly pulled and torn out in a similar manner to string cheese. The smell of crab sticks is similar to sea-food products. The texture is rubbery, and the taste is slightly salty. Crab sticks are cooked during the curing process and can be eaten directly from the package. Contrary to popular belief, crab sticks do not actually contain any crab, and since 1993 manufacturers have been legally obliged to label them “crab flavored sticks”. The primary ingredient in most crab stick is Alaska Pollock from the North Pacific.
A sushi roll made with crab sticks, avocado, and cucumber (sometimes) rolled with sesame seeds on the outside, is a California roll. Crab sticks are also often used in seafood salads as a cheaper substitute for real crab meat. Quality imitation crab is usually lower in cholesterol than regular crab, but it is also highly processed. The taste is vaguely like steamed crab.