Kanikama is a popular option in kosher sushi cuisine here in Toronto. Many restaurants, including ours, use it as a substitute for crab meat in the ever-popular California rolls, one of our best-selling items.
Kanikama is also known as “crab sticks” in many places, though it cannot be marketed in many places as such due to the fact that there is no crab in the product. That said, it is an exceptionally well-made substitute. In fact, many of those who eat it in their sushi meals find it indistinguishable from actual crab meat.
It is produced to imitate the shape and texture either of snow crab or Japanese spider crab legs. Artificial color, either red or yellowish-red, is added to make the appearance more authentic. Not only does this make it more suitable for inclusion in sushi rolls, but it also helps diners feel as though they are getting the authentic experience of indulging in crab even when they are not doing so.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that kanikama was introduced into the market, but it has become popular in kosher sushi and among vegetarians due to the fact that it maintains the flavor but doesn’t involve the ethical questions of true crab meat. In some cases, it can be eaten similarly to string cheese, as consumers can tear strings of it from the stick itself.
Crab meat is among the favorite foods of seafood lovers, but it is prohibited under the laws of kashrut. Kanikama offers those who adhere to kosher diets the opportunity to enjoy an excellent imitation of this popular type of seafood.
If you would like to have some of this kosher sushi for yourself, come on in and give it a try. If you are planning an event in Toronto and want to make sure that you have kosher food available, give us a call and we would be happy to provide exactly what you need.