Trans-Ocean Seafood Snackers

By now, we’re all familiar with the Alaskan King Crab Fishing industry. One that hosts the most dangerous job in the world, resulting in a fatality rate 80 times higher than the average job. But what if we could avoid this all together? What if we could live in a world where we spare the lives of crab fishermen through an alternative to the illustrious Alaskan King Crab?  And what if that alternative could be pre-packaged into snack sized packages to be sold at Walmart for $1, a mere fraction of the cost of real crab?

Imitation crab was first introduced by Sugiyo Co., Ltd in 1973. It promised a cheaper alternative to the expensive real thing.  Primarily made with a Surimi – Japanese for ground meat – of Alaska Pollock, and combined with various binders such as egg white and corn starch to shape and form the surimi into the more crab like form.

One such company producing imitation crab is Trans-Ocean. Along with a catalog of surimi based imitation seafood products, Trans-Ocean has ventured into the snack food market with their Seafood Snackers. This snack sized take on the traditional imitation crab stick, comes in a 3oz easy peel package, convenient and ready to go for your daily snacking needs (as long as it remains refrigerated for safety).

Trans-Ocean’s Seafood snackers take a very traditional spin on the crab stick (though most companies cannot call them crab sticks due to lack of actual crab), compressing pollock surimi along with egg whites, corn starch, and other ingredients.  It does however take a step up by including a whopping 2% actual Alaskan King Crab.

The package for the Seafood Snackers was indeed easy to peel, as described on the label.  Peeling the package also had the side effect of peeling the inner lining of my stomach as the smell of week old gas station sushi emanated from the snackers.

The shape and size of the snackers reminded me of string cheese sticks. If it weren’t for the red dye coating on one side of the snackers, one may have even confused them for string cheese sticks – assuming that person had damaged the part of their brain that processes scents.

Speaking of the dye, not only was it sticky, it leached into my fingers and cutting board.

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Biting into a Seafood Snacker was much like I’d imagine attempting to chew through a non-newtonian fluid. As the force of my teeth bit through, it only got chewier and chewier, until I was certain I had a mouthful of fishwater bicycle tire.

Flavor wise, it would pair well with white wine, wasabi, and a bottle of histone deacetylase inhibitors. Or at least several more bottles of white wine.

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I’ll be honest with you… I’m generally not a seafood person. I do however enjoy sushi and the occasional fish and chips. So maybe my judgement on flavor is somewhat subjectively skewed. But really, flavor is not the worst thing here… Consistency is – this is why it’s rated higher on execution than flavor.

While the 3oz package at $1 sounds like a great deal – do yourself a favor, and try the real thing at $1.77/oz!

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  1. Amanda says:

    I'm not a connoisseur of anything seafood, especially after the few months I worked at a fish 'n chips "shoppe" (real English beer battered and deep fried cod!). I had never tried clams or oysters, so this was my opportunity. Biting into an oyster and pulling away to examine the source of slime swishing through my mouth (very like a biology book's cross section of gatropod anatomy), as I spat it out, I
    vowed never again. After that experience, in a highly acclaimed and "authentic" ol' , my deep appreciation for fake is probably one of many reasons I would be rejected as a food critique. I actually enjoy real crab legs, but i also truly find seafood snackers a quick, tasty and filling on-the-go source of fuel. 'Not to be contrary, but my palate gives a thumbs up!

  2. Derpsly says:

    I saw these and went “oh, it’s krab”. But curiosity got the best of me and I said “screw it” and bought a pack. Little would I know, the mercury seeped into my brain and I bought more.

    Mercury joke aside, it’s cheap, it’s good on protein and low calorie. Plus, it’s good for a California roll material (after all, that’s what California rolls are made of, surimi). Or chop them up, add mayo and celery, and you’ve got seafood salad. Definitely worth the cheap price

  3. Adam says:

    Trans-Ocean brand imitation crab meat is pure trash. It's just garbage. It will ruin your entire concept of what imitation crab meat could be. Try a brand called "Louis Kemp." Eaten alone, neither gets very close to actual King Crab meat, but Louis Kemp is much more appetizing, and doesn't taste like mushy rubber extruded from a machine. Other advice: If you snack on this stuff by itself, I think it's better to think of imitation crab meat as it's own kind of food - comparing *any* brand to the real thing just sets you up for disappointment. But, it you really want to use it as a stand-in for crab, some simple prep will get you real close. My recommendation: (1) start with the best brand of imitation you can find (they're all much cheaper than real crab), (2) fry it up in a pan with a bit of salt and olive oil or butter; this gets the flavors moving, makes it more savory. (2) Pan fry it briefly, and it will get juicier. Fry it longer, it starts to dry, but should crisp up just a bit - either way works, just expect it to flake apart, that's normal, (3) after cooking, fold in a teaspoon or two of mayo, then put it in wraps, sandwiches, subs, on salads, or bulk up a chowder, so that it's adding crab flavor and texture to an overall flavor profile, rather than forcing it to "pretend to be crab all alone." Standing alone, it will often fall flat. But, if you prep it as mentioned, and stuff it into something else, you get it much MUCH closer to being an inexpensive (and kinder) stand-in for real crab.

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