Surimi lobster tails: affordable but delicious seafood delicacy
Lobster tails are an expensive delicacy, and most people can only afford to enjoy them on special occasions.
Lobster has quite a bland and mild fishy flavor, so it’s easy to turn into surimi or imitation lobster.
Surimi lobster tails are a great alternative that offer a similar fishy taste and texture as lobster tails but at a fraction of the cost.
Surimi lobster tails is a type of imitation lobster that is made from whitefish. Surimi lobster tails are usually made from pollock or a mixture of white fish paste. The surimi is mixed with salt, egg whites, and flavorings to create a lobster-like filling that is shaped into a lobster tail.
The benefits of consuming surimi lobster tails include the fact that they are lower in calories and fat than traditional lobster tails.
This food is an excellent substitute for real lobster and can be used in similar ways.
Keep reading to find out how surimi lobster tails are made, the benefits of consuming them and how this food came to be!
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 What are surimi lobster tails?
- 2 What does surimi lobster tail taste like?
- 3 What fish is surimi lobster tails made of?
- 4 Origin of surimi lobster tails
- 5 How are surimi lobster tails made?
- 6 Are surimi lobster tails cooked or raw?
- 7 How to use and cook surimi lobster tails
- 8 Where to buy surimi lobster tails
- 9 Are surimi lobster tails healthy?
- 10 Similar dishes
- 11 Conclusion
What are surimi lobster tails?
Surimi is a Japanese word that refers to a type of fish paste made from white-fleshed fish.
Surimi lobster tails are made from surimi mixed with salt, egg whites, and flavorings to create a lobster-like filling that is shaped into a lobster tail.
The surimi lobster tail imitates the white flesh part of a real lobster’s tail.
Although the shape isn’t exact and looks more like a roll or log than a lobster tail, surimi lobster tails offer the same taste and texture of lobster at a fraction of the cost.
The main advantage of using surimi lobster tails for cooking is that this is a boneless food, so it makes for ideal finger food.
Even young children can eat surimi lobster tails without any risk of choking.
What does surimi lobster tail taste like?
When it comes to flavor, surimi lobster tastes like fish, whereas lobster has a more distinct and sweeter taste. As for the texture, surimi is firmer and chewier than lobster.
Overall, the flavor is rather bland with a mild fish taste. The texture is chewy but not rubbery.
It doesn’t taste as fishy as some surimi products, but it’s not as sweet as lobster, either.
But the flavor of all surimi is very similar.
What fish is surimi lobster tails made of?
It’s made of a combination of white fish, which is ground into a paste.
Here are the two types of fish usually used for the manufacturing of surimi lobster tails:
- Alaska pollock
- Pacific whiting
There’s an abundant supply of Alaska pollock, and it’s cheaper than other fish, so it’s the most commonly used type of surimi.
The surimi paste made from pollock has a mild flavor and firm texture, making it a good choice for surimi products.
While Pacific whiting surimi has a more delicate flavor, it’s often used to make surimi because it results in a moister product.
Origin of surimi lobster tails
Surimi is a Japanese word that means “minced or ground meat.”
But the origins are actually Chinese, where grinding fish into a paste was used as a method to preserve it for longer.
Then this preservation method was brought over to Japan, where surimi was used as a way to make imitation crab meat.
Japanese chefs decided to grind up leftover white fish types with salt. This created a paste and helped them preserve any extra catch from that day.
And this is how surimi was first made back in the 12th century.
Much later in the 1960s, Japanese chemists found a way to freeze and commercialize surimi paste. They stabilized the mixture and added sugar to extend its shelf life.
The chefs decided they were going to mold the surimi into different shapes like imitation crab sticks (to copy crab) and surimi lobster tails to copy expensive lobster cuts.
Thus, the surimi lobster tails that we know today were born!
Next, surimi in the shape of lobster tails began to be exported from Japan to other countries.
This was when surimi started to become more widely known and used in dishes outside of Japan.
How are surimi lobster tails made?
Surimi lobster tails are made by mixing surimi with salt, egg whites, and flavorings to create a lobster-like filling.
The whitefish paste is combined with sugar and sorbitol (a type of sugar alcohol) to give it more flavor.
This mixture is then shaped into a lobster tail and cooked in order to preserve it.
To give the cakes this lobster tail shape, the mixture is placed into a mold that gives it the lobster tail shape.
Then, the surimi lobster is boiled or steamed until cooked through. Once it is cooked, it can be eaten as is or used in other dishes.
Are surimi lobster tails cooked or raw?
Surimi lobster tails are pre-cooked, which means they only need to be reheated before eating.
Raw fish is ground up into a paste and mixed with salt, egg whites, and flavorings to create surimi. This surimi mixture is then shaped into a lobster tail and cooked by boiling.
Therefore, surimi lobster tails are not raw! This is a pre-cooked product that is then sold in the refrigerated food aisle or frozen section.
However, you can also choose to cook surimi lobster tails if you prefer.
How to use and cook surimi lobster tails
Surimi lobster tails can be used in a variety of dishes.
They can be consumed as is as finger food or appetizers and served with a cocktail sauce or other type of Asian dipping sauce.
The surimi lobster can also be cooked. When boiled, surimi lobster tails turn pink and look very similar to cooked lobster tails.
It can be baked and used in salads, soups, stews, or pasta dishes. Find a tasty basic surimi lobster tail recipe here.
You can also stuff surimi lobster tails with crabmeat or other seafood fillings.
Surimi lobster tails can be used in place of cooked lobster in stir-fries. This food can also be grilled on a hibachi BBQ or any grill.
Inventive home cooks are even air-frying the surimi lobster rolls because it gives the flesh a nice crispy texture.
Some popular dishes that feature surimi lobster tails include:
- Lobster bisque soup (substitute with surimi)
- Surimi lobster rolls
- Stuffed surimi lobster tails
- Surimi lobster salad
- Grilled surimi lobster
- Baked surimi lobster with butter and herbs
Where to buy surimi lobster tails
Surimi lobster tails can be found in most grocery stores in the United States. They are usually located in the refrigerated section near other seafood products.
They’re also sold at most Asian and Japanese grocery shops.
Are surimi lobster tails healthy?
Surimi lobster tails are lower in calories and fat than regular lobster tails. They’re also a good source of protein.
Another benefit is that surimi contains omega-3 fatty acids from the white fish like pollock used to make the surimi paste.
So, surimi can be a healthier option if you’re looking for something lower in calories and fat but still want the taste of lobster.
There are several types of surimi that are all made of ground up white fish. However, they can take on different shapes.
Surimi lobster tails are supposed to be shaped into tails. To do this, the surimi is put into a mold that is in the shape of a lobster tail.
The taste is also supposed to imitate the delicate flavor of lobster meat.
However, most surimi types actually taste the same.
A similar dish would be kani kama, which is also made of ground up white fish, but is shaped into small balls or sticks. It is common to find kani kama in sushi rolls.
Imitation crab sticks are another type of surimi. They are also made of ground up white fish, but they are shaped into long sticks that resemble crab legs.
These are used in sushi rolls like American-style crab rolls.
Another similar dish is fishcakes. Fishcakes are made of ground up fish, mixed with some type of starch (potato or rice), and then fried.
They can be made with any type of fish, but white fish is most common.
Fishcakes in Japan are called kamaboko or naturo and they are fun!
Surimi lobster tails are a type of surimi that is made to resemble lobster tails. They are pre-cooked, which means they only need to be reheated or can be enjoyed cold.
Surimi lobster tails are a healthy option as they are lower in calories and fat than regular lobster tails. You can find surimi lobster tails at most Asian grocery stores.
So why not taste this delicious fishy food and experiment with some surimi recipes?
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.