What Is Kani Sushi?

_What is Kani Sushi
Joe Squatch

Joe Squatch

September 6, 2022

If you visit any Japanese restaurant, you’ll find sushi sitting proudly at the front and center of the menu.

Sushi is a versatile dish, and it’s one of the most popular dishes in Japan and, indeed, the world! Your sushi can be made with various toppings and fillings, and it can appeal to all tastes. 

_What is Kani Sushi

You may have heard of Kani sushi if you’re familiar with sushi. Want to learn more about Kani sushi? Let’s explore the ins and outs of this dish and discover more about the different types of crab sushi and the nutrition of Kani sushi. 

What Is Kani Sushi? 

The term ‘Kani’ is usually used to describe imitation crab. Imitation crab is a staple ingredient in most Japanese sushi and is particularly popular in the West.

In Japan, imitation crab is also called ‘surimi,’ meaning ground meat. Kani is often prepared when white fish is condensed into small sticks and used in Japanese-style sushi.

Kani is easy to shred, and it’s able to recreate the flavor and texture of real crab. For those looking to get more adventurous with their food, Kani sushi is a great place to start! 

Although Kani is often used to describe sushi made with imitation crab, real crab can also be used. 

Different Types Of Crab Sushi

Kani is somewhat of a blanket term. If you order Kani at a restaurant, you could be getting real or imitation crab.

There are also many types of crab sushi on the market, and understanding the difference between each crab can help you learn more about how sustainable your meal is, what it will taste like, and more.

So, let’s take a look at the most popular types of crab sushi. 

King Crab 

The King Crab is often considered the highest-quality crab available in the U.S. King Crabs have fairly short and thick legs and can be found in the depths of the northern Pacific.

King crabs come in red, brown, and blue varieties. King crab meat is usually white with red streaks, and its flavor is sweet and mild. If you want something to compare it to, think lobster! 

Although Alaskan stocks of King Crab are dwindling, they’re working on better management methods.

However, most of the fisheries that harvest King Crab have been associated with overfishing and the destruction of habitats, so be mindful of where you source your kind crab from. 

Snow Crab

Snow crab is another popular crab used in sushi. Snow crab comes largely from Canadian and Alaskan stocks, but it’s not as easy to source as King crab.

Unsurprisingly, its name comes from its meat, which is red when raw, and snowy white when cooked. Snow crab often tastes slightly briny with a sweet overtone. 

Blue Crab 

Blue crabs get their name from their sapphire claws, and their shells are light-brown. Blue crab is another of the most popular types of crab used in sushi, and it has a mild, slightly salty, and oceanic flavor, with a subtle hint of sweetness.

Although some American sushi bars use blue crab sourced in America, it’s usually imported from Asia.

Unfortunately, blue crab populations are offered minimal protection, and blue crab fisheries have seen alarming stock declines, which have called for emergency regulations in the past. 

_What is Kani Sushi (1)

Dungeness Crab 

The Dungeness crab is a type of crab that lives along the west coast of North America. These crabs can weigh up to two pounds, and they’re another popular species used in sushi.

Dungeness is so popular because of its mild, nutty taste, which is perfect for people who don’t enjoy the taste of distinctively fishy crab.

Dungeness crabs have strong populations, which make for sustainable and productive fisheries. 

Stone Crab 

The stone crab is found primarily in the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. The stone crab boasts a distinctively flaky meat, which feels somewhere between the texture of lobster and shrimp.

Its taste is also sweeter than other types of crab. Compared to the snow crab, blue crab, or king crab, the stone crab has a good fishery with a low mortality rate, making it a sustainable option for your sushi.

What Is Kani Roll, And Why Is It A Delicacy? 

A Kani roll, usually Kani maki, is a spicy delicacy consisting of crab meat, rice, and seaweed. The crab meat or imitation crab used in Kani roll is soaked in a mixture of spices before serving.

Kani rolls are one of the most popular sushi rolls you’ll find at Japanese restaurants, and the taste of imitation crab is what makes this sushi so different from other types of sushi rolls (Also check out the What Is A Boston Roll?). 

Kani has been a popular delicacy in Japan for decades. Kani sushi is also incredibly nutritious and provides many of the nutrients our bodies need, including Omega 3, without compromising on taste.

Kani is also a delicacy because of its versatility: it can be made crunchy with the addition of tempura flakes, it can be served with a variety of tasty salads, and it’s effortless to eat. 

Kani sushi can either be eaten raw or cooked, but if you eat it raw, ensure that your crab meat is fresh. If you’re not eating it raw, ensure that your crab meat is adequately cooked before adding it to the roll. 

If you’ve cooked up a fresh batch of Kani sushi, it can last up to two days in the refrigerator. However, it’s not advisable to eat Kani sushi beyond this time, as the risk of bacteria growth and food poisoning rises significantly. 

The Bottom Line 

Kani sushi is a bit of an umbrella term. Although it can be used to describe both real and imitation crab, it’s usually used to describe imitation crab meat.

Kani sushi is one of the most popular sushi options at most Japanese restaurants, so if you haven’t already, why not give it a go? 

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