Kamaboko (蒲鉾) is a type of cured surimi, a Japanese processed seafood product, in which various white fish are pureed, combined with additives such as salts, formed into distinctive loaves, and then steamed until fully cooked and firm. The steamed loaves are then sliced and served unheated (or chilled) with various dipping sauces or sliced and included in various hot soups, one-dish meals, or noodle dishes. Kamaboko is typically sold in semicylindrical loaves. Some kamaboko include artistic patterns, such as the pink spiral on each slice of narutomaki, named after the well-known tidal whirlpool near the Japanese city of Naruto.
Although the Japanese name for kamaboko is becoming increasingly common outside of Japan, some extant English names for kamaboko are fish paste, fish loaf, fish cake, and fish sausage (Tsuji, 1980). Tsuji recommends using the Japanese name in English because no adequate English name exists, other than the Jewish dish, gefilte fish, which is somewhat similar.
Red-skinned and white kamaboko are typically served at celebratory and holiday meals, as red and white are considered to bring good luck.
Kamaboko has been made in Japan since the 14th century and is now available nearly worldwide. The simulated crab meat product kanikama (short for kani-kamaboko), the best-known form of surimi in the West, is a type of kamaboko. In Uwajima, a type of fried kamaboko called jakoten is popular. In Japan, chikama (cheese plus kamaboko) is commonly sold in convenience stores as a pre-packaged snack food.