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California Sushi Roll

The dawn of the fusion sushi era

The California sushi roll, or simply California roll was invented in Los Angeles, California in the late 70's and is considered a big leap in sushi culture. It is also credited for spreading the popularity of sushi in the western world. Until the California roll was invented, most sushi rarely utilized ingredients that were foreign to Japanese cuisine. It was also out of the question to use imitation crab for a cuisine that concentrated on using the best seafood possible.

Avocado was the perfect substitute for people unfamiliar to raw fish. Imitation crab, which is steamed ground fish (assortment of white fish) with crab juice, does not have a fishy flavor, and it mimicked raw food, while the avocado accented it with the oily texture that many sashimi have. They are both rolled with the rice inside or outside, however the outside roll or uramaki was used more frequently to conceal the nori, which was not appetizing for many western customers.

The roll basically consists of avocado, imitation crab, and julienne Japanese cucumbers. The cucumbers were added to neutralize the overpowering aromas of Avocado, which may have been a concern to sushi chefs in the early days, but 30 years later, it is now being used for several types of sushi rolls.

The California Roll has definitely started a new “Fusion” trend in the sushi culture (also called "California Sushi" in Japan). It was a groundbreaking success, and many new ingredients and combinations of fish were beginning to be seen in sushi bars. It proved that multiple main ingredients can be used for one sushi and utilize non-Japanese condiments as well. Now there are a plethora of sushi rolls existing; too many that it is difficult to create a complete list for. However, nothing can beat the simplicity of the California roll and the way it revolutionized the sushi world.