Californian Sushi as the name suggests is sushi adapted to suit the palate of the people within California. Simply put its proper Japanese sushi, but with a few ingredients added or removed.
Sushi was introduced to California long before it was known in other parts of the world or for that matter other states in America. This was largely because of the strategic location of the state on the west coast of the country which is closest to Asia.
The other significant reason being the opening of many Japanese eating houses with the advent of trade between both countries. The Tokyo Kaikan Restaurant is said to be the first sushi place opened in Los Angeles in 1973 and it is believed that the sushi master chef Ichiro Mashita began the tradition of using avocado instead of tuna in his California rolls. Ironically avocados remain the key ingredient in most sushi rolls available in the many sushi restaurants in California.
Californian sushi uses a variety of local food ingredients such as meat, poultry, fresh or frozen vegetables, mayonnaise, avocado and imitation crab sticks for a variation to the basic dish. In addition sushi in California can be combined with a number of other dishes and side orders to make it a meal for people on the go. Some Californian sushi dishes use tuna, beef, teriyaki chicken, cheese and bean sprouts as fillings with brown or black rice as the outer ingredient.
Sushi here is mostly served as a roll called the ‘Californian roll’ for obvious reasons. Yet most sushi bars serve some other variations as well. Each of these types of sushi has a signature specialty and is aimed to please the palates of customers with differing tastes.
California rolls are not the only sushi type in California. There is the caterpillar roll that uses unagi as a main stuffing, the rainbow roll that is topped with sashimi, the dynamite roll that has a yellow bean and carrot with mayonnaise mixture, the spider roll that has soft real shell crab meat and the crunchy roll which is basically a deep fried version of the California roll.
What’s funny is most of the variations of sushi found in Californian sushi restaurants are not seen in Japan or parts of Asia. Yet California is the best place to try sushi outside of Japan as it offers a wide variety of options even for a first time sushi diner.