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California Roll History and Information

Updated on March 15, 2013

Mmmm! Sushi!

The California roll is a kind of sushi roll that contains cucumber, crab meat, and avocado. Sometimes the crab stick is substituted with crab salad. This kind of sushi roll is usually made inside-out. The California roll's outer layer of the rice is then sprinkled with your choice of toasted sesame seeds, tobiko, or masago.

In this photo to the left is a california roll made with crab salad and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

History Of The California Roll


The origin of the delicious California roll is somewhat murky, but food historians usually credit Ichiro Mashita, a sushi chef at the Tokyo Kaikan restaurant for inventing the roll in the early 1970s. At that time, the Tokyo Kaikan restaurant which is located in Los Angeles, was the first to feature sushi bars.

Traditionally sushi rolls are wrapped with nori on the outside, but Mashita made the California roll 'inside-out' because most Americans did not like seeing and chewing the nori on the outside of the roll. Mashita's decision to make the California roll inside-out was truly a success.

The Substitute - Avocados

(In this photo: bamboo sushi mat, sliced avocados, crab stick, and nori.)

Mashita began substituting avocado for toro (fatty tuna) because the large fish was hard to come by especially in the winter months of California. Rumor has it that Mashita first substituted toro with beef or chicken which he later soon realized that the oily texture of an avocado was a perfect substitute and with further experimentation, the California roll was born.

Crazy For the California Roll

The California roll marked the beginning of a sushi craze that rapidly spread across southern California. There after by the 1980s, the California roll became popular across the United States. Because of its affordable ingredients and well-balanced flavors, the California roll is highly recommended by sushi lovers who are first introducing sushi to someone who has never ate sushi before. I, myself am one of those people. The California roll is a good choice for someone who doesn't really like fish or a strong sea food taste. The ingredients in the California roll are the ingredients that everyone knows and are ingredients that people can pronounce; rice, crab meat, avocado, cucumber, and nori. Knowing what the ingredients are in sushi makes one more comfortable to eat and enjoy their sushi.

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July 20, 2005 - A Japanese entertainer and tourism ambassador of California made the world's longest California roll in Hollywood. Tourists from Japan helped him make the roll, which reached 30 meters in length. -wikipedia

Boy Eating Sushi :)

My boyfriend eating a plate of California Roll and Yummy Roll.

Looks Delicious! :)

Looks Delicious! :)
Looks Delicious! :)


Wasabi is generally sold either as a root which is very finely grated before use, as dried powder in large quantities, or as a ready-to-use paste. The burning sensations of wasabi are not oil-based and are felt primarily in the nasal passage and can have quite a painful impact depending on the amount consumed.

Wasabi is difficult to cultivate which makes it quite expensive. Due to its high cost, a common substitute is a mixture of horseradish, mustard, starch, and green food coloring.

In Japan, wasabi grows naturally along stream beds and mountain river valleys. Outside of Japan, it is very rare to find real wasabi plants. Packages are often labeled as wasabi, but the ingredients do not actually include wasabi plant.

In the United States, true wasabi is generally found only at specialty grocers or high-end restaurants.

Pickled Ginger

Pickled ginger or also known as Gari, is young ginger that is thinly sliced and has been marinated in a solution of sugar and vinegar. It is often served and eaten after sushi. Although many brands of pickled ginger/gari are artificially colored pink to promote sales, the natural product is usually pale yellow to a slightly pink hue from the pickling process. Gari is eaten between dishes of sushi to help cleanse the palate. It was originally eaten with sushi to counter the effects of bad fish.

Wasabi & Pickled Ginger

Wasabi & Pickled Ginger

Beautifully presented leaf-shaped wasabi beside a pile of pickled pink ginger.


A dollop of wasabi on a white short-hand spoon.

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California Rolls With Masago

How To Make California Rolls - By Food Network


Nori seaweed

Prepared sushi rice

Crab meat, cut in pieces

Avocado, peeled and cut in fine pieces

Cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut in fine strips

Sesame seeds, toasted


Cut the nori sheet in half and place it on bamboo mat, shiny side down. Dampen your fingers in water. Spread a thin layer of sushi rice over the seaweed, do not cover completely. Leave a 1-inch margin at the ends uncovered to seal the roll. Lay crabmeat, avocado and cucumber lengthwise. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

To roll, slowly fold the end of the mat closest to you over the filling and tuck it in. Use medium pressure to create a compact tube. Remove the mat from around the roll, press in the loose ends and place it on a cutting board, seam side down. Using a wet, sharp knife, slice the roll in half then into 6 equal pieces. Serve with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger.

How to Make an Inside-Out California Roll

How to Pickle Ginger in Less than 5 Minutes

Here are some links where you can purchase nori.

What Is Your Favorite Sushi Roll?

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    • ladyyummy profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @MiaMusement: Thank you! I love california rolls.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Wonderful presentation! I live in one of the remaining three Japantown communities in California, so you can bet I eat my fair share of California rolls! I prefer the inside-out rolls, but honestly I'm not too picky. :)

    • ladyyummy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @norma-holt: Thank you sooo much. :') I really appreciate it. <3 *hugs*

    • norma-holt profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful lens and gorgeous pics. This is certainly a different way to present sushi. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012-2.

    • coolaunt profile image


      6 years ago

      This is an excellent lens. I really enjoy sushi and now want some. Very well done and your presentation has good flow.

    • ladyyummy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Rangoon House: Thank you for the blessing. ;) I appreciate it.

    • Rangoon House profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      My favourite is salmon ngiri, but I love most sushi. This certainly makes me want some right now! Blessings.

    • ladyyummy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @royyap: Thank you for stopping by, Roy. :)

    • royyap profile image


      6 years ago

      I love Japanese food but never really know about the history behind it. Thanks for the informative lens.

    • ladyyummy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @mlt89: Me too. :3 Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Yum - this lens is making me hungry!

    • LynetteBell profile image


      6 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I love Sushi but have not had crab meat in them before

    • ladyyummy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Teapixie LM: Thank you, thank you, teapixie :D

    • ladyyummy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Magda2012: Thanks. Same here :)

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 

      6 years ago

      I really like the information you have provided. That tiny little roll represents a world of change.

    • Magda2012 profile image


      6 years ago

      looks yummy... I like any sushi roll as long it doesnt contain raw fish.

    • dragonlildragon profile image


      6 years ago

      all the photos making me hungry. YUMMY

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens, beautiful photos! Welcome to Squidoo!

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 

      6 years ago

      Great lens! Welcome to Squidoo!

    • ladyyummy profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Spiderlily321: Thanks :) I'm still a newbie at eating sushi.

    • Spiderlily321 profile image


      6 years ago

      I love all sushi rolls. Sushi is my favorite thing to eat! :) Thank you for sharing this awesome lens.


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