America’s relationship with sushi and Japanese cuisine in general is relatively young. According to Food52, an online community for chefs and cooks all over the world, it was only during the 1960s that sushi was placed on the U.S. food map by one small restaurant in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo that catered to Japanese and American businessmen. When Japanese cuisine finally made waves in other cities like Chicago and New York, only then did sushi become a nationwide hit.
With the introduction of the Philadelphia and California rolls, though, sushi has since become westernized to the point that most people don’t know the difference between sushi and maki anymore. Fortunately, certain Japanese restaurants in Roseville, CA, like Mikuni Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, serve both authentic and American-style Japanese dishes, and reward loyal patrons with nifty perks and merchandise that other Japanese restaurants don’t offer.
The easiest way to distinguish traditional sushi from a westernized roll is to analyze the ingredients. Sushi typically features rice laced with vinegar then topped with raw fish, other meat, and/or vegetables. Maguro or “tuna sushi” is probably what most Americans refer to when they think about sushi, since this dish is very simple as far as ingredients and presentation are concerned. Saba or “mackerel sushi,” on the other hand, is quite different because the fish needs to be preserved first to maintain its rich taste during preparation. Meanwhile, kani or “crab sushi” stands out from the rest because it is always served cooked.
Anything that deviates from these standard recipes is likely to be a westernized form of sushi. California rolls are a great example because their name, presentation, and choice of ingredients are anything but traditional. California rolls are actually a type of maki (i.e. rolled sushi) and are usually made from avocado and crab meat, which are then lodged inside rolls of rice California Rolls have seaweed wrap. Exciting Roseville restaurants mix things up by adding other ingredients into the recipe like cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sesame seeds.
While many people prefer authentic sushi over westernized ones, and some vice versa, this doesn’t change the fact that sushi is now a part of the American palate. New recipes are bound to be introduced in the future and enhance America’s enduring love for Japanese cuisine.
(Source: The History of Sushi in the U.S., Food52, November 29, 2013)