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California Rolls – Top Myths and Facts about Your Favourite Sushi

on 31st May, 2018

What exactly is a California roll?

Known as a makizushi sushi roll by the Japanese, the California roll as we have come to know and love it as, is an inside-out sushi roll. The original ingredients of this delicious dish were cucumber, avocado and either real or imitation of crab meat, all coated in an outer layer of rice. The popularity of the California roll has been credited as being one of the biggest causes of global interest in the Japanese cuisine. It is said to have influenced many of the subsequent fusion dishes seen in kitchens across the globe, and can now be found in an overwhelming array of flavours and variations.

These days, you can find California rolls in cities everywhere, from London to Saudi and the UAE. Not only that, but they are now available with different types of rice and a whole selection of fish and meat choices as your filling. Some new favourites are the Black Tuna California Roll where Tuna is surrounded by a black rice mix, and the Black Garden California Roll which sees a full black rice wrapping around an asparagus and carrot filling with avocado laid on top. The choices seem endless in this day and age.

The California roll has, since its first appearance, become one of the favoured choices for sushi lovers all over the word. It first showed up on the menus of sushi restaurants in America and Canada where the love for and interest in sushi was booming.

So who invented the California roll?

The exact beginnings of the sushi dish are a little hazy as there are several different chefs who each claim to have invented the popular dish. The two competing chefs come from Vancouver in British Columbia, and Los Angeles, California. No one can be sure who is telling the truth but one story starts almost ten years before the other one.

In Little Tokyo, Los Angeles during the 60’s a Sushi chef at the Tokyo Kaikan called Ichiro Mashita was said to have used a Tuna called ‘toro’ in the place of the avocado, and after more experimentation, the first California Roll was born. It is the inside-out feature of the California Roll that are more widely credited to him though, as his rolls began life this way. The California Rolls made by his counterpart in Canada were a slightly different story.

It was August of 1971 when Chef Hidekazu Tojo moved to Vancouver from his homeland of Japan. He had originally made the dish for his customers back in his country. In his recipe for California Rolls, Hidekazu used cooked crab (namely King Crab leg meat), avocado and cucumber. He said that it was very popular with his customers from LA and therefore became known as California Rolls. The main difference between his California Rolls and the ones that we see worldwide today is that his original rolls had a seaweed covering. This seaweed was almost always removed by his customers from the west so after a while they were just served in their now common inside-out fashion.

 Whoever did invent the California Roll can be thanked for creating a dish that was somewhat easier for first time Sushi eaters to understand. This has since led to Sushi being one of the most favoured cuisines on earth. Now, you can enjoy the great selection of California Rolls Dubai has to offer, or the California Rolls Abu Dhabi Sushi restaurants are creating as the craze finally takes hold in the UAE. 

California Rolls and the myths surrounding them

Although Sushi has been growing in popularity for years in the food world and continues to do so in a massive way, there is still a lot that is not widely known about it. This had led to there being widespread misconceptions as to what exactly makes a dish Sushi as well as a long list of myths that surround specific pieces like the California Roll.

Myth No. 1 – California Roll is not a Sushi

It has been said before, more than a few times on record, that a California Roll is not technically Sushi. Its authenticity has been called into question time and time again, with people claiming that due to its somewhat contemporary nature, it cannot be considered ‘authentic sushi’. This is in fact a myth. The term Sushi is used when talking about any short-grained rice that is seasoned using vinegar or as is more commonly used nowadays, a small amount of salt and a small amount of sugar. It does not matter how big it is or what is its shape, if this type of seasoned rice is used to make it then technically, it is sushi.

Now, we have already seen that the California Roll is definitely classed as Sushi, and as for its authenticity, both chefs who claimed to have invented the dish are of Japanese heritage so there can be little argument there. 

Myth No.2 – California Rolls are not safe for pregnant women

Many pregnant mothers find that they are suddenly confronted with a list of items that they are no longer allowed to consume. So many limitations, and up until recently, Sushi was high up on this list. The idea being simple, some Sushi contains raw fish which is not safe for a pregnant woman to eat, and some fishes are not believed to be safe even if they are cooked. But it is now more widely known that as long as the fish is ‘pregnancy-safe’ and it is cooked (as it is in dishes like the California Roll) then it is perfectly safe for a pregnant woman to consume. Others on this list of safe-to-eat-when-pregnant sushi are Shrimp Tempura and Spider Rolls.

California Rolls; here are the facts

As the appreciation for sushi grows, so does the need for fact-based knowledge to take the place of the myth and misconception that once surrounded this cuisine. Here is all that you need to know about one of the world’s favourite sushi dishes:

Fact No.1 – Though there has been debates as to who invented California rolls, the Japanese officials has appointed Hidekazu Tojo to be one of the goodwill ambassadors of Japanese cuisine – making us reach the conclusion that our favourite dish is not originally from California but Vancouver. 

Fact No.2 – The original ingredients of a California Roll included King Crab leg meat, cucumber, avocado, rice which was all wrapped in an optional sheet of seaweed.

Fact No.3 – For pregnant women the California Roll is one of the better and safer options to choose from a Sushi menu.

Fact No.4 – The California Roll is one of the most popular dishes in the whole Sushi range and is possibly one of the reasons that Sushi as a whole is so popular around the world.

Fact No.5 – The ingredients in a California roll were chosen carefully so that when the rolls are sliced, the customers could see its artistic form, while giving equal importance to the taste and texture.

How healthy are California Rolls?

As with almost all Sushi dishes, California Rolls can be one of your healthier choices if eating out or ordering online. That is as long as you eat a reasonable amount. Since California Roll mainly consists of cucumber, avocado and sesame seeds along with your chosen meat or fish, and it is all wrapped in rice, the whole dish is low in both fat and calories. A California Roll is not just one piece of sushi itself but is made up of six pieces in total. The California Roll calorie count is low at only 255 calories for the whole serving of six. The fact that the California Roll is low in calories show whys that it is one of the most chosen dishes on the Sushi menu today by health enthusiasts. The sodium levels in California Rolls, while not exactly low, are fairly reasonable for a Sushi dish. There are 80 milligrams of sodium in each piece of a California Roll. If salt is an issue for you but you still enjoy California Rolls, then one even healthier option is to eat your California Rolls without the addition of soy sauce. Also certain fresh ingredients will have far less sodium than the more processed, like the usual crab meat.   

When ordering California Rolls, you can choose to order them with either brown or black rice as these rice types contain more fibre than white rice. This fibre helps in digestion and the rice is also a great source of much needed magnesium. After the avocado roll and the tuna roll, the California roll ranks third in a list of the healthiest Sushi Rolls (calorie wise) carried out by With just 7g of fat, 9 grams of protein and under 30 carbohydrates, the California roll is considered your healthy sushi option.

How the California Roll became so popular in the UAE?

Between 2013 and 2015, a survey carried out by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture reported that the Middle East had a rise of 140% in the amount of Japanese restaurants that operated there. This made the total number of Japanese restaurants in the Middle East to 600. Since then those numbers have risen a massive amount, but that was the start of the sushi boom in the UAE. Once the popularity of and interest in Japanese cuisine began to rise, it was only natural that the same would happen to sushi. Ever since the first appearance of Sushi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai have not been able to get enough of the dish. There is a rich history of Japanese culture throughout the region which not that many people realise. This extends from the Japanese pop culture right through to the California rolls offered in the top restaurants.

As the fast-paced culture of cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai continues to quicken, the inhabitants seek both cuisine that fits into and works with their daily routine and also something that serves as an escape from the norm. Sushi has come to serve as both. This exotic yet understandable and approachable dish is for the most part ready when you are. And now for anybody who wants Sushi, Dubai Delivery services can take care of that craving. The ever growing population of dynamic cities means that there is a rising need for quality food on-the-go. The new sushi lovers need to know that they can count on great quality sushi at reasonable prices available when and where they need it.

The long list of Japanese restaurants now open within the UAE are partly to blame for the new found popularity of the cuisine. This does not necessarily mean that all of those offer an authentic experience when it comes to their traditionally Japanese menu. Many people looking for California roll or any other types of sushi, have found that there are some out there who have compromised the taste by adding or removing some ingredients. Whether the reason is to lower their overall costs or to make it easier and quicker for their chefs to make, or to experiment by using new and contemporary ingredients, whatever the reason is may water down the experience if not chosen carefully. While this has taken place all over the world, when there is such a rapid rise in popularity as has been seen in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there are lots of companies that spring up in order to cater for those needs. Amongst the sushi restaurants Dubai has seen open its doors in recent years, Sushi Counter has stood out as one that cares about the quality of its dishes. Their menu can be used as a great example of the more common and favoured choices of ingredients for a California Roll.

Top California Rolls in the UAE

Different countries have different takes on sushi as a cuisine. This is what has led to so many fusion sushi dishes and whole menus being dedicated to sushi fusion cuisine. For this reason, a dish as classic as the California Roll can have a dizzying variety of fillings and ingredients. The most common types of California Rolls in the UAE are as follows:

Crab Avocado Rolls – These delicious rolls are based on the classic and original California Roll. They are made using fresh crab meat, avocado and seaweed with a creamy spicy sauce covered with white rice and tobiko.

Chicken California Roll – This great variation on the classic California roll favours chicken over crab and is therefore perfect for those who love sushi but are not huge fans of seafood. They are made using chicken, cucumber, creamy spicy sauce & white sesame seeds.

Lobster California Roll – The addition of lobster to the already great California Roll is yet another new but soon to be classic variant. Here we see lobster, sweet chili sauce, yuzu juice, balsamic vinegar, black & white sesame seeds, togarashi powder & creamy spicy sauce.

Sweet Garden California Roll – Taking from the growing trend of salad amongst the food lovers of the UAE, this is a beautiful pairing of avocado, carrot, cucumber, crispy onion & sweet chili sauce.

The different variants of California Rolls are staggering but be sure to order from those restaurants that take tradition and quality seriously. The authenticity is and always will be part of the experience of eating Sushi. You are not merely tasting the ingredients that are used to make it; if made properly then you are tasting the skill and technique that went into its creation and also the long history behind the cuisine itself. The California Rolls Abu Dhabi customers can expect to receive when they order their Sushi from reputable companies like Sushi Counter will be the same great quality and freshness as the California Rolls Dubai customers enjoy.

Choose Sushi Counter for your California Rolls

If you are new to the world of Sushi and have yet to discover the delights and wonders that sushi restaurants in Abu Dhabi and Dubai offer, or you are yet to make use of the new delivery services throughout the UAE, then you should order from Sushi Counter today. Even if you have been enjoying Sushi for a long while, if you have not yet tried the California Rolls Sushi Counter pride themselves on then you are in for a treat. With several locations in Abu Dhabi, one in Riyadh and six in Dubai, Sushi Counter really is one of the best located Sushi restaurants to take care of your Sushi needs. And with a dazzling display of over 24 different types of California Roll alone, it is easy to see why Sushi Counter is becoming the favourite choice of Sushi lovers all over Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE.

Be part of the new Sushi movement and experience your authentic and traditional California Rolls from one of the Middle East’s favourite Sushi restaurants. You may have had Sushi before and may have ordered a California Roll when you did, but if you have not tried a California Roll from Sushi Counter, then you have not tried some of the best California Rolls on offer in the UAE. Browse through their selection and order your favorite California roll today!

California Rolls – Top Myths and Facts about Your Favourite Sushi

What exactly is a California roll?Known as a makizushi sushi roll by the Japanese, the California roll as we have come to know and love it as, is an inside-out sushi roll. The original ingredients of this delicious dish were cucumber, avocado and either real or imitation of crab...