Last week Meinhardt’s opened a second location and as I was roaming the aisles, I spied those darn Avocados From Mexico! This time they were making their way into sushi rolls! This got me thinking about all the rolls I’ve had topped with or filled with this wonderful fruit and wondering how avocado got to be a big part of the North American sushi menus.
I remember being told that Tojo had invented the California Roll in Vancouver when he moved from Japan and was trying to get Vancouverites more excited about sushi. He realized the seaweed and raw fish was a bit iffy for these newcomers to sushi, so he turned the rolls inside out to hide it the seaweed and began playing with ingredients such as cooked crab and avocado. A lot of people from California made there way to Vancouver for Tojo’s offerings and the roll was a favourite with them, hence the name.
Another explanation stems from California where Chef Ichiro Mashita was welding his sushi knife. In the 1970’s tuna was only available part of the year and as Americans liked the fatty texture of the fish he looked for something to replace it with when it wasn’t around and found avocado in the produce isle. He also turned the roll inside out as American diners found seaweed unappealing. Of course these were Mexican avocados that had then been planted in California, so hence not really Avocados from Mexico, but due to drought California has been importing Mexican Avocados and Vancouver sushi is practically 100% Avocados From Mexico right now.
I prefer to side with our local sushi chef, but it’s just as possible that both chefs came to the tasty conclusion around the same time. These crazy rolls are now a fav across North America and have led to all sorts of non-traditional sushi rolls. Of course the best are made WITH Avocados from Mexico.
Now I’m no expert in making sushi at home (as you can see from the pictures above), so I went to the experts on youtube. I’m going to watch these a few times and try again!
This will also require sushi rice.
What else do you like to roll into your sushi rolls and where do you eat sushi in Vancouver?