While Japanese cuisine is as diverse and unique as the people who make these tasty dishes, most Americans instantly think of sushi when they think of Japanese food. Comprised of seaweed and vinegar seasoned rice rolled around a variety of fish and vegetables, sushi is one of the most popular dishes served in American restaurants today. But how did this traditional Japanese meal become so popular in America?
Sushi Comes To America
While sushi has been a meal staple of Japan for thousands of years, it didn’t make its first appearance in the United States until 1966 when a Japanese business owner opened up the first sushi restaurant in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles. Named Kawafuku, this sushi restaurant was mainly popular among Japanese immigrants who longed for a taste of home. Soon, though, fashionable young people began to dine on this trendy, new food option. People were learning that sushi was not only a trendy meal option, but it tasted really good, too.
Sushi: A Rising Popularity Surge In The 1970s
In 1970, the first sushi restaurant outside of the Little Tokyo neighborhood opened. Named Osho, this early sushi restaurant attracted a loyal and appreciative clientele of the rich and famous thanks to its location next to the 20th Century Fox studios. Sushi was quickly becoming the food of choice not only for trendsetting young people, but for actors, actresses and other artsy types. Throughout the 1970s, more and more sushi restaurants began popping up all around big cities like Chicago and New York City. Not only was sushi hip and tasty, but it was filled with healthy ingredients like fish and vegetables. Suddenly, everyone wanted to indulge in the yummy goodness of sushi found in a high quality sushi restaurant.
Sushi Becomes Americanized
Towards the end of the 1970s, a chef in a Los Angeles sushi restaurant invented what is now known as the California roll. Comprised of crab meat and avocado, which were easier to obtain than the then seasonal tuna, the California roll was the sushi of choice for those less adventuress diners who found raw fish to be a bit too exotic for their palates. Next came the spicy tuna roll, which combines tuna with chili sauce. Then came the Philadelphia roll which contains salmon and cream cheese. Today, adventurous sushi chefs in various sushi restaurants use local favorite flavors to create a variety of rolls that are unique to American towns and cities throughout the country.
Japan Embraces American Styles Of Sushi
Today, the sushi craze has come full circle with Japan offering Americanized versions of this tasty treat in sushi restaurants all around Japan. While traditional rolls using raw fish is still quite popular in Japan, many restaurants are embracing the new, Americanized versions of this traditional Japanese favorite. Some restaurants even offer a fusion of both traditional Japanese sushi and its Americanized versions, offering a fun, new and hip sushi option to Japanese citizens and tourists alike.
What began as an everyday staple of Japanese cuisine has evolved into a food favorite of people all around America. Today, sushi restaurants are becoming as commonplace as Chinese restaurants in the United States. You can find a sushi restaurant in almost every city in every state, and it has become the favorite food of many Americans.
SushiFork of Tulsa offers made-to-order sushi rolls and a casual, clean and fun sushi dining experience. If you would like to try a taste sensation that is unlike any other food, try visiting a sushi restaurant near you to experience what all the buzz is about.