This chapter examines the question of authenticity that surrounds California roll, the most commonly consumed form of sushi in the United States. Sushi is a rare example of a foreign dish that has undergone a thorough reputation makeover. Initially regarded as dubious, sushi has now gone mainstream while retaining most of its exotic aura. This chapter considers the story of California roll in the United States and especially how it has evolved from sushi to better assimilate into the norms of American gastronomy. It explores how California roll, along with tempura, teriyaki, and instant ramen, became the gateway dishes for Americans wishing to venture into the daunting world of Japanese cuisine. It also discusses California roll's reputation as a dubious variety of sushi and what makes a dish authentic before concluding by asking whether authentic foods taste better.
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