Uramaki: What Is It And Is It Japanese Or American?

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Uramaki is a sushi roll that uses the nori (seaweed) wrapper on the inside instead of the outside like traditional makizushi. This makes for a fun and unique presentation, as well as a delicious contrast in textures.

Uramaki are usually larger than traditional makizushi rolls and can be filled with various ingredients. Common fillings include cucumber, avocado, salmon, tuna, and crab.

What is uramaki

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What does “Uramaki” mean?

Ura” means back, behind, or other side in Japanese, so uramaki literally translates to “rolled on the other side”, hence the sushi roll with the nori seaweed wrapper on the inside instead of out.

Is uramaki American?

Uramaki is an American invention created out of necessity. Americans and Canadians weren’t yet used to the idea of eating seaweed so the uramaki was born, essentially using all of the same ingredients but hiding the seaweed wrapper inside.

Where it exactly originated is up for debate. Some say Los Angeles and other Vancouver, but most say it was created in Californa in the 1960s by chef Ichiro Mashita.

Is uramaki popular in Japan?

Uramaki isn’t popular in Japan. It was invented in America and the Japanese are very particular about their sushi and how it should be made in traditional ways, so not many will adopt a new way of making Western sushi.

What’s the difference between Uramaki and futomaki?

Futomaki is a type of thick sushi roll that has several ingredients, usually including vegetables, inside. Uramaki also has several ingredients, but the difference is that it uses the nori seaweed on the inside of the roll instead of the outside.

Types of Uramaki

The California roll is the most popular type of uramaki. It is typically made with cucumber, avocado, and crab or imitation crab meat.

Other popular types of uramaki include the tempura roll, spider roll, and dragon roll.

Uramaki etiquette

When eating uramaki, it is considered proper sushi etiquette to eat it with chopsticks instead of using your hands. This is because the rice is on the outside and is sticky, but it can be difficult to pick up with chopsticks and it is also messy to eat.

You could say you should dip it into soy sauce before eating, because that’s what we do in the West and it is a Western invention, but actually you shouldn’t dip rice into soy sauce because it absorbs too much of it and becomes mushi and will fall apart.

In Japan, no ones dips rice in soy sauce, only the fish.

Is Uramaki healthy?

Uramaki can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the ingredients used. A roll made with cucumber, avocado, and salmon is going to be a lot healthier than one made with tempura fried chicken or spider crab.

As with anything, moderation is key and you should always try to eat a variety of sushi rolls to get the most benefit from them.


Uramaki is just one type of the many maki sushi varieties, and as you can read not a very traditional one instead. But it has led to a number of delicious creations that you can enjoy at almost every sushi restaurant in the West.

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Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.