Volcano Roll: What You Should Know Before Ordering

Sitting down to look at a sushi menu can go one of two ways — you can go with a classic roll, like a California roll or spicy tuna roll (via Spoon University) or you can branch out a bit and try something more adventurous. Why, then, not wrap your chopsticks around a volcano roll?

This roll can be found on many menus throughout the U.S.; however, it's not a bite that stays consistent, like one of the classics. This roll allows sushi chefs to get more creative with traditional ingredients and has helped to create so many variations on the roll that it becomes a bit of a specialty, no matter where you get your sushi.

The volcano roll, explains How Daily, is basically any style maki roll — a cut roll with rice on the inside and nori (seaweed) on the outside — that is then stacked with toppings and drizzled with sauces, mimicking the eruption of a volcano. But that's where the similarities end.

What are some of these variations?

The base of the volcano roll itself varies. It can be a classic California roll under there or something a bit more creative.  There are so many variations on these rolls, including one with spicy tuna, cucumber and rock shrimp tempura (via On the Gas); another that contains sriracha, shrimp, and salmon (via Peas and Crayons); and yet even more variations that contain imitation crab, avocado, shrimp, and yellowtail (via Izzy Cooking). 

According to How Daily, the roll pieces are sliced more thinly than usual to allow for all the extra toppings. These toppings, though often baked or fried, vary as well — as do the sauces used. Because of all the flavorful toppings and sauces, adding soy sauce or any other seasonings is not recommended, according to How Daily.

While chopsticks are the most common way to eat a volcano roll — or almost any sushi roll — in American culture, it is actually fine (and even somewhat customary) to eat these rolls with your hands, according to Vice. According to Tokyo's Naomichi Yasuda, eating cut rolls with your hands is really the most traditional way to do so. It may be a bit messy, though, so don't say we didn't warn you.

Are volcano rolls healthy?

While it's true that there are lots of types of sushi that are considered healthy and balanced meals, volcano rolls aren't one of them. While the rolls that form the base of the volcano roll may be ones you can eat even a few times a week without a new addition to your waistline (like a California rolls or tuna/salmon rolls), it's the topping that needs to be considered when ordering these bad boys. 

Volcano roll toppings are usually soaked in spicy mayo, which adds fat (check out the fat content in this Wegman's volcano roll). Additionally, Spoon University has ranked sushi rolls from worst to best, as far as healthiness and caloric intake. Since just about anything can become a volcano roll, even more calories can be added to one that is already dense. 

Also frequently called a lava topping, the most important part here is that the volcano roll is spicy. The topping is usually made from crab or imitation crab, notes Izzy Cooking