In the ever changing world of food, the newest fad is right around the corner. Fusion cuisine has become that new fad, but it seems that this food is here to stay. The background of fusion cuisine is integral to understanding its appeal. The term fusion cuisine is difficult to define since there are so many varieties and flavors, so it is a definite help to understand the various categories and types of this type of food. Fusion cuisine is a new movement in the modern world of cuisine and serves as a reminder that the food world changes to reflect the changing tastes of mankind.
Fusion cuisine is a relatively new term that has gotten food experts and critics excited. Fusion cuisine, which came about in the 1970s, is a general term that can take on many forms (Fusion). It actually has been going on since ancient times, but it was not recognized as a cuisine type until the 1970s (What). French chefs began to combine French dishes with those from Vietnam and Southeast Asia (What). Fusion cuisine became popular in Europe and in metropolitan cities in America (What). There are both regional as well as sub regional aspects to fusion cuisine (Fusion). The most popular type of fusion is the Asian fusion experience which can include foods and cooking methods from Indian, East Asian, and Southest Asian cultures (Fusion). The dishes that are derived from diverse cultures can be interesting and flavorful (What). “When cultures collide, ingredients overlap, cooks get inventive, and traditions are merged” (Dickerman). This is how fusion cuisine has developed and continues to develop and evolve.
Fusion cuisine is a general term that has three approaches. The first approach is called a regional approach and involves combining “different cuisines of a region or sub-region into a single eating experience” (Fusion). Examples of this may include Asian restaurants that have incorporated foods from other cultures (Fusion). The second approach features “original dishes using varieties of ingredients from various cuisines and regions and combining them” (Fusion). A third approach uses a base food from one culture combined with ingredients from another culture (Fusion). An example of this would be to make a pizza and top it with salsa, chicken, refried beans and jalapenos to make a Mexican pizza (Fusion). The Mexican pizza fuses the Italian and Mexican cultures. There is yet another type of fusion cuisine that may eventually catch on to become a fourth approach. This type of fusion cuisine has originated in Budapest and involves mixing “Burger King dishes such as ice cream, french fries and barbecue sauce” (Fusion). Fusion cuisine continues to adapt as our tastes evolve and change.
Fusion cuisine is most well known in combination of European and Asian dishes. Since both countries are ancient and have a rich culinary tradition, they are perfect for merging their culinary delights (What). Examples of this include the wildly popular Vietnamese spring rolls which may be found on the menu of a French restaurant (What). In addition, wasabi may be used on a pot roast for a unique flavor (What). The key in fusion cuisine is to blend the ingredients together. Most chefs know how to do this and may be able to ascertain foods and ingredients that may go well together. Other chefs may elect to throw a plethora of ingredients from different cultures together like confetti and hope for the best (What). This may result in a disastrous dining experience.
Fusion cuisine can be found in all walks of life and in many cities, small and large alike, throughout the United States. In 1849, the first Chinese American restaurant its doors serving exotic foods like chop suey alongside the more traditional steak and potatoes (Dickerman). The evolvement has continued since that time and now includes a mouth watering array of foods that are fused from various cultures. It was not until 1988 that the term “fusion” was coined by Chef Norman Van Aken as a nod to jazz music which fuses many musical elements (Dickerman).
Since we all want variety in our lives (i.e. variety is the spice of life), what better way to do that than by incorporating fusion foods into our everyday lives. One example of this is the ready made versions of fusion cuisine that can be purchased in the grocery store (Wilson). This would include lasagna, sushi, and curry sauce (Wilson). The Chinese have modified their cooking technique to appeal to the Indian culture thereby creating the Indo-Asian cuisine (Wilson). This type of intermingling is going on all over the world in different cultures.
Although the advent of fusion cuisine has been around since ancient times, it is now enjoying a resurgence as our world gets smaller. By combining other cultures’ foods with our own, we are expanding our horizons as well as our taste buds. Fusion cuisine will continue to evolve as our tastes evolve, but it is only through a complete understanding of food and spices that we can have truly good fusion cuisine that is palatable. Only those who understand food should dabble in combining foods and spices. After all, we do not want to partake of confusion cuisine.
- Dickerman, Sara. “America’s Love-Hate Relationship With Asian Fusion Cuisine.”Slate Magazine. N.p., 12 Apr. 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.
- “Fusion Cuisine.” Princeton University. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. https://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Fusion_cuisine.html
- “What Is Fusion Cuisine.” WiseGEEK. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisegeek.org%2Fwhat-is-fusion-cuisine.htm
- Wilson, Jacqueline. “Exploring Fusion Foods | DESIblitz.” DESIblitz Exploring Fusion Foods Comments. N.p., 19 June 2013. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. http://www.desiblitz.com/content/exploring-fusion-foods