What Is Fusion Cuisine?
Everyone is talking about fusion cuisine and food fusion, but what is it? You probably already tried fusion cuisine, now know all about it.
Fusion cuisine is made of bits and pieces of different cultures. Ingredients and cooking techniques from distant countries or regions come together to create something else, and that’s thrilling!
Fusion cuisine is more common than you think. After all, we live in a globalized world, and we’re now all closer than ever. Learn all there is about fusion cuisine.
What Is Fusion Cuisine?
Fusion cuisine combines ingredients and techniques from different regions and countries. But let’s get something out of the way — today, all cuisines are a fusion, in a way. The age of exploration led to an intense cultural exchange. Cows, pork and chicken arrived in America. In exchange, European countries met with tomatoes, vanilla and chocolate for the first time.
Still, during the 18th and 19th centuries, most countries developed their own culinary identity. When you combine these cuisines, you get fusion cuisine. Fusion food can vary a lot. It can be as easy as topping pizza with barbecue chicken or as complicated as making burger buns with Asian noodles or putting together a duck confit taco.
National and regional cuisines define us, and when you make fusion food, you bring people together. Everyone loves the food flavors from their childhood, and when you find them in unusual food or unlikely combinations, it’s just a thrilling experience! That’s why fusion cuisine is so popular!
The best part about fusion cuisine? You need not be an Iron Chef to make it at home. Everyone can mix and match ingredients to create new flavors and textures.
The History of Fusion Cuisine
Fusion cuisine has existed since the beginning of time. Sometime, somewhere in antiquity, a villager took his cooking traditions to a neighboring village, and fusion cuisine was born. Wars, migrations and marriages — any interaction between cultures often end in creating a new type of food. It has been this way since forever.
The massive Asian migration to America influenced food greatly, and the same can be said about the influence of Latin American people in the United States. Fusion cuisine, though, is a universal phenomenon, and you can see its effect in every corner of the planet.
And although food fusion is widespread, restaurants really didn’t start serving fusion food until recently. Fusion cuisine became mainstream in the United States in the 1960s, with the first French Chinese restaurants, soon followed by Italian-Asian restaurants, and everything in between. The term “fusion cooking” was first used in 1988, and today, fusion cuisine is its own category — even if it can vary widely.
There’s no doubt fusion cuisine will keep gaining popularity, and it’s becoming ever more exotic. Chefs worldwide continue pushing the boundaries, discovering interesting flavor combinations, and people love them. Fusion cuisine has a bright future.
Fusion Food vs. Modern Cuisine: What’s the Difference?
Fusion food is not necessarily modern. As mentioned above, merging ingredients and techniques from different places is nothing new. Still, many restaurants call themselves modern and serve fusion food. Others serve food fusion but are not necessarily modern. So, what’s the difference between fusion food vs. Modern cuisine?
Modern cuisine is not a synonym for fusion food. In fact, a great deal of modern food is not a fusion at all. To further understand the differences between these two philosophies, let’s explore modernist cuisine.
Modern restaurants serve modernist cuisine. Developed in the 1980s but with roots going back for centuries, modern cuisine treats cooking as a science. The cooking temperatures are carefully monitored, modern appliances allow cooks to cook food in a vacuum, and chefs use science to reduce, distill or extract flavors from ingredients.
Modern cuisine is all about perfection. Fusion food is about the merger of cultures. Although these two tendencies can live under the same roof, they’re not the same thing. Fusion cuisine can be modern and modern food can be fusion. We could also say modern cuisine looks into the future and fusion food finds inspiration in the past.
Popular Fusion Foods
There are endless examples of fusion food, but here are some of the most prevalent worldwide.
- Tex-Mex: Tex-Mex is a fusion cuisine developed in Houston. It’s inspired by Mexican flavors and techniques but uses American ingredients. Nachos, chili, hard-shell tacos and fajitas are all examples of this unique cuisine.
- Californian Pizza: Pizza is the quintessential Italian dish, but it’s something else in California. Championed in the seventies, California-style pizza might be topped with anything from goat’s cheese to barbecue chicken. From smoked salmon to caviar.
- Tandoori Chicken Burgers: The appealing idea of a fluffy burger bun filled with spicy Indian tandoori chicken is enough to make you drool. And this is just the beginning. Kimchi burgers are a thing as well, and so are Teriyaki burgers.
- Sushi Burrito: This American invention is basically a giant sushi roll tucked tightly like a burrito. Cooks use rice wrappers instead of tortillas, and the filling is often fish, but variations exist.
- Korean Mexican Fusion: Korean-style barbecued meat and kimchi meet tortillas and beans in this unique combination of ingredients and cooking methods. Korean tacos are trendy in America, and that’s just the beginning. Can you think of other fusion foods?
Why Is Food Fusion So Popular?
The real question is. Why is food fusion so popular? Here’s the thing. We all love the flavors that give us identity. Food is a big part of who we are.
When you find the flavors of your childhood merged with other exciting ingredients from somewhere else, you might feel insulted or flattered, but there’s no doubt you’ll feel intrigued. It’s the curiosity that feels our hearts when we hear about fusion food. And curiosity makes food exciting. No one wants to eat the same thing every day; we want to try new things! Well, fusion food is perfect at that.
There’s no doubt we’ll continue to see more dramatic fusion food ideas in the future, and some of them will become new classics. That’s the neat thing about food. It constantly changes, which means that there are exciting meals in your near future.
Why is fusion food so popular? Because food is supposed to be fun and much more than just nourishment. Well, let’s thank the great cooks and chefs that combine our favorite foods to create new things. These unsung heroes are really the stars here, so let’s all say thank you!
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