The blending of foods has been appearing everywhere — from swanky restaurants to city roaming food trucks. But, how much of this “fusion food” is real, and how much of it is just dressed up fries?
Fusion food, at its core, is the blending of two or more cultures’ foods and styles to make something different and new. For instance, the noodles in our spaghetti were influenced by Chinese noodles.
Kimchi fries, although good, are not actually fusion. It’s fries ala Asian meat spices and kimchi. The culture around this one fusion-esque beacon is huge. Asian based food trucks and even some of the most authentic Asian restaurants sell this staple dish.
Most of the popular fusion foods are Asian-based. There is no market in Italian, Greek, Nigerian or Latin fusion food outside of dressing tacos with Asian condiments and meats.
Granted, this may be in part because other cultures are very protective of their foods. Some do not want outside forces or influences in their food because of the history and importance the food holds. That being said, if you are going to do fusion food, you still have to do it correctly.
People do it right all of the time without even thinking about it. It usually comes in the privacy of people’s own homes. Going back to spaghetti, some people put creole seasoned shrimp and crawfish into their dishes. Others might use a pot roast in a stir fry.
The concept of fusion food stems from curiosity, creativity and the love of other cultures. To create real fusion food there must first be open-mindedness. The next step is letting go and allowing yourself to learn from others so you can then implement that new-found knowledge.
After that, something truly new that is both fusion and still allows those two cultures to exist can be achieved.