Putting two and two together has always been inherent in food and beverage. Thus, your local bartender never runs out of liquors, spirits, and juices to shake up. However, as the thick line dividing cultures blur in the combination of ingredients, the question no longer focuses on the “what” but the “how.”
That’s what Telegraph writer Xanthe Clay learned from Taiwanese foodie and chef Ching-He Huang about fusion cuisine. It no longer matters which two elements chefs decide to combine; the important thing is that they get the combination—the fusion—right. Tofu pizza? Bourbon chicken? A ramen burger? Take your best shot; anything is possible.
Not a Modern Trend
Contrary to popular belief, fusion cuisine isn’t anything new. Ching disagrees with fusion cuisine being “a modern atrocity.”
“Fusion has been happening for centuries, for as long as people have travelled. You would take your comfort food, noodles perhaps, with you, then use whatever you could find locally to make it taste of home,” she explained, spooning up a delicate “kedgeree” of rice porridge with smoked fish.
The kedgeree is one excellent example of fusion cuisine. A staple in the English breakfast, the kedgeree can be traced back to the British Raj. While the British brought fish and hard-boiled eggs upon landing, the Indians introduced spiced rice (khichri). Soon enough, British and Indian fusion became a thing.
All across the U.S., you have Chinese, Mexican, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Indian communities, among others, coexisting with locals. You have countless melting pots from California to New York. These are ideal places to set up a good Asian fusion restaurant. The moment immigrants landed on foreign soil, fusion cuisine was inevitable.
“Fusion food has traditionally appeared where communities live close to each other,” Clay writes. However, despite the unity showed by these “melting pots,” compatibility was still a matter in food. Sushi, an icon of Japanese cuisine, is always susceptible to bad combos.
After all, there’s nothing you can’t put in a sushi roll, right? So at another Brazilian-Japanese restaurant in London, you can have an Italian-inspired confection that includes calamari, olive cream, basil and cucumber. Domo arigato, but no.
Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to embark on a gastronomic gamble. Healthy Asian food recipes don’t stay static for long; they evolve together with the chefs who cook them. Setting up a restaurant franchise, from franchisers such as Fresh and Healthy Brands, in a melting pot bustling with activity is a perfect opportunity to test your knack for culinary mix-and-matches. Whatever fusion dishes you think of serving, never forget to introduce something new.
(Article image and excerpt from “Fusion food: the fine art of mixing it,” Telegraph, November 5, 2013)