There are five notably different flavor profiles our taste buds can detect: sweet, savory, spicy, sour, and bitter. Of these flavors, each pack a particular punch. The trick of making a dish that brings the “WOW factor” is by combining the right flavors together, while also balancing the ratios of each ingredient. When you marry two different cuisines together, this process is called fusion when the best of cuisines collide together.
Rumor has it that Christopher Columbus actually formed recipes based on Chinese cuisines. Even if that is not true, we should explore the possibility. For centuries, Northern China has been using Laimen, or hand pulling noodles, to expand the elasticity and create a chewy noodle. Does this not sound similar to the al-dente spaghetti pasta that is pressed in a pasta machine over and over? Think about the Chinese pot sticker or pan fried dumpling filled with a meat and vegetable filling. Similarly, the ravioli is also made with thin sheets of dough, packaged with an assortment of flavors ranging from cheeses, meats, and veggies, and then it is boiled. The Chinese dumpling is served with a vinegar soy sauce, and accompanied by a cream, pesto or tomato sauce. The point is that cultures have been borrowing from other cultures ideas for years.
Let’s take a dive into some current fusion food trends. Take a Kurrito for example. This tasty fusion of Asian and Latin inspiration is one of the first mainstream fusion fads that started this particular gourmet fusion movement. Some of these food marriages include, Kimchi quesadilla, a kurrito (a burrito with sweet Korean meat), and the latest sushi burritos, which uses seaweed instead of a tortilla as a wrap, and replaces traditional stewed or grilled meat for fresh strips of tempura, or bites of plump, fleshy pieces of sashimi, cradled around sushi rice.
There are many other cuisines that have been merging together. Even in America there are cuisines like Tex-Mex, Creole (Southern and French influence) and California cuisine, each carefully birthed from other cultural cuisines. Next time you want to bite into this so-called “Fusion food,” know that you have been part of this Fusion movement all along. The only key ingredient to do Fusion cuisine right is being able to hit all the notes of your mouth, to give your mouth that “WOWING,” effect.