Fusion cuisine can be defined in a few ways. It can mean that restaurant menus offer many different types of ethnic food at their venue, or that they mix and match cultural culinary trends within one dish. Think Ras el Hanout spiced grilled chicken, a North-African inspired main, served on a brick-baked Mediterranean flatbread, with a side of Mexican guacamole. Despite having originated across the globe, these famous food items can be elegantly fused together to create a beautiful and delicious dish. Over the past few years, the public has gone crazy for the foods of Southeast Asia, Korea, and Peru. Finding ways to incorporate interesting ethnic food combinations into restaurant menus can make a restaurant unique.
Getting to Know Ethnic Cuisines
Before applying fusion foods to restaurant menus, chefs and cooks must try to perfect the component of the dish they want to use. Research is the best way to get acquainted with different types of ethnic food and cultural culinary trends. Perusing the internet on recipe sites and blogs, recipe books, and dining out in venues that offer ethnic food, are great ways to start. Experimentation should come next, and lastly, brainstorming and perfecting the perfect fusion dish. For example, Peruvian cuisine consists of a lot of potatoes, corn, and chilies. These ingredients are indigenous to the region and, as a result, are not present in the ethnic food of Korea, for example. However, oven-roasted potatoes with paprika, cheddar, and kimchi, is a promising dish.
Non-European cuisines usually have starches that go beyond, and don’t even include, bread and pasta. Thai food and other Far East cuisines usually rely heavily on rice. What really makes the culinary trends from each region unique, though, are the spices and herbs that dominate their ethnic foods. The hardest part of creating fusion foods is learning the tastes of ethnic food, and being able to play off of their combinations of spices and herbs to create winning fusion foods. Adopting cooking techniques typical of certain ethnic food, such as steaming and stir-frying, is another great concept to experiment with when creating fusion foods for restaurant menus. By developing a deep familiarity with the culinary trends of a culture, chefs and cooks can be comfortable enough to mix and match components of these culinary trends from a variety of cultures.
Fusion cuisine is made possible today by globalization and the wide availability of an endless variety of ingredients. Chefs are unraveling surprising taste combinations by combining the taste of different cultures and regions. And the public is loving it. But what the public doesn’t usually realize is the deep thought process and creativity that chefs must show in order to invent these dishes. Deep knowledge of the ingredients, especially the spices and herbs, of the cultural cuisines being employed, will allow chefs a better brainstorming system of fusion dishes to add to a restaurant menu.