Fusion food may seem strange, but the collision of cuisines has been happening for years across the globe, from home cooks to restaurant chefs. Foods like sushi burritos and cheeseburger egg rolls have been around for a while, but fusion is becoming more refined. Chefs are taking inspiration from multiple cultures to create thought-provoking dishes. “Operators incorporating global flavors and ingredients in their menus are giving customers a way to experience a satisfying adventure safely,” says Lizzy Freier, director of Menu Research and Insights for Technomic.
Maybe you’re trying to recreate a Peruvian dish and can’t find all the ingredients, so you substitute a few items from your local Asian market, and suddenly you’ve created a new recipe! According to a March 2021 survey from the International Food Information Council, 23% of home cooks have experimented with different cuisines, ingredients, or flavors.
While there is something special about enjoying a fresh Pasteis de Nata while strolling down a mosaic road in Lisbon, global flavors are closer than you think. Delicious fusion flavors could even be just a food truck away. Who knew the world needed Korean short rib tacos or kimchi quesadillas? Kogi Taqueria Truck by Chef Roy Choi is now a Los Angeles staple. Pizza is even going international. Since 2018, there has been a 58% rise in global pizza topping options. Food fusions may not be new, but the new combinations that are emerging are delightful global mashups.
Itameshi, “Italian Food” in Japanese, is one of the newest mashups. This new fusion combines Japanese and Italian cuisines to create unique and divine dishes like tarako spaghetti, which combines butter, soy sauce, dried seaweed, and pollock roe with spaghetti or ramen carbonara topped with a dollop of uni. While Italian Bolognese paired with ramen noodles gets an umami bump from white miso paste in the slow-simmered sauce.
From Mexican-Korean to Chinese-Peruvian to Japanese-Italian, the magnificent mashups are endless. Curious about how you can start to incorporate more international flair into your menu? Look to your kitchen staff! Kitchens are one of the most diverse places. Chat with your team about their cultures and fusion cooking they may already be doing at home. Then, take a field trip to your area’s international grocery stores and markets. You may find inspiration shopping in these new, unfamiliar aisles! For more exciting food pairings, check out our blog about ways to turn up the heat with your baked goods.
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