Fusion cuisine is cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions. Cuisines of this type are not categorized according to any one particular cuisine style and have played a part in innovations of many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s.
Categories and types
Fusion food is a general term for the combination of various forms of cookery and comes in several forms. Regional fusion combines different cuisines of a region or sub-region. Asian fusion restaurants, which combine the various cuisines of different Asian countries, have become popular in many parts of the United States and United Kingdom. Often featured are East Asian, South-East Asian, and South Asian dishes alongside one another and offering dishes that are inspired combinations of such cuisines. California cuisine is considered a fusion culture, taking inspiration particularly from Italy, France, Mexico, the idea of the European delicatessen, and eastern Asia, and then creating traditional dishes from these cultures with non-traditional ingredients - such as California pizza. Other examples of this style include Tex-Mex, which combines Southwestern United States cuisine and Mexican cuisines, and Pacific rim cuisine, which combines the different cuisines of the various island nations. In the United Kingdom, Fish and Chips can be seen as an early fusion dish due to its marrying of ingredients stemming from Jewish, French, Belgian cuisines.
In Australia, due to the increasing influx of migrants, fusion cuisine is being reinvented and is becoming increasingly the norm at numerous cafes and restaurants, with Modern Australian Asian-fusion restaurants like Tetsuya's in Sydney ranking highly in The World's 50 Best Restaurants. Another incarnation of fusion cuisine implements a more eclectic approach, which generally features original dishes that combine varieties of ingredients from various cuisines and regions. Such a restaurant might feature a wide variety of dishes inspired by a combination of various regional cuisines with new ideas. Foods in Malaysia are another popular example of fusion cuisine between Malay, Javanese, Chinese and Indian and light influences from Thai, Portuguese, Dutch, and British cuisines.
Foods based on one culture, but prepared using ingredients and flavors inherent to another culture, are also considered forms of fusion cuisine. For instance, pizza made with cheddar and pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans or other common taco ingredients is often marketed as "Taco Pizza". This particular dish is a fusion of Italian and Mexican cuisines. Similar approaches have been used for fusion-sushi, such as rolling maki with different types of rice and ingredients such as curry and basmati rice, cheese and salsa with Spanish rice, or spiced ground lamb and capers rolled with Greek-style rice and grape leaves, which resembles inside-out dolmades. Some fusion cuisines have themselves become accepted as a national cuisine, as with Peruvian Nikkei cuisine, which combines Japanese spices and seasonings and Peruvian ingredients like ají (Peruvian peppers) with seafood. A quintessential Peruvian Nikkei dish is "‘Maki Acevichado’ or ceviche roll, containing Peruvian-style marinated fish rolled up with rice, avocado, or seaweed."
This type of restaurant's success depends on a number of factors. Among these are:
- Clientele's (or prospective clientele's) cultural diversity
- Clientele's travel patterns and experiences.
- Clientele's culinary sophistication and openness to new eating experiences.
Wolfgang Puck is attributed as one of the pioneers of fusion cuisine, with some dispute. However, his restaurant Chinois on Main was named after the term attributed to Richard Wing, who in the 1960s combined French and Chinese cooking at the former Imperial Dynasty restaurant in Hanford, California.
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Media related to Fusion cuisine at Wikimedia Commons