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Fusion cuisine: food without boundaries

The fusion cuisine proposes to combine different ingredients or techniques, but especially traditions. Imagine a Japanese roll stuffed with basmati rice and curry. We cross the culinary frontiers and recreate something completely original.

By Ania Smolec / September 29, 2017
Wine Journalist

In many parts of the world, the traditions of the different ethnic groups have prevailed and marked with fire the postmodern cultures. A great example is Alsace and Lorraine, which for centuries has been disputed by France and Germany. There different traditions intersect to recreate a unique cuisine and full of identity. There, we could say, are the roots of the concept of fusion cuisine.

In the last decades, the chefs have endorsed this concept, actualizing it, taking it to a new dimension. Since the 70′s, many haute cuisine restaurants blend different flavors of the world, presenting innovative and absolutely modern menus. Today fusion cuisine is synonymous of sophistication.

sushi

The countries of the New World have a natural predisposition for the development of fusion cuisine. A great example is the Peruvian gastronomy, which combines Asian, European and African with pre-Columbian influences. Another great example is Californian cuisine, which brings together traditions and ingredients from Asia, Europe and Mexico.

Generally speaking, fusion cuisine takes a plate of a certain culture and prepares it with non-traditional ingredients, such as the popular California rolls (with cream cheese and avocado) or Californian pizza, which is not based on tomato sauce, but salmon, sour cream and fresh dill. Do not forget that in the United States was developed the famous Tex-Mex trend, which reinterprets Mexican dishes, combining ingredients and spices that are not necessarily used in traditional Mexican cuisine.

Another great example is the Australian fusion cuisine. It really is like a patchwork of traditions from around the world, with a strong Asian, Italian, Greek and even Polish influence. If you ask me which fusion I like best, my answer is Malaysian cuisine. I could try their dishes over and over again, without ever getting tired. It combines Malayan, Javanese, Chinese and Indian traditions, with touches of Thai, Portuguese, Dutch and British cuisine. Gorgeous!

Now, whenever you want to match a fusion dish, you always have to consider a trio of aspects:

  1. Predominant protein
  2. Intensity of flavors and aromas and, above all, level of hot spices
  3. Method of cooking and weight of the dish.

Tex-mex

For example, for a classic Italian Margarita pizza I recommend Casillero del Diablo Merlot, but if you replace the “Italian” aspect with lamb, yogurt sauce and spices from the Middle East, choose the more structured Casillero del Diablo Shiraz.

If you want to cook fusion food at home, I present a mini guide. For example, I love Indian food. From its repertoire, I take a vegetarian dish like dahl (lentils, pumpkin, many spices and served with rice) and turn it into a fusion dish. I substitute legumes and rice for an Italian pasta, and coconut milk for a tomato sauce, but with all the spices and dice of pumpkin from the original recipe. If it were a typical dahl, it would open the Casillero del Diablo Pinot Grigio; for a traditional pasta with tomato sauce, I would drink Casillero del Diablo Rosé; but for my fusion dhal, the perfect wine is none other than Casillero del Diablo Viognier.

It is wonderful to get to know several cuisines of the world and their dishes, but more entertaining is to break the taboos and reinvent some recipes. For some it may provoke confusion (and not fusion), for others it may even be sacrilege, but for me it is an integrative and profoundly tasty trend, like a journey across the continents through a single recipe.

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