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What Is Fusion Cooking?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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Fusion cooking, also commonly called fusion cuisine, is the practice of combining foods and cooking styles from diverse sources to create new dishes and flavor combinations. The trend, which is normally perceived to have been popularized in the 1970s, typically pairs non-traditional spices and foods from different groups in an effort to create unique tastes. The cooking is normally embraced by fans of progressive cuisine and shunned by traditionalists.

Fusion cuisine is generally broken down into three categories. One combines the cooking styles and flavors of several related regions or sub-regions. Another commonly takes traditional dishes from one cultural or ethnic region and applies unique ingredients, spices, herbs and flavors from other cuisines to create new dishes. The third category simply takes the basic preparation method of an established dish and replaces the ingredients with those of a totally different cuisine.

Asian fusion cooking is a good example of combining regional tastes and methods. This blended cooking style frequently combines recipes and ingredients from Southeast Asia, East Asia and India. The resulting dishes are often tasty savory-sweet combinations of spices and ingredients not ordinarily combined.

The second type of fusion cuisine regularly takes a popular dish and embellishes the recipe by adding and combining ingredients from other regional cooking styles. A simple example of this style of cooking would be a hamburger sandwich served with a topping of soft-shell crab salad served in a restaurant located in an East Coast area of the United States famous for soft-shell crabs.

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The final commonly applied fusion cooking approach takes a traditional dish and replaces the ingredients with those from a totally different cultural cooking style. For instance, a conventional burrito, normally filled with meat, rice and beans, may be filled instead with fish, potatoes and broccoli. Another popular food item that is frequently included in this category of fusion cooking is pizza. Rather than topping the crust with traditional ingredients such as tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and Italian spices, a fusion chef may choose to layer toppings such as mu shu pork, egg foo yung and fried wonton to create a Chinese-style pie.

The inception of fusion cooking is often attributed to famous chef Wolfgang Puck. He is generally credited with introducing dishes that combined tastes from Asia and Europe when he opened his Chinois restaurant in California in the 1970s. The name Chinois was chosen because it is the French adjective meaning Chinese. California was reportedly chosen for the restaurant location based on its geographic position halfway between Europe and Asia.

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anon346148
Post 4

I'm doing a research about fusion cuisine. Any advice on the specific ingredients and cooking method?

jonrss
Post 3
I love Thai pizza, which is one of the more common Asian fusion recipes. It has an amazing, unique flavor and it can be made easily. I have been able to make them using ingredients that you can find at any store. I never would have thought I could make passable fusion cuisine in my own kitchen but I have a pizza in the over right now.
summing
Post 2

People often associate fusion cooking with gourmet cuisine, but it is a lot more common and low brow than you realize. Think about it, most of the world's cuisine has been combined with American tastes to form an entire new batch of recipes that don't really exist anywhere else in the world.

Chinese, Mexican, Italian, all of these are world cuisines that have added meat and cheese and other American favorites to better appeal to our tastes. Fusion cooking is everywhere. Taco Bell is fusion.

chivebasil
Post 1

Fusion cooking has been one of the best and the worst cooking trend of the last few decades. When it is done well it can be a truly special experience. When it is done poorly, which is the most common way, it can be almost inedible, terrible ideas on a plate.

Fusion cooking makes a lot of sense. Combining flavors and techniques from around the world must logically lead to some exciting new food. But it cannot simple be done willy nilly. You have to have a careful understanding of how flavors and cooking styles compliment one another. There are too many egg roll quesadillas and curried pot roasts out there.

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