What is "Fusion" Cooking? In particularly "Asian Fusion"?

I Googled “Asian Fusion” and also “Fusion Cookery” but I did not understand what it said in Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_cuisine

Here is what it said:

“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.”


I have heard of “Asian Fusion” as applied to various kinds of cuisine and various kinds of cookery.

My problem with trying to understand the explanation is that if “Fusion Cookery” is simply a mixture of two diff styles or a “fusion” of two diff styles, then surely there must be a simpler kind of name. Wouldn’t there be?

Even so, I’d sure appreciate if someone could explain why it is necessary to come up with a completely new name for a cuisine that just combines two different styles. I mean, I think it used to be called “Chinese Food”. What is wrong with simply calling it “Chinese Food”? Why is that no longer an adequate name?

At any rate, I’m guessing that maybe I’m just making a mountain out of a molehill. But, why is it necessary to give it an entirely new name? I must admit that I just don’t understand that.

Is there anyone here who can explain?

Chinese food is food prepared in the style of (a particular region of … ) China.**

But if a chef prepares food that draws from both Chinese and Brazilian elements, for example, then it’s no longer just Chinese, and is therefore fusion, because it fuses two different traditional cuisines.

** Let’s leave aside Americanized bastardized “Chinese food” that has no resemblance to anything traditionally prepared in that country.

I’m not sure I understand. My answer is because if it’s fusion, it’s not really traditional “Chinese” but a mix of Chinese and some other dominant cuisine. For example, take the “Korean taco.” It’s Korean style meats like bulgogi, perhaps topped with kimchi, served Mexican style in a corn tortilla. Is it Korean? Is it Mexican? It’s Korean-Mexican fusion.

Let’s move this over to Cafe Society.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

How about the classic Chinese-German cuisine? An hour after eating, you’re hungry for power again.

Think about something like sushi. That is Japanese right? Maybe but there are also fusion styles of sushi such as Cuban pork rolls that you would never see in Japan. Fusion cooking combines elements of unrelated cooking styles to form a new cuisine.

Your ideas about Chinese food may be what is throwing you off. Most Chinese food in the U.S. is heavily Americanized but that isn’t the same thing as fusion cooking. Americanizing food is generally done to make foreign cooking styles more palatable to the masses by dumbing it down to the lowest common denominator. Fusion cooking isn’t like that. The idea is to purposely create new ideas by intentionally combining elements of different cuisines (Korean tacos are a good example).

Eve within Asia, there’s still room for plenty of fusion without just being generically “Chinese”. Suppose, for instance, that you served a dish of tuna and rice wrapped in seaweed, but with a peanut-and-coconut-milk sauce, and garam masala spices (note: This is just an example; I do not vouch for the quality of such a dish). That’s clearly got elements of Japanese, Thai, and Indian, though not particularly Chinese. So, what ethnicity would such a dish be? It’s Asian fusion.

That’s a good example of fusion though, taking Chinese inspiration and merging with American tastes.

Back to the OP, Asia has so many varieties of food that you do the region a disservice by just lumping it all as “Chinese Food”. However, the food in that region is comparable enough with ingredients that it lends itself perfectly to crossover. Most of the “Chinese” restaurants near my house now prefer to be called “Asian”, not because it’s more politically correct but because they offer a range of choices from the area including Japanese and Thai. They also have a number of newer items on the menu that are combinations of different styles.

You’re equating “Asian” with “Chinese.” Asia also includes Japan, Korea, Thailand, India, Vietnam, etc., each with its own cuisine (or cuisines) and cooking styles. Chinese/Japanese and Chinese/Japanese/Thai fusion restaurants have been around for a while. Though I’ve yet to try it, Chinese/Indian Asian fusion restaurants are becoming popular in my area. Apparently, traditional Chinese dishes cooked Indian style are quite different from what I’m used to, or so I’ve been told.

I once drove past a restaurant that billed itself as “Japanese/Italian fusion.” That got me very curious, but the next time I drove through that area, it was gone.

OK. I begin to understand.

Thank you all very much for your help. Much appreciated.

Well, I understand California rolls and a few of the “fusion” types of sushi can now be found in Japan as an imported taste…

There’s very traditional Japanese sushi using ingredients used in Japan for centuries. Then there are things like California rolls (developed, not surprisingly, in California) or Philly rolls (using cream cheese) that utilize ingredients that are not historically common in Japan, but prepared utilizing sushi techniques.

Thus, fusion sushi - sushi preparation utilizing foreign ingredients.

I haven’t done an exhaustive study, but it seems the prep/cooking techniques supply the adjective and the addition of new ingredients makes it fusion.

So… traditionally American vegetables like squash, potatoes, and tomatoes in a stir-fry might arguably be an Asian fusion, but a baked casserole using traditionally Asian vegetables in a cream sauce, baked in a Midwestern US casserole dish and topped with crumbled potato chips would be an American fusion.

Of course, I’m sure you could find exceptions to that all over, and over sufficient time fusions can be fully adopted into a cuisine - at one time, after all, tomatoes, potatoes, and hot chili peppers were new outside of the Americas but now we’d have a hard time imagining Italian cooking without tomatoes, as just one example.

If you think about it, a lot of “traditional” regional cuisines are really fusions with other cultures. Italian tomato-based sauces. Irish potato stew. African peanut sauce. And so on, and so on.

“Fusion” either means “It’s so close to the middle of these two we can’t really decide which one to label it as” or “hey, we just thought of doing this in the last decade or so”

Hell, my local cuisiine (Tex-Mex) is a fusion cuisine, as it draws from Mexican and Anglo cooking traditions and ingredients.

Same goes for Creole cuisine in Louisiana- its a fusion of multiple different cuisines and ingredients, chief among them French, but also Spanish, Portuguese, Native American, and general Southern US cooking.

The only real utility of the word nowadays is when it’s used to describe deliberate combinations that wouldn’t normally happen due to geographic distance. Korean Tacos are one example, and so would be something like Icelandic/Indian fusion cuisine- hakarl curry anyone? (they really do need a pukey smiley)