How do we catagorize fusion food? This style of culinary innovation has been relatively popular since the 1970’s, providing an opportunity for the enjoyment of a unique platter. Fusion food is exactly what it sounds like – a flavor palate dedicated to bringing together a unique collection of spices, meats, veggies and fruits from different parts of the world or a specific region or culture. It is this broad definition that is part of what makes fusion so exciting. After all, it is all about exploration, innovation and possibility – what could be more exciting? Throughout history, the mixing of different cultural culinary elements has always happened naturally and gradually. Now, that process is speeding up through the adventurous tastes and experiments of world class chefs. Whether you are looking for Asian, Latin fusion or other regional fusion experiences, they are becoming more and more accessible all over the United States of America. The fine dining industry is just full of fusion these days!
Areas that have experienced high volumes of immigration are often hot spots for the culmination of diverse culinary excellence. During the move from one place to another, families will take not only physical baggage like suitcases, clothing and books, but also cultural baggage and heritage – and a lot of that is in the food! Food tends to be a hugely defining characteristic when it comes to different cultures, and when the ingredients sourced for the meals are very much reflective of the geographical origination points of the people. It is why certain tastes will always remind us of certain places. Think fresh clam chowder in Rhode Island – there is something about eating food straight from where it comes from that gives it a more vibrant, lively flavor that just can’t be duplicated after the pieces have been packaged and shipped. Still, sometimes when I miss Rhode Island, having a cup of store-bought clam chowder can help me ease the longing a little bit, even if it isn’t the same. Cultural memory is transmitted through spices and food preparation in a very similar way.
When two cultures collide, things get mixed together for the sake of practicality and economic ease. This process was an organic one that often took hundreds of years. Now, forward thinking chefs have taken it upon themselves to bring the concept of fusion to their own tables as a mission statement to be reckoned with.