Top 11 Fusion Foods Rocking the Food Scene Today
With more people moving around the planet than ever before, it’s easy to understand how cuisines shift and change as cooks move from their ancestral homes, and new people, with new culinary histories, move into the neighborhood. Now, there are entire sub-sections of cuisine that exist because of this global movement. For example, California cuisine is considered a fusion cuisine influenced by the Italian, French, and Mexican immigrants living there at the start of this century, while Peruvian Nikkei cuisine is a mashup of Japanese culinary influences on traditional Peruvian ingredients.
If you live in a city, it’s easy to see these fusion cuisines developing before your very eyes. Here are some of the top fusion foods that are rocking the food scene today.
1. Sushi Burrito
One of the most popular fusion foods is the sushi burrito, sometimes called the sushirrito. Typically served in fast-casual eateries, it’s a popular choice because it’s easy to take on the go, unlike a typical sushi meal.
Many critics point out that it doesn’t have much to do with a burrito other than the shape. However, there are some places like Sushirrito, the home of the original sushi burrito, that make a point of actually fusing the cuisines by putting ingredients like tuna, salmon, and shrimp tempura alongside guacamole, sliced bell peppers, and blue corn chips.
Rolled up with a generous portion of rice, the sushi burrito makes a hearty meal.
2. Ramen Burger
It seems inevitable that experimentation with various sources of carbohydrates to make burger buns would eventually lead to the use of noodles. As one of the most popular fusion burgers, the ramen burger is made with two fried patties of ramen noodles instead of buns.
Born in a food market in Brooklyn, this fusion burger quickly caught on around the world. In one copycat recipe, the ramen noodles are cooked, then mixed with egg, and molded into patties before being fried. The burger meat is mixed with the seasoning packet from the ramen, as well as scallions and soy sauce to continue the theme into the burger itself.
Invented by master baker Dominique Ansel, these delicious pastries have been imitated by bakers all over the world, but no one seems to have mastered the delicate hand that makes these pastries great. Ansel was the first to mash up a delicate French croissant with the good ole American doughnut when he debuted his creation — the cronut — in 2013. Even years later, people still line up outside his flagship bakery in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood for a taste of his creations.
Ansel’s cronuts are filled with flavored cream and topped with glaze. Even better, the cronut flavors change every month. Some popular flavors are rose vanilla, raspberry white peach, and peanut butter rum caramel.
4. Big Mac Steamed Bao
Everyone loves McDonald’s. Even people who don’t want to admit that they eat there have secretly indulged in the occasional Double Cheeseburger or McFlurry. After all, who can resist delicious Oreos whizzed into soft vanilla ice cream?
The Big Mac Bao is the brainchild of chef Nick Liu, an entrepreneur known for his Toronto restaurant DaiLo. His Big Mac Bao is made with dough wrapped around a beef patty, pickle, and slice of cheese. The buns are steamed and served on top of shredded lettuce and a special sauce.
The Big Mac Bao was so popular that Liu eventually had to take them off the menu since no one was ordering anything else.
5. Maki Acevichado
Immigrants are a big factor in fusion cuisine, especially if there’s movement or migration of a large number of people within a short period of time. Japanese immigrants in Latin America influenced the local cuisine so much that a Japanese-Peruvian hybrid cuisine called Nikkei became extremely popular within the continent — and has now spread around the world.
One of the most popular dishes of Nikkei cuisine is maki acevichado. This dish is essentially maki sushi rolls made with fish, rice, and nori that are coated in the celery, ginger, garlic, and lime sauce traditional to ceviche dishes. It’s portable, easy to eat, and delicious.
6. Pastrami Egg Rolls
For Jewish people in North America, the most popular excursions during the Christmas holidays are to the movies and Chinese restaurants. Eating Chinese food on Christmas Day is a tradition in many Jewish households since it’s usually the only restaurant in the neighborhood that’s open.
This tradition has led to a unique fusion dish, which draws equally from both cultures — the pastrami egg roll. Made with chopped pastrami and sauerkraut rolled into an egg roll wrapper and deep-fried, these delicious bites are the best of both worlds. Plus they show how much respect and love these two immigrant cultures have for each other.
7. Dosa Waffle
Although there have been cookbooks written as humble tributes to the waffle iron, it’s easy to forget how much you can do with that useful kitchen implement until a dish like the dosa waffle comes along.
Dosa waffles are pretty much exactly what they sound like. Indian dosa batter is griddled in a waffle iron instead of being spread thin and grilled in a pan. Traditionally, dosa is served with chutneys and sambar as a quick meal. The dosa batter is made of rice and black gram, then fermented.
Dosa waffles can be served in the same way as regular dosa or turned into a sweet-savory treat with the addition of fruit, nuts, or chocolate.
8. Spaghetti Naporitan
Although it seems like fusion food is a newer invention, it’s actually been happening around the globe for centuries. Trade routes brought new faces to new lands, and with them new ingredients and new cooking techniques.
Yōshoku cuisine is a subset of Japanese cuisine that began in the late 19th century as Western influences began to be accepted within Japan for the first time. One of the most typical dishes of Yōshoku cuisine is Spaghetti Naporitan. This dish is made with spaghetti noodles pan-fried in a tomato or ketchup-based sauce and topped with various ingredients like sausages, bacon, green peppers, or mushrooms. It was invented by a chef in Yokohama, who based it on rations that foreign soldiers brought into the country.
9. Bulgogi Burrito
Burritos are a popular inspiration point for fusion chefs because the possibilities are just endless. Anything can be a meal if it’s wrapped up in a tortilla, which is the case with these bulgogi burritos.
Bulgogi is the perfect centerpiece for a fusion dish. This Korean favorite is made with thin slices of marinated meat that are grilled or pan-fried and eaten with rice, in soup, or even on its own. It serves as the perfect centerpiece because the grilled meat is thin and easy to eat but carries enough flavor so it doesn’t get overwhelmed by the rice and other burrito toppings. Typical toppings include sliced daikon, kimchi, and cabbage.
10. Butter Chicken Poutine
One of Canada’s most famous dishes is poutine. This indulgent dish involves a pile of French fries mixed with squeaky cheese curds doused in gravy.
Although there are places all around Quebec that serve a huge variety of poutine — including calorie-bombs packed with smoked meat or hot dogs — the most popular is the butter chicken poutine. Made with French fries and cheese curds, the butter chicken poutine is then topped with rich Indian butter chicken sauce and eaten as quickly as possible.
11. Ice Cream Trdelník
Trdelníks, which are also known as kürtőskalács or chimney cakes, are a popular Eastern European street snack. Formed in giant spirals around a spit, the cakes are then rotated over coals until they’re crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Typically, the cakes are rolled in powdered sugar, walnut, or cinnamon before being sliced and served.
Since these cakes have been exposed to tourists from other cultures, many enterprising bakers are treating them like giant ice cream cones. So, they’re filling them with soft-serve before serving them to eager patrons.