Fusion Confusion: Experiencing Fusion Cuisine
Posted on January 29, 2013
Today’s guest blog is by Samantha Samonte who writes for Culinary One, a blog about food and all its scrumptious glory. She spends the rest of her time guest blogging for other websites.
Since the 16th century, fusing ingredients among cultures has been a culinary practice. While it has been common practice for centuries, fusing one’s cultural recipe with another remained ambiguous— not until the 20th century when the term “Fusion Cuisine” came to be a buzzword.
Breaking Away from the Norm
Monickered by critics to be a “Con Fusion”, when in the ‘90’s culinary fresh grads wishing to break away from the norm, coining the label Fusion Cuisine, did not succeed in fusing diverse ingredients successfully. Many chefs since then veered away from the phrase rather calling their cuisines more artistic labels such as “global”, “contemporary”, “neo” or “modern.”
And like many mediums of artistry, finding the balance within your style is part of the journey.
But how does one exactly “cook up” the perfectly infused dish?
Recently I was able to explore this question in an interview with renowned chef and friend Him Uy de Baron, a fusion cuisine practitioner and owner of Nomama – a global Japanese restaurant in Manila. Read more to find out just what is it about Fusion Cuisine that is gaining much popularity worldwide.
Of course, I also had the special privilege to have a go at his best infused recipes to date. Safe to say, there weren’t any plates left unattended to and no belts left unadjusted.
From One Chef to a Fusion Enthusiast
Chef Him Uy de Baron states that the challenge is to thoroughly understand the flavors and ingredients of the original food. Knowing which elements to retain, and which ones to replace or enhance. And of course the “Boom Moment”, when an idea hits you, you hit it back while it’s hot.
Chef de Baron prefers to experiment with Asian flavors and finds combining salty, sour, sweet, bitter and spicy relatively easy. “…because each of the flavor’s palatability is somehow related to one another”, he shares.
Diving Deeper into Fused Ingredients
Pictured here is this month’s must try: A lunch set combining Japanese with Thai-French, Korean Kimchi and Caramelized Japanese Miso with good ‘ol chocolate. As the menu lines: Japanese Salad and Mini Banh Mi as appetizer, Wagyu Beef & Kimchi Fried Rice for my main meal and Miso Caramel Chocolate Bar for dessert.
Curiously I asked Chef de Baron: Why Miso and Caramel? To which he answered: It’s a twist to the Salted Caramel.
Hence, the perfect example of replacing ingredients by knowing the elements involved. Simply by knowing that Miso is salty, it was the perfect candidate to replace Salt in the standard Salted Caramel.
What’s the Verdict?
The freshness of the Japanese Salad complemented well with the Banh Mi. The Kimchi spiced up the melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu Beef well, which by the way, was locally sourced (A big plus, I might say!) Lastly, the dessert was just superb! I was greatly overwhelmed by idea of putting miso into my caramel.
To truly enjoy the flavorful journey of fusion cuisine, one should have a genuine interest in the diverse natures of the different foods. So if you’re interested in exploring how one cuisine mixes and marries with the others, then culinary training is a good start. Another step is for you to choose only the freshest products and source out local and organic ingredients whenever possible.
All these are what makes a successful Con Fusion.