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Culinary Central

Cuisine Spotlight: Asian Fusion

September 20, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Los Angeles 0 Comments

Fusion cuisine is a style of cooking that uses ingredients and techniques from around the world, especially one that combines Eastern and Western influences. This blending of culinary traditions of two or more nations to create innovative and interesting dishes is a trend that is as old as the history of cooking. When early civilizations connected along trade routes they exchanged more than just trade goods. They exchanged their cultures including their culinary cultures. New dishes and new ingredients were introduced and eventually became part of the local cuisine.

The popular concept of fusion cuisine came about in the 1970s and 80s when chefs began intentionally pairing European cuisine with Asian cuisine. Today, one may find Vietnamese spring rolls on a French menu, while a wasabi raspberry reduction may be found on grilled pork tenderloin.

Some food purists have lamented the pairing of disparate food items on a single plate. These critics, however, have lost their voice in the face of such an overwhelmingly positive response to fusion cuisine. Asian fusion cuisine is here to stay.

Asian Fusion: A Hollywood Culinary Tradition

One of the earliest practitioners of Asian fusion is Hollywood cooking legend, Wolfgang Puck. His restaurant, Chinois, is one of the best examples of Asian fusion restaurants in the world famous Hollywood culinary scene. Puck has been combining Asian dishes with fresh California ingredients, and traditional French cooking techniques since 1983. Looking at the Chinois menu, you can see the melding of cultures with dishes like sweet Maine crab and pork shumai with chili oil and rice vinegar or whole sizzling catfish with ginger and ponzu sauce.

The Los Angeles Culinary Scene

If there is one rule for the menus of restaurants in Los Angeles it is that anything goes. As such, Asian fusion is no stranger to the refined tastes of the Hollywood cooking and dining elite. In fact, it is one of the most notable aspects of the famous California cuisine.

Since Chinois’s groundbreaking opening, Asian fusion cuisine has taken root not only in the Los Angeles culinary community but throughout the United States. Every major American city has several noteworthy Asian fusion restaurants to boast about. There is even a national restaurant chain famous for its Asian fusion cuisine. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro’s menu reads like a who’s who of Southeast Asian dishes. Coconut curry vegetables are listed alongside wild Alaskan citrus soy salmon and Asian marinated New York strip steak.

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