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With so many places where you can enjoy a good meal, it can be overwhelming to try new foods and flavors. One way to breakdown the options is to select a specific food that you want to try. To get the best of both worlds though, you can always look into trying food fusions. Food fusion is currently one of the trendiest forms of cooking.
Combining culinary traditions from at least two different countries or regions into one dish, fusion foods put a new twist on favorite food staples. Some restaurants are wholly dedicated to fusion meals—either featuring dishes from one pairing, such as Anglo-Indian cuisine, or offering foods from a variety of regional combinations. Even traditional restaurants may offer a fusion dish here and there as chefs experiment with blending old favorites into new and exciting fare.
Fusion foods can be an excellent introduction to a new culture and its culinary styles— especially for those who might be picky or apprehensive about trying new foods, as they blend new flavors with those that you are likely already familiar with. If you've been a bit wary about trying an unfamiliar food, then a fusion dish can acclimate your taste buds by pairing this distinct flavor with an familiar favorite.
So if you are feeling adventurous and looking to expand your culinary palate, try these five fusion foods that are sure to whet your appetite.
Thai Red Curry Risotto
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This dish takes a northern Italian staple and infuses it with a traditional Thai flavor. Made from arborio rice, risotto is a standard and classic dish in Italy. This rice dish is often paired with all sorts of flavors, including mushrooms, seafood, and butternut squash. While risotto is not devoid of its own flavor, it has a very subtle taste that makes it a perfect accompaniment to stronger flavors.
It is the ideal vehicle for the creamy sauce made of red curry paste and coconut milk that is traditional to Thailand. Not too spicy and a bit sweet, red curry is a good segue into Thai spices if this is new territory for you. Many versions of this dish will add in basil, soy sauce, and baby bok choy to achieve a more authentic Thai flavor profile. Likewise, you may also find this dish topped with tomatoes or pineapple, as is traditional for red curry dishes.
Chicken Katsu Scotch Egg
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You can't go wrong with this melding of an old British favorite and a favorite Japanese street food. The scotch egg, believed to have been invented in London in the 1700s, is now a staple at most pubs in the UK. In the traditional version, a whole egg is boiled and immediately chilled; once peeled, the egg is coated in sausage and breadcrumbs, and then baked or fried.
When prepared for the Japanese fusion recipe, a fried chicken cutlet infused with a Japanese curry sauce replaces the patterned outer layers of the scotch egg. Instead of the usual savory flavor of the sausage, the katsu curry gives the scotch egg a sweeter taste. Another variation to try would be to substitute pork for the chicken, as pork katsu is also very common in Japan, and would make a perfect accompaniment for the flavor of the scotch egg.
Brussel Sprout Sushi
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There seem to be only two mindsets when it comes to brussel sprouts: you either really love them or truly hate them. The lovers of this vegetable are convinced that those who dislike brussel sprouts have never had them prepared correctly. With that in mind, brussel sprout sushi is a fusion food you must try regardless of your relationship with this vegetable. In this concoction, the brussel sprouts are pan-fried, which cuts some of the bitterness of the vegetable and gives it a nice crunchy texture.
The sprouts are then chopped and enveloped within the traditional sushi roll layers of nori and white rice. Not only does anything taste good fried, but the nutty and savory texture of the vegetable is also balanced out by the subtle flavors of the rice and seaweed. There has never been a more delicious way to eat your vegetables.
Beef and Kimchi Fried Rice
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This fusion dish combines components of Chinese and Korean cuisine. Kimchi is a mix of vegetables, typically cabbage and radishes, that are fermented, salted and seasoned. It is a household staple within Korean culture, and is served at nearly every meal. While it can be eaten on its own, it is usually served as a side dish. Kimchi has a very strong and distinct flavor, which can be overwhelming and a bit disconcerting to those with less adventurous palates.
However, the combination of the marinated beef and stir-fried rice subdues and balances out the sour and spicy flavors of the kimchi. Some versions also include a whole fried egg with a runny yolk atop the dish, which adds yet another layer of flavor to the meal. If you are a kimchi novice, this fusion food is the perfect way to try it out.
Kung Pao Chicken Tacos
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With more and more taquerias popping up in the UK, tacos are currently a very trendy and popular food. As you strive to sample all of the traditional fillings, this fun fusion food should be on your list. An interesting twist on the traditional taco, this mashup of Chinese and Mexican cuisine offers a sweet heat in place of the typical savory and spicy flavors.
Kung pao chicken is traditionally prepared by stir frying chicken with peanuts, chili peppers, and vegetables. The soft taco shell transforms this into a more portable street food. The toppings of green onions, celery, and bell pepper are also reminiscent of Asian dishes, and combine nicely with the chicken and tortillas to provide an overall delicious dish.
Fusion foods, while not an entirely new concept, are increasing in popularity and ubiquity. These dishes are bringing together the cuisines of different regions to create new flavor combinations for foodies and the casual diner alike.
This trend is also bringing more exposure and awareness to traditional foods in cultures that may be otherwise unfamiliar to us. As we become increasingly interconnected with people in other countries across the globe, it only makes sense that this unification would be reflected in the food that we eat.
Start preparing your own food fusions by shopping for kitchen essentials from Prepara.