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Fusion Asian/modern take on Asian dishes


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Just wondering what's everyone's perspective on the many modern/fusion take on Asian dishes that's popping up everywhere these days.

A good thing? Not your liking?

Better than the orignal? Should be sinned?

Im my own experiences, I do enjoy some dishes (for eg, I LOVE Japanese cheese curry on tonkatsu) but there has also been the obvious 'too strange for my liking' (eg butter ramen...this combination isn't all that odd but I still found it tremendously GROSS! Couldn't finish it). Either way, I always like to give all of them a try because any strange combinations of food really intrigues me. And you never know -some could be surprisingly lip-smackingly good!

Here are some to get your mind joggling :wink:

And please do not hesitate to post any other fusion dishes you can find :)

CHEESE bibambap (very strange concept to me -never tried it before. I love the original dolsot bibimbap though).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/musingsorchards/299479126/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/musingsorchards/299495281/

Butter ramen

http://www.flickr.com/photos/38041785@N00/261862819/

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Sushi

http://www.flickr.com/photos/crocidillicus/372847405/

Bacon Cheese sushi with chips

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ballerinagirl/352584047/

Ice Cream ramen (!)

http://www.japanitup.com/wp-content/upload...eam-ramen-1.jpg

Chicken meat stir-fried with rice and cheese

http://www.flickr.com/photos/saesae/533191308/

Oyster sauce fried rice with cheese

http://www.flickr.com/photos/silentnoon/1501103880/

Kimchi rice with cheese

http://www.flickr.com/photos/still_learning/295773083/

Cheese spring roll

http://www.flickr.com/photos/yi/58244399/

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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I don't know; in Japan, the average domestic butter is nicer than the average US butter I can find. And milk can easily be better too, or at least closer to what I knew in Europe.

Butter ramen is, if I'm not mistaken, a Hokkaido thing, and my Hokkaido friends are often nostalgiac for it.

Butter and soy sauce is a magical combination, and finds good use in izakaya dishes (corn, renkon, and a few other things).

Cheese can be excellent in okonomiyaki unless the cheese is the scary processed stuff.

Cheese in spring rolls, like tomato-basil-mozzarella, or brie-nori, or umeboshi-shiso-camembert, can also be quite nice.

The balance can be tricky to get right, but at least with a Japanese approach to ingredients I've seen some very successful uses of dairy products in dishes that don't customarily have them.

That being said, I've generally been less happy with fusions in the hands of trendy, young American chefs who don't know their source cuisines very well.

I absolutely cannot accept the use of dairy products in these cuisines, not only because when these products are used no care is taken with their quality. Unnecessary and disgusting.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Contrived, cross cultural, food pairings can sometimes be surprisingly great and some disappoint. But this is true for all cuisines, some pairings work and others do not.

Jean George Vongerichten seems to be able to make such pairings work well. He has a new cookbook, The Asian Flavours Of Jean-George.

I would not turn my nose at something I have not tried yet. Good or bad, you will learn something if you try it first.

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JasonTrue, would butter ramen be considered 'authentic' then? Hmm...that's interesting.

Yes, it seems the Japanese are quite masters of this fusion business. They do it often. After all, Japanese mayonnaise is well incorporated into their cuisine now that noone even bats an eye at the sight of it.

Fugu: Jean George Vongerichten sounds really interesting. Does he do spins on Asian dishes o Asian spins on French dishes?

Edited by Ce'nedra (log)

Musings and Morsels - a film and food blog

http://musingsandmorsels.weebly.com/

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Fugu: Jean George Vongerichten sounds really interesting. Does he do spins on Asian dishes o Asian spins on French dishes?

Hmm, good question! My comment was based on his reputation as a great Chef and the release of his recent book, one that I have not browsed through yet.

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For me, "authentic" Japanese cuisine is not really about ingredients, but about techniques and the approach to ingredients. I've had ohitashi that had a little Parmesan cheese in them which were more Japanese than the dishes than some of the most popular dishes at "Japanese" restaurants in the US.

Mostly Japanese cuisine is about waking up ingredients, so it's marked mostly by "assari" (light) and "sappari" (refreshing) flavors. More hearty dishes like ramen, built on a Chinese foundation but altered for Japanese sensibilities, can be accented with something that, at its essence, is not incompatible with the dish. Ramen's character is defined by its fat, and using something like butter as a finishing touch would not necessarily be shocking or jarring in that context. Some Japanese will find butter ramen too oily, but it certainly resonates with some people. (The further West you go in Japan the less likely people would appreciate the concept; Hokkaido people, on the other hand, tend to like butter.)

Though I do avoid most Japanese dishes that involve processed cheese, because they don't seem well balanced to me (and I don't like most processed cheese) it's certainly not at all shocking to see judicious use of cheese or dairy in Japanese dishes.

Tempura is not indigenously Japanese, and yet it is certainly Japanese; Japanese ramen is based loosely on a Chinese dish, and yet the Japanese variants can be instantly recognized as Japanese and decidedly not Chinese. Ingredients and even techniques can be morphed into a Japanese context. I'm not sure I can adequately explain what the distinction between a Japanese dish and a non-Japanese dish that uses Japanese ingredients, but I know it when I see it (and taste it).

Authenticity is a much more complex question than simply enumerating appropriate ingredients that mark a cuisine. I wouldn't go so far as to say that all kinds of Japanese food can be altered with butter or cheese, but I wouldn't instantly discount the authenticity of a dish merely due to their presence. Broccoli isn't Japanese, but tastes convincingly Japanese in preparations like ohitashi (not, however, in tempura... and I can't explain why).

Because I think soy sauce can be worked into "authentic" French cuisine and butter or cheese can be worked into decidedly Japanese cuisine, I find it hard to argue that it's impossible to make such ingredients work in Chinese or Korean food.

But in many cases, the initial experiments with incorporating such ingredients are far from successful; the garish yellow slices of pasteurized process slices on the bibimbap don't resonate with me, for example, because I can't think of much of a place for amorphous blobs of tangy melting fat emulsions nor for ingredients of that particular color on bibimbap. If I were going to pick a Western ingredient to put on bibimbap, I'd sooner choose blanched fresh green beans or dry-fried chanterelles with a little soy sauce and dried korean chili flakes; the ingredients at least have functional analogs in more conventional bibimbap preparations.

If I were to put cheese into Chinese cuisine, I'd put it in baozi or jiaozi before I'd threw it into some red-cooked stir fried dish... Perhaps halloumi might work in such a case, sliced into thin, dry tofu like slices, with a hit in sizzling oil to slightly brown before incorporating other ingredients.

JasonTrue, would butter ramen be considered 'authentic' then? Hmm...that's interesting.

Yes, it seems the Japanese are quite masters of this fusion business. They do it often. After all, Japanese mayonnaise is well incorporated into their cuisine now that noone even bats an eye at the sight of it.

Fugu: Jean George Vongerichten sounds really interesting. Does he do spins on Asian dishes o Asian spins on French dishes?

Edited by JasonTrue (log)

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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that cheese bibimbop reminds me of this awful dish my korean mother used to make:

boil noodles

drain

add jar of tomato sauce

top with slice of american processed cheese

stir

): I would much rather eat bibimbop with cheese than my mom's half assed attempt at spaghetti w/sauce (LOVE YOU MOM <3)

cheese + korean food isn't a new thing..it's been around for quite awhile....probably since the korean war. Cheese is sometimes added to budae jigae, but I prefer it with spam and hot dogs.

how about kimchi chocolates? That would draw the line for me.

eta: I can't believe you hate dakuan. I love that stuff and my sister hates it too. she always "pushes" it out her kimbap. I like it drenched in rice vinegar or ponzu. I would eat a whole radish dakuan if I had some good ponzu :wub:

eta again: that's not your flickr page...nevermind :/

Edited by SheenaGreena (log)
BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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I also don't consider butter ramen to be "fusion," nor do I find it to be the least bit odd in the context of food in Japan. If butter ramen is "fusion," then you could say the same about a lot of common foods eaten in Japan.

I absolutely cannot accept the use of dairy products in these cuisines

I'm not sure what "these cuisines" refers to, but dairy is a huge part of the Japanese diet, so it's entirely natural to find dishes with dairy products in them. Who are we to define what the Japanese (or Koreans, or Chinese) eat? At least as far as Japan is concerned, food is constantly evolving and will continue to evolve, with both successes and disappointments along the way.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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Those are some controversial images!

It can be exciting to see chefs messing about with well established "classics". It's also important to know the rules before you break them, and to be aware of the message you may be sending your diners. Fusion/confusion cuisine, in my experience, will offend just as often as it will delight the consumers.

To use an Anglo expression, the proof is in the pudding - I would not discount any of those creations without tasting them first.

That "blueberry cream cheese sushi" has given me an idea . . . lose the nori and replace the sticky rice with sticky Rice Krispies . . . now you've got something.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Some of those items I'd consider inedible without trying, but that has more to do with my hostility to day-glo cheese.

That "blueberry cream cheese sushi" has given me an idea . . . lose the nori and replace the sticky rice with sticky Rice Krispies . . . now you've got something.

Already been done... See http://kookisushi.com/ (though blueberry flavor doesn't seem to have come up yet)

Edited by JasonTrue (log)

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I don't really see any problem with Asian chefs introducing "Western" ingredients into their cuisine.

Obviously, buddechiggae is one of the classics, with hot dogs and processed cheese, while tuna and cheese ramen (for the late night drinking crowd) is also right up there.

But the introduction of dairy products into East Asian cuisine has been going on as long as the Mongols have been going tourist on horseback. More recently, the popularity of ice cream in China (and elsewhere) has led to a striking rise in the cost of milk in North America as powder milk has become a major export item. ( I have shots of windrows of ice cream wrappers in Xi'an this last Spring, and I still remember the Hmong spitting out those same wrappers after a good day in the market in Sapa back in the 90's).

Why be outraged at such matters? I mess around with curries and bonito stocks in my kitchen. Why can't my friends in Korea, Japan, or China likewise discover the joys of Velveeta?

:biggrin:

I like the idea of blueberries.

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