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Confusion Cuisine

The epitome of fusion cuisine.

I’ve grown very tired of the phrase “fusion cuisine.” Restaurants like to smear it over their mission statement like they’re getting away with something—as though a culture is married to its traditions, and integrating them with another’s is infidelity. Now that technology has made distance entirely practical, can any flavor still be deemed exotic? There’s no modern equivalent of the conquistador returning with culinary treasures from a foreign land; there’s just the spicy shit you ordered on Cost Plus World Market’s website from the assholes two countries over.

Fusion cuisine is also nothing new. When I discovered Persian food a week ago, its overall flavor eluded me. Not because it pinged outside my salivary radar, but because it was something my mouth already knew. It was neither as light as Greek nor as spicy as Indian, yet clearly inspired by both. Looking at a globe, I quickly figured out why: Iran is the median point of the two regions (it’s almost like it’s in the middle of the East, go figure), and any trading between them would’ve crossbred there—like divorced parents meeting halfway to swap kids.

The same thing is being practiced today, but we call our pack mules planes and anywhere can become the median point with the click of that thing in your hand. Unless you’re on a MacBook Air with its fancy Multi-Touch trackpad… in which case, aren’t you fucking special? Buy me one.

Generic Stir Fry with Shrimp

Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees, look at these.

  • 3/4 lb shrimp
  • 2 baby bok choy
  • 2 Japanese eggplant
  • 8–10 shiitake mushrooms
  • 7 oz package enoki mushrooms
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp plum sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Clean and devein shrimp. Mix soy sauce, plum sauce, ginger, 1 tsp minced garlic, Sriracha and sesame oil, then pour over shrimp to marinate. Chop veggies (except shallot) into similar size pieces. Heat wok over medium high heat. Add oil, 1 tsp garlic and shallot. Stir fry for about 30 seconds, then add eggplant and bok choy. When they are almost cooked, add mushrooms and cook until done. Remove veggies from wok and add shrimp and marinade. Stir fry for about 2 minutes or until shrimp is almost cooked through. Add veggies back in, stir to incorporate and remove from heat. Serve with rice.

Fusion cuisine is little more than novel puffery—a twisting of words to sell an idea for more than its factory direct value. “All natural” is another good example of this. Whether your green fingers are picking raw corn fresh from the stalk, or they’re sanitizing the pesticides from a genetically modified, chemically treated, pasteurized husk, everything is the result of what was universally available to happen. Dress it up with pretty language all you’d like, but until the final boss is summoned, and its nine black mouths tear into its own flesh like the Ouroboros, irrigating our farmlands with the unholy blood of Red Dye No. 666, I promise everything you put into your body is all natural in the most literal sense. And, yes, all natural fusion cuisine is double stupid.

TWTG says, “I can do things with bagels that don’t require cream cheese.”


13 responses »

  1. You know what else wears me out? Tapas, or just saying ‘small plates’. Also saying ‘nom nom’. Anyone who says this is a fucking baby.

  2. I’m with Bill. Also, fusion is usually put about by cooks who know neither of the cuisines that they are confusing. Add a bit of chili to a cheese roll and you have “East meets West in an explosion of fiery heat underpinned by that creamy goodness we all know and love.” Don’t make me barf.

  3. Portland is a serious foodie kingdom and people are ridiculous about food here. My favorite fusion restaurant and I can’t remember the name and I’m sure they are out of business….
    Asian/Italian fusion. I shit you not.

    Just FYI, fusion guy….Asian’s don’t eat cheese and um, Italians do occasionally, I mean when they are awake.

  4. Marco Polo brought pasta to Italy from China and Spanish explorers brought the Tomato to Europe from South America. Take that Italians! Your Bolognese sauce is fusion.

  5. Is it any wonder that the word ‘confusion’ exists… I mean, when you break it down its quite simple really… CON & FUSION!

  6. i am writing you ON a macbook air. sorry, as much as i love you, you’re going to have to buy your own. (i know i’m SO far behind on these puppies. i’ll catch up, i will.)

    • And I’m working backwards replying to you and having to refresh my memory about what I said – LOL – I’m getting that damn Macbook eventually. At least I have a big ass iMac that has done very good work for me. (Oh aren’t we all artistic and shit with our Macs.)


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