Gobi Manchurian is an Indian–Chinese fusion dish, consisting of fried cauliflower. The dish is popular throughout India and Indian restaurants as well as South Asian restaurants around the world.
Example of a fusion dish: combination of smoked salmon wrapped in rice paper, with avocado, cucumber and crab sticks

Fusion cuisine is a cuisine that combines elements of different culinary traditions that originate from different countries, regions, or cultures. Cuisines of this type are not categorized according to any one particular cuisine style and have played a part in many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s.[1]

The term fusion cuisine, added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2002, is defined as "a style of cookery which blends ingredients and methods of preparation from different countries, regions, or ethnic groups; food cooked in this style."[2]


Pancit palabok in Filipino cuisine, combines rice noodles and tofu from China with native smoked fish flakes in a shrimp sauce dyed bright orange with annatto seeds from Mexico and garnished with crushed chicharon from Spain. It is served spritzed with native calamansi.

Fusion food is created by combining various cooking techniques from different cultures to produce a new type of cuisine. Although it is commonly invented by chefs, fusion cuisine can occur naturally. Cuisines which get fused can either come from a particular region (such as East Asian cuisine and European cuisine), sub-region (such as Southwestern American cuisine and New Mexican cuisine) or a country (such as Chinese cuisine, Japanese cuisine, Korean cuisine, French cuisine, Italian cuisine).

Asian fusion restaurants which combine the various cuisines of different Asian countries have become popular in many parts of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. Often featured are East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian dishes alongside one another and offering dishes that are inspired combinations of such cuisines.[3] California cuisine is considered a fusion culture, taking inspiration particularly from Italy, France, Mexico], the idea of the European delicatessen, and East Asia, and then creating traditional dishes from these cultures with non-traditional ingredients – such as California pizza. In Australia, due to immigration, fusion cuisine is being reinvented and is becoming increasingly the norm at numerous cafes and restaurants, with Asian-fusion restaurants like Tetsuya's in Sydney ranking highly in The World's 50 Best Restaurants.[4]

In the United Kingdom, fish and chips can be seen as an early fusion dish due to its marrying of ingredients stemming from Jewish, French, and Belgian cuisines.[5][6]

Filipino cuisine is sometimes characterized as the "original Asian fusion cuisine", combining native culinary traditions and ingredients with the very different cuisines of China, Spain, Malaysia, Thailand and Mongolia, among others, due to its unique colonial history.[7] Food in Malaysia (also Indonesia) is another example of fusion cuisine which blends Malay, Javanese, Chinese and Indian and light influences from Thai, Portuguese, Dutch, and British cuisines.[8] Oceanic cuisine combines the different cuisines of the various island nations.[9]


Another form of fusion food can be created by utilizing ingredients and flavors from one culture to create a unique twist on a dish from the different cultures. For example, a taco pizza is a type of pizza created using taco ingredients such as cheddar and pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans, and other common taco ingredients, fusing both Italian and Mexican cuisines.[10]

Similar approaches have been used for fusion sushi, such as rolling maki with different types of rice and ingredients such as curry and basmati rice, cheese and salsa with Spanish rice, or spiced ground lamb and capers rolled with Greek-style rice and grape leaves, which resembles inside-out dolmades. Some fusion cuisines have themselves become accepted as a national cuisine, as with Peruvian Nikkei cuisine, which combines Japanese spices and seasonings and Peruvian ingredients like ají with seafood. A quintessential Peruvian Nikkei dish is "maki acevichado" or "ceviche roll", consisting of ceviche with avocado rolled into maki.[11]

Saudi Arabia has been investing in resources to preserve their culture. In Jeddah, different cultures from Africa and Asia have used the combination of Saudi Arabia's spices to create new fusion foods found throughout the region and the country.[12]


Kaeng phet pet yang (Thai roast duck curry) is an example of early fusion cuisine of the cosmopolitan court of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, combining Thai red curry, Chinese roast duck, and grapes originally from Persia.
Traditional Ethiopian cuisine blended with Texas-style barbeque, including pork, smoked brisket, and Texas toast

Fusion cuisine has existed for millennia as a form of cross-cultural exchange, though the term was only defined in the late 1900s. Mixtures of different cultures' cuisines have been adapted since the 16th century.


A lasting legacy of colonialism is fusion food. Colonial trade resulted in the exchange of ingredients, such as bánh mì originating from French ingredients used in French Indochina, Jamaican patties combining the turnover with spices and peppers from the British Empire's possessions in Asia and Africa, and ramen originating as "shina soba" or "Chinese noodle" from the Empire of Japan's occupation of China's island territories in the late 1800s and early 1900s.[13][14] Indigenous domestic servants were active participants in creating fusion foods by mixing ingredients and techniques.[15]

Alongside the creation of new dishes, colonialism also introduced class dimensions of food as cultural capital that modified consumption patterns.[16] Indigenous practices of eating guinea pigs in Peru were banned and considered savage until recent movements to reclaim food practices, resulting in the erasure of much traditional knowledge in indigenous communities.[17] These hierarchies are argued to be present in modern fusion food, which has been criticised for being portrayed as European cuisines 'elevating' other cuisines into modernity.[18] Colonial debates also extend into discourse about the authenticity of foods such as the origins of Chicken tikka masala, and orientalist critiques of immigrant food being gentrified as ‘ethnic’ food.[19]

Adaptation to local palates

In a climate of increasing globalization, where cultures and cuisines frequently cross-borders, cooking and food evolves to cater to the palates of the local communities, a phenomenon known as "glocalization", a portmanteau of "localization" and "globalization".” Fusion cuisine is sometimes created by multinational restaurants, especially fast food chains. A primary example of this corporate globalized expansion is in the case of McDonald's regional menus which are adapted to "reflect different tastes and local traditions for every country in which we have restaurants".[20] In addition to catering to the regional food traditions, McDonald's also takes an additional consideration for religious beliefs and laws, as seen in the absence of beef and pork items on Indian menus.

Beyond accounting for the cultural or religious differences in cuisine, some fusion foods have also been created to fit the taste preferences of local communities when ethnic or cultural foods from abroad were introduced. A hallmark example of this adaptation is in the popular sushi roll, the California roll, which was created in America in the latter half of the 20th-century. A popular myth behind its composition containing crab, vegetables, and rice on the exterior cites the American aversion to foreign ingredients such as raw fish and seaweed.

These adjustments to foreign cuisines have both corporate and historical origins. In the example of McDonald's, the creation of regional menus can be seen as an economic choice to cater to the local palates and traditions. Another example of popularized fusion foods is the Korean stew budae-jjigae, which was created by combining American ingredients of Spam, Vienna sausages,and sliced cheese, in a kimchi stew in the wake of the Korean War during which American tastes and influence were prevalent in Korea.[21]

Role of immigration

Immigrants play a significant role in shaping modern fusion cuisine.[22]  Food can often be a form of cultural expression that fosters a relationship with one's heritage, and fusion can emerge from creating foods from immigrant's adaptation of their own cultural food to the ingredients available in the host country or region. Immigrants may adapt the use of their cultural ingredients to local culinary traditions. For example, Vietnamese immigrants in the Southern United States used Vietnamese condiments in traditionally Creole cuisine, while adhering to Southern cooking methods.[23] Similarly, the establishment of American Chinese cuisine has origins in Chinese-owned small businesses in American ghettos and Chinatowns, with many of these restaurants responsible for the adaptation of Chinese cuisine to American paletes.

Immigrants may also adapt their cultural flavors to the availability of ingredients in the host country: Indian-Chinese cuisine shaped by Chinese immigrants to British-ruled India often uses Indian spice and flavor profiles such as garam masala and turmeric.[24] As such, immigrant-founded fusion cuisines also play a role in shaping food culture in the host country by introducing new flavors and ingredients.

Indian-Chinese cuisine is an example of how gradual migration and exchange across shared international borders contributes to fusion cuisine. Similar cases are Sino-Korean food emerging from Chinese diasporas in Korea and shared borders between Korea and Northeastern China, and Mexican-American cuisine influenced by Mexican immigration to the Southwest United States that combines Mexican, Indigenous American, and European flavors.  

The convergence of two or more immigrant groups in a different host country can also lead to the emergence of fusion cuisines. Chinese and Latin American immigrants to the United States have collaboratively founded fusion restaurants, serving dishes such as Chinese dumplings filled with traditional slow-roasted pork from the Yucatàn Peninsula.[25] In the United States, Asian fusion cuisine can constitute pan-Asian multi-ethnic ingredients such as rice, leading to a newfound form of "American" Asian food unfound in Asia.[26] One popular example of pan-Asian fusion food found in North America is the rice bowl, often with ingredients commonly used together in Asia such as garlic with chili, stir-fried vegetables with tofu.[27] This illustrates the dynamic process between fusion food and its relationship with intercultural solidarity, influenced by both local and other immigrant cultures.

Modern fusion food

Japanese cooking techniques were combined with French techniques in 1970s France to create nouvelle cuisine.[28]

Wolfgang Puck is attributed as one of the pioneers of fusion cuisine, with some dispute.[13] However, his restaurant Chinois on Main was named after the term attributed to Richard Wing, who in the 1960s combined French and Chinese cooking at the former Imperial Dynasty restaurant in Hanford, California.[29]

Chef Norman Van Aken was the first person to use the term "fusion cooking" as he delivered a speech at a symposium in Santa Fe in 1988. Soon journalist Regina Schrambling wrote about Van Aken's work and the term spread around the globe.[30] Norman Van Aken ended his speech by discussing the history of fusion cuisine, such as the use of coffee in Italian cuisine.[31] Van Aken related this to coffee being used in different desserts such as Calabrian ricotta with chocolate mousse.[32]

See also


  1. ^ Lindsey, Robert (1985-08-18). "California grows her own cuisine". New York Times.
  2. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". www.oed.com. Archived from the original on 2022-12-12. Retrieved 2022-12-12.
  3. ^ "Asian Cuisine & Foods : Asian-Nation :: Asian American History, Demographics, & Issues". Asian-Nation. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  4. ^ "World Food Cuisines". Retrieved 16 Nov 2016.
  5. ^ Black, Les (1996). New Ethnicities And Urban Cult. Oxford: Routledge. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-85728-251-1.
  6. ^ Alexander, James (18 December 2009). "The unlikely origin of fish and chips". BBC News. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
  7. ^ Halpern, Sue; McKibben, Bill (May 2015). "Filipino Cuisine Was Asian Fusion Before "Asian Fusion" Existed". Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Asia's original fusion food". Mark C O'Flaherty. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
  9. ^ "What is Fusion Cuisine?". Wise Geek. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  10. ^ "Taco Pizza Recipe". All Recipes. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  11. ^ Takenaka, Ayumi (2017). "Immigrant integration through food: Nikkei cuisine in Peru". Contemporary Japan. 29 (2): 117–131. doi:10.1080/18692729.2017.1351022. S2CID 134330815.
  12. ^ Radke, Heather; Al-Senan, Maha (2015). "Fusion Cuisine and Bedouin Handcraft: the Transformative Power of Heritage Preservation in Saudi Arabia". The Public Historian. 37 (2): 89–96. doi:10.1525/tph.2015.37.2.89. ISSN 0272-3433. JSTOR 10.1525/tph.2015.37.2.89.
  13. ^ a b Magazine, Smithsonian. "Sorry, Wolfgang, Fusion Foods Have Been With Us for Centuries". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2022-12-12.
  14. ^ "The History of Fusion Cuisine". Exquisite Taste. 2015-12-04. Retrieved 2022-12-12.
  15. ^ Cox, Rosie (September 2013). "Food Culture in Colonial Asia: A Taste of Empire". Asian Studies Review. 37 (3): 402–403. doi:10.1080/10357823.2013.823845. ISSN 1035-7823.
  16. ^ "Colonization, Food, and the Practice of Eating – Food Empowerment Project". Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  17. ^ defrance, Susan D. (January 2006). "The Sixth Toe: The Modern Culinary Role of the Guinea Pig In Southern Peru". Food and Foodways. 14 (1): 3–34. doi:10.1080/07409710500334517. ISSN 0740-9710.
  18. ^ Janer, Zilkia (March 2007). "(IN)EDIBLE NATURE: New world food and coloniality". Cultural Studies. 21 (2–3): 385–405. doi:10.1080/09502380601162597. ISSN 0950-2386.
  19. ^ "Why we need to stop calling immigrant food 'ethnic'". The Independent. 2017-09-20. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  20. ^ "Why is the McDonald's menu different in different countries?". www.mcdonalds.com. Retrieved 2023-08-26.
  21. ^ Hong, Ashley (2021-01-01). "Korean Fusion: Consuming a Globalized Korea Through Food and Music". Honors Theses.
  22. ^ "Beyond the 'shame' narrative: How immigrants express culture through food". The Varsity. 2021-12-06. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  23. ^ Chen, Natasha (2023-05-13). "These Asian fusion cuisines tell an American story". CNN. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  24. ^ Sankar, Amal (2017-12-01). "Creation of Indian–Chinese cuisine: Chinese food in an Indian city". Journal of Ethnic Foods. 4 (4): 268–273. doi:10.1016/j.jef.2017.10.002. ISSN 2352-6181.
  25. ^ "Mexican-Chinese Food". Bon Appétit. 2013-02-25. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  26. ^ "Asian Fusion Cuisine and the Tug and Pull of Foreign Identity". Brown Political Review. 2017-02-21. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  27. ^ "Pan-Asian Fried Rice". Food Network. Retrieved 2023-08-27.
  28. ^ "Fusion Cuisine | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2022-11-13.
  29. ^ Khokha, Sasha (2005-07-15). "In Rural California, an Imperial Dynasty Ends". National Public Radio.
  30. ^ Magazine, Smithsonian; Esposito, Shaylyn. "Why We Have Norman Van Aken to Thank for the Way We Dine Out Today". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2022-12-12.
  31. ^ "Origins and history of Italian coffee". Exclusive Brands Torino. Archived from the original on 2022-05-21. Retrieved 2022-12-12.
  32. ^ pvillanueva (2018-09-04). "On Fusion Cooking". Norman Van Aken. Retrieved 2022-12-12.