As a rule, people tend to stick within comfortable boundaries when it comes to going out to dinner. Most people find one or two casual fine dining restaurants that they like and stick with them. If a new restaurant opens, they may be willing to try it, especially if they have heard good things about it in reviews or from their friends, but that willingness to try new things may be tempered if the cuisine is considered to be too far outside their comfort zone. This is especially the case when it comes to authentic ethnic cuisine, which is just one of the reasons why fusion cuisine has become so popular lately.
The idea of fusion cuisine is probably much older than most people would think. Some of its roots can be traced back almost one hundred years when Chinese food started to become popular in the United States. The food that was being served however was not what a person would expect to find if they were visiting China, but rather some variation of it that was tailored to fit the tastes and preferences of people living here. Some of the most popular dishes, including Chow Mein and General Tso's Chicken, either have no roots at all in China or the recipes presented here are so different from what they started out as that it is a disserve to call them by the same name.
Anytime a new ethnic population immigrates to a country, they are going to bring their style of cooking with them. In most cases, they will have a hard time finding all of the ingredients that they need, so they improvise, and this becomes a form of fusion cuisine. The most successful styles of fusion dining find ways to push the boundaries people have just enough so that the new flavors or items are combined with more traditional ingredients they are familiar with. Asian fusion is often considered to be the first "fusion cuisine" to break out, starting in the early 1980's, but lately, one of the most popular styles of dining of any kind has been Latin fusion food.
Much like the early Chinese food that took America by storm, most peoples' first introduction to Mexican food and food from other Central and South American cultures was really what is now called "Tex-Mex", a presentation of flavors and foods that was bastardized to the point of inauthenticity in order to induce people to eat it. This was done primarily by using artificial ingredients and processed food. Today's Latin fusion cuisine rejects such methods and instead embraces the use of fresh ingredients, including meats and seafood, fruits and vegetables and authentic spices to recreate the same flavor profiles of the countries and communities they came from. The art of fusion cuisine is one that is continuing to take the country by storm as people learn to step outside their comfort zone in order to taste some amazing food.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who has been covering the food and beverage industry for more than 20 years. http://www.osorioslatinfusion.com