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Trend watch: cruising for a fusing?

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Kimchi is popular for its spicy, acidic flavour
Kimchi is popular for its spicy, acidic flavour

Related tags United states

Say “fusion” and people usually cringe. Briefly popular in the nineties, combining seemingly mismatched concepts and cuisines was written off as unnecessary and extravagant by many.

But a “fusion of everything” approach is making a comeback in cooking and this time it’s being done plus sensitivity, minus the kitchen sink. In particular, fusions of Asian and Latin American cuisine are becoming increasingly popular.

The last few years have seen a large amount of US trends make their way across the pond to our fair shores – think excessive Burgers á la ​Five Guys and gourmet barbeque shacks – and one of these we could be seeing a sharp increase of in the next year is Korean and Mexican fusion.


You may have already heard of the Korean taco: spicy, palate-cleansing kimchi encased in a crunchy Mexican shell.

Pioneered by street food trucks in New York and Los Angeles, the American public has gone mad for the dish and similar offerings such as bulgogi burritos, kimchi fries and KFC: Korean fried chicken.

“Korexican” cuisine is slowly but surely creeping onto the streets of London thanks to the likes of travelling eatery Kimchinary and fellow fusion purveyors Kome, currently resident caterers at Shoreditch bar the Dead Dolls Club.

"The chilli sauce used in Korean food is similar to Mexican and the barbecuing techniques are also similar so they do work well together," says Simon Stenning, executive director at Allegra Foodservice.

"Although, the fusion is more to do with the jarring of cultures than with jarring of ingredients. What we have is Korean food almost jumping onto the burrito wagon and just using the tortilla as a carrier for Korean foods."

“It brings together two exceedingly popular and delicious cuisines,” adds Jack Davidson, owner of Kome. “Korean flavours like Kimchi go brilliantly with Mexican dishes – it’s got a lovely spicy and acidic taste.”

Other fusions

But it’s not just Korea and Mexico that are seeing their cuisines fused in this way.

The menu at Chino Latino Restaurant & Bar, in Vauxhall, London, combines Japanese and Asian mainland cuisine with classic Latin American food, featuring dishes such as oven roasted Chinese cabbage steak with oriental dressing, lobster and king crab gratinated with yuzu and chilli garlic hollandaise and English sirloin steak on hot rocks with soya, mirin and garlic.

And at Soho’s Koya Bar, intrepid diners can order a breakfast udon soup that integrates elements of a full English. The Japanese classic noodle broth is topped with a poached egg and rashers of bacon.   

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