Okay, the year is 1820. You're in Naples, Italy, hungry for a slice of pizza topped with basil, mozzarella, and a light, tomato-based sauce. Well, you'd better grab a glass of Taurasi and take a seat, your pizza is going to take a while. As in, 80 years a while.
Naples' famous tri-color Pizza Margherita wasn't invented until 1889, give or take. And while it's almost impossible to conceive of Italian food without tomatoes, the tomato only arrived in Italy after the Spanish colonized the Americas. And even then, people thought tomatoes were poisonous. The tomato plant was purely ornamental.
Lucky for us, times change. Foods find each other, new traditions emerge. Marinara meets noodles. And then, it's like it was always meant to be. Delicious destiny.
Yes, when cultures clash and flavors mash, everybody wins. With that in mind, we introduce eight relatively new recipes. Each combines exciting flavors from at least two different culinary traditions. Try 'em out. It's like tasting the future.
1. Thai Hummus
"Love Thai food? Love hummus? Me too," says taocode. "Here's a hummus with my favorite traditional Thai flavors, including lemon grass, ginger, basil, coconut, lime, and sweet chili. Dip veggies, chips, or my favorite sweet pepper strips in this spicy-sweet-savory hummus. Perfect when you need to scratch that Thai-food itch."
There's a Korean-inspired food truck in Los Angeles that makes killer bulgogi burritos -- a mashup of Korean BBQ and kimchi combined with familiar Mexican flavors: flour tortilla, salsa, cilantro, and cheese. "To avoid a soggy burrito," says Forevertiff, "Be sure to squeeze out any liquids from the kimchi."
The "hamburger sandwich" was invented somewhere in the United States sometime around 1900. Claims differ. Was it named after rowdy sailors from Hamburg? Unlikely. But maybe. For our purposes, it doesn't matter. The first burgers were made with ground beef. Later, someone would get the idea to make a burger out of ground chicken. Eventually, someone would add traditional Indian tandoori seasonings to the chicken burger and serve it with green chutney. And that's pretty much where things currently stand.
"Biryani is a rice dish from the Indian subcontinent and is very popular in Kuwait since most of the Arab dishes originated from India," explains Rieaane, the recipe submitter. "Filipinos in Kuwait like biryani but not spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and saffron. So I made this dish in my own way with the spices that we Filipinos prefer."
A classic Cobb salad includes greens, sliced chicken breast, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, blue cheese, tomatoes, and bacon. It was supposedly invented in Hollywood in the 1930s at the Brown Derby restaurant. Falafel, meanwhile, has been around a bit longer than that. Together, they're an inspired American-Mediterranean fusion, with vegetarian falafel standing in for the chicken, Greek feta replacing the blue cheese, and a creamy cucumber dressing taking over for the more traditional vinaigrette dressing.
6. Spam Musubi
"Spam Musubi is a popular snack in Hawaii," says Rashad, the recipe submitter. "It is a type of sushi that has marinated cooked spam in sushi. I got this recipe from a local Hawaiian friend when I was living there."
Quinoa and Pad Thai were separated by a vast expanse of ocean for somewhere between three- and four-thousand years. Not anymore. With this recipe, the flavors of Pad Thai finally merge with the nutty ancient grain first cultivated by the Incas.
Mexican chorizo (you can make the sausage yourself ), spices, and queso asadero combine with Italian ricotta. To complete the culinary trifecta, they're stuffed in wonton wrappers. "Serve with marinara sauce (add chopped cilantro to the marinara for a bit of Mexican flavor)," says Lia, the recipe submitter.
Honestly, we didn't see this one coming. All your favorite pho ingredients, including beef, thin rice noodles and chili-garlic sauce, rolled up burrito-style in a tortilla.
This fascinating recipe combines the chimichanga, which is essentially a deep-fried burrito, invented somewhere in Arizona, with the classic flaming-bananas dessert from New Orleans. The Crescent City is, of course, a culinary capital of the world, a melting pot, and the birthplace of many fusion foods. Back in the 1950s, New Orleans was a major hub for bananas imported from South America. Eventually someone was sure to set a couple bananas on fire and top them with ice cream, right? And from there, it was only a matter of time before someone wrapped them in tortillas and dunked 'em in the fryer. Because America. Talk about "flaming bananas," this recipe is pretty much the limit.
More Food Fusions to Explore:
- Spicy Kimchi Chicken Rotini
- Pasta with Vietnamese Pesto
- Mal's Samosa Quesadillas with Curried Cabbage and Chickpeas
- Indian Pizza
- Thai Chicken Spaghetti