“Think Globally, Eat Locally”

According to Pieterse’s article Globalization as Hybridization, he defined the concept of hybridization as “the ways in which forms become separated from existing practices and recombine with new forms in new practices.” The idea of a complex culture as a result of influences from a global scale can be represented by the increasing popularity of fusion food. Fusion food is a style of cooking that makes use of ingredients and techniques from around the world. Its diversity and unique tasting qualities comes from its way of integrating Western and Eastern flavors.

This Euarasian style of cooking came about from the diversity of cultures existing in a particular area. A diverse culture is a community composed of numerous races and ethnicities intermingling with each other. This kind of community can be exemplified by the immigration phenomenon in America. According to Gary Engle’s article What Makes Superman So Darned American? “all Americans have an immediate sense of their origins elsewhere.” In this article, Engle’s strips the identity of Superman from an American all-time hero to an actual immigrant alien. He equates Superman’s hero qualities to the ethnic characteristics of the citizens of America. He stressed on the idea that America is composed of immigrants coming from all parts of the world that even a popular American icon such as Superman is an immigrant conforming to the American culture. Another point made by Engle is that the “American identity is ordered around the psychological experience of forsaking or losing the past for the opportunity of reinventing oneself in the future” the reinvention of the self results to the idea of cultural assimilation in which the old and the new identities come together.

The fusion cuisine is one representation of a cultural assimilation. It is a sort of hybridization because it is a mixture of very distinct and different influences. For instance in an international city such as New York, there exists numerous cultures from all parts of the world such as people from the Caribbean, Europe, South and East Asia, Dominican Republic, China, Mexican-born population and Latin American immigrants. With the diversity of these cultures, New York City has become popular for their array of fusion restaurants accommodating the rich cultural community.

New York Fusion Restaurants
miditerranian-and-indian-food.jpg salt-and-pepper-restaurant.jpg

Source: NYC Fusion [http://www.deadprogrammer.com/new-york-city-fusion-ii]


Source: Wined and Dined [http://www.winedanddined.com/]

When it comes to creating fusion cuisine, there are no boundaries. Some fusion dishes are a combination of two similar cultures such as the synthesis of Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and Chinese cuisines. While the other fusion dishes can have more of an eclectic and distinct combination from very different influences such as the mixture of African, Arabian, Oriental and Spanish flavors. A common combination of an East meets West dish is spaghetti mixed with an Asian twist of spices or seafood. This kind of fusion experience is not only limited to the upscale crowd and to the adventurous diners rather it has been commercialized through the billion dollar fast-food industry. Fast food chains available in almost all parts of the world such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King have specialized their menus to better accommodate the taste preferences of their different customers. For instance in Korea, the traditional culture of Koreans have pushed McDonalds and Burger King to create fusion dishes which cater specifically to their Korean customers resulting to the creation of the 'Bulgogi buger', in which Bulgogi is a famous dish in Korea. In places where rice is a staple food, McDonalds introduced the McRice burger. In India where people don’t eat beef as part of their religion, McDonalds created the Maharaja Mac in replacement of the Big Mac. The Maharaja Mac is made of lamb or chicken. In Germany, an interesting addition to their meals is beer. While in Israel, McDonalds serves a McShawarma. These originally American food have been localized and formed into a hybrid which best adapts to the culture of the place.

McArabia(two grilled chicken patties, Arabic bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, garlic sauce (also available in Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan)

Source: McDonald’s Menu Around the World [http://www.yowazzup.com/2008_09_14/mcdonalds-menu-around-the-world.html]

India’s McAloo Tikki Burger (A vegetable burger with potato, peas, and spices, tomato, onion, and a vegetable-tomato mayonnaise)

Source: [http://www.feer.com/tales/?m=200608]

McDonald's Foods From Around The World:[http://www.tikifish.com/mcdonalds.html]

In the local setting, there has been a rise in the popularity of fusion cuisine. Filipinos are accustomed to putting a Filipino touch to everything. One of the earliest fusion dishes in Philippine history is the adobo. Adobo comes from the Spanish word adobar which means to marinate. Looking at its primary ingredients such as the soy sauce, Bay leaves, chicken, vinegar and black peppercorn adobo is a mix of Spanish, Chinese and Filipino influences. Nowadays, most restaurants serving international cuisines usually incorporate Filipino flavors into their dishes. An example of this is the O'sonho Portuguese Fusion Restaurant in Manila which serves Chorizo Sisig, a Portugese take on a classic Filipino dish. Guava restaurant located in Serendra also incorporates Western influences to classic Filipino meals such as the pininoy na foie gras or salmon in guava broth.

Fusion Filipino Dishes
Crispy Bangus Belly on Pickled Japanese Rice and Teriyaki Sauce

Source:Chef Cuisine [http://guides.clickthecity.com/metro/?p=1886]

Ubod Spring Roll
Foie Gras with Adobo Overload

Source: Bistro Filipino by Chef Laudico — Best Filipino Fusion Food! [http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/2006/10/bistro_filipino.html]

Resource: Pieterse, Jan Nederveen. <2006>. Globalization as Hybridization. <Media and Cultural Studies: Key Works.> USA: Blackwell Publishing.
Engle, Gary. <1988>. What Makes Superman So Darned American? (Superman at Fifty: The Persistence of a Legend) Octavia Press.

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