Our food culture is constantly changing, and modern palates enjoy exploring unfamiliar flavours and unique tastes. As a greater number of people travel to exotic locations and our population becomes more diverse, there is an increase in knowledge about different cultures and an open attitude to trying new foods. Sometimes this results in surprising combinations of ingredients to create “fusion” food. But fusion isn’t an entirely new concept, as most people assume; it has a long history of being an exciting way to create new dishes and discover new flavours.
The history of fusion cuisine can be traced as far back as the 15th century, when the search for spices and other foreign flavours brought the first Spaniards and other Europeans to the New World. They discovered foods such as tomatoes, corn, turkey, chocolate, and potatoes, and to the New World they brought pears, apples and livestock. This exchange was one of the first times food from different cultures had come together—and without this transfer, Italian, French, American, and Spanish cuisines would not be the same today. Italian cooking without tomatoes is unthinkable, and French pastries without chocolate would be sorely lacking.
The multicultural influence in Vancouver has led to many fusion restaurants’ success. Mixing ingredients has become so normal for us that we are no longer shocked by the intermingling of cultural flavours. On one corner we have Asian-inspired street food—a Korean twist on tacos, and a Japanese take on the classic North American hot dog. Down the road one can experience all the local fresh ingredients of the West Coast with clear ethnic additions; Coho salmon curry, or Malaysian style fried chicken, can both delight and surprise the taste buds. Although some might believe that this is just another trend, it seems clear that fusion food has found a permanent home in our diverse coastal city.
Three Notable Fusion Restaurants in Vancouver
Goldfish Pacific Kitchen
1118 Mainland St.
The Noodle Box
1867 W. 4th Ave.
Sanafir Restaurant & Lounge*
1026 Granville St.
*Sanafir has since closed its doors.