Here at Black Tomato we love uncovering food fads, trends, and the culinary identities of our favorite destinations. Right now we have our eyes (and taste-buds) on fusion food, as everyone knows two influences are better than one. So we have scoured the globe, tasting some of the world’s most diverse combinations to bring you our top 5. Join us for a French inspired snack in Vietnam, a Chinese twist in Peru and a whole lot of guacamole. Bon Appetit.
Texas meets Mexico
From pulled pork burritos to beef nachos with all the trimmings, the mere thought of gobbling down bowls full of guacamole and a frozen Margarita has our stomachs rumbling. First used as an abbreviation for the Texas Mexican Railway in newspapers, the term Tex Mex describes the Mexican recipes produced with American ingredients that emerged when Texas was part of Mexico in the 1820’s. Originally only popular around the American border, Tex Mex went mainstream in the 1970’s when culinary goddess Diana Kennedy made it the must eat fare for a generation of young Americans. Thank you Diana.
Nothing beats Texas for a true Tex Mex feast, so forget Taco Bell and head to a local hacienda with a cold Corona for an authentic experience. We love Matt’s Famous El Rancho in Austin, Texas. Expect big portions and big flavours; this is Texas after all…
South Africa meets Malaysia
South Africa is a diverse country, not only in its landscapes but also its food which is often called “rainbow cuisine” due to the variety of cultural influences that make up the dishes. We love the Cape Malay cuisine, with Indonesian, Malaysian and Muslim roots fusing to create some top notch cuisine. Expect fish stews, spicy curries, pickled fish and lots of sambal as you eat your way around the world in just one dish. The most delicious is Bobotie, spiced mincemeat topped with an egg served with sambal, think Moussaka but with South African accents. Trust us it’ll have you licking the plate.
The best place to try this South African fusion is Boschendal Winery, Stellenbosch, which serves a famous Bobotie. You’ll need to book well in advance for this popular winery (don’t worry – we can do that for you).
Morocco meets France
Menus in Morocco read like a timeline of the country’s history with influences as colourful as its souks, from the Berber cuisine of its original inhabitants, including tagines and couscous, to the Arabic influences in its spices. Morocco’s cuisine is a mixing bowl of some of the world’s best food, which might just be why we love it so much. Our favourite has to be the French influence. Haute cuisine in Morocco often takes on a French flavour as local recipes are reinvented using French cooking techniques, with dishes such as couscous coated oysters and deliciously moreish Moroccan French Toast gracing restaurant menus. We suggest trying a Moroccan Crepe for breakfast, be warned you might want one for lunch and dinner too.
Where to eat: Book ahead for Gastro MK, the height of gourmet French Moroccan food in Marrakech.
Peru meets China
If you love Chinese food and have a taste for the exotic you’re going to love Chifa, the South American / Chinese fusion. When a large influx of Chinese emigrated to Peru and Ecuador in the early 20th century they brought with them recipes and ingredients that soon found their way into local cuisine. Head to Lima and you’re as likely to see people feasting on Arroz Chuafa (Peruvian Fried Rice) as you are the national creole food. Grab a plate of the Lomo Saltado, delicious Sirloin Steak marinated in soy sauce and Asian spices, it really is the perfect mix of both worlds. Yum.
If the sound of Chifa is making you want to “chi fan” (that’s Chinese for ‘eat’) let us take you to the heart of the food revolution. Peru awaits you.
France meets Vietnam
We all know the French love their food (what’s not to love?) so it’s no surprise that when they went to Vietnam in the 1800’s they brought their cuisine with them. Their biggest influence can be seen in the bread and the coffee which are still distinctly French. Street food stalwart the Banh Mi sees a traditional French baguette filled with Vietnamese pate, pickled daikon and cold cuts with delicious results and the Banh Pate Chaud is a delicious meat filled pastry with influences from the patisseries of Paris. Vietnamese coffee culture might have stemmed from the French but it is huge in its own right; they are the second largest exporter of coffee and love a good caffeine hit themselves. No trip to Vietnam is complete without trying their unique blend of coffee, a drip filter and sweet condensed milk make it a sweet and strong combination. Bon Appetite.
If you want to test out this delicious cuisine combo for yourself, let us take you on a luxury holiday to Vietnam. Be sure to try Phuong Banh Mi in Hoi An, widely heralded as the best Banh Mi joint in town.