Fantastic fusions and where to find them

Fusing together culinary concepts should be as simple as putting two and two together, but doing it right is an entirely different thing when marrying cultures is involved. Blending different tastes has always been a common idea and, in recent years, the fusion of cuisines has invaded malls and food parks alike. Here we list down our favorite takes on the re-emerging trend.

1. BurriSushi from Black Plate (The Yard @ Xavierville; Php 180-Php 190)

From the portmanteau alone, you can tell this dish brings the best of everything you’d expect from both worlds. On one hand, you get the delicate, refined, taste of Japanese cuisine. On the other, the strong, commanding flavors reminiscent of something of an explosion. Because of the opposing flavors associated with the two cultures, they are the last things you’d expect to be together on a plate. The tenderness of the oriental side is contrasted by the muscular spice of the South American twist as the different flavors meld together in harmony to create a culinary experience unlike any other.Make no mistake, though; as far-fetched as the idea sounds, this dish actually works. The fusion aspect doesn’t stop there. Black Plate’s roster comes with a number of flavors to experiment with. Our favorite is the Manila Crunch: an innovative combination of crunchy pork sisig, romaine, and nori, all rolled into one convenient burrito.

2. Cronut from Dolcelatte (4/F SM Megamall; Php 110)

A fusion dish in its own right, cronuts have been something of a trend in recent years. This sugar-laden hybrid has turned countless skeptics into believers with its catchy name and flaky consistency, which both make up a good part of its appeal. Not quite croissants or doughnuts, the cronut strikes the perfect balance on your palette as the result of the former’s dough being fried like the latter. And since customization is a Filipino favorite, they normally come with a vast array of flavors as well to satisfy your cronut cravings. Our favorite take on it is the Croughnut from Dolcelatte, where the number of flavors will give you a hard time deciding, with standouts like Blueberry Creamcheese, Peanut Butter Crisp, and Chocolate Macaroon. Pair it with a cup of coffee, and you’ll find this quirky combination making its way into your Sunday morning staples.

3. Ketchup Mayo Ice Cream from Freezer Burn (Bonifacio High Street; Php 150-Php 295)

With a title that sounds about as delicious yet debatable as pineapples on pizza, the disgust on anyone’s face at the idea of this kooky scoop is perfectly acceptable at first. What this treat lacks in immediate appeal, it makes up for in sheer novelty. Taste-wise, it tastes exactly how it sounds and it isn’t disgusting at all. An order comes with crispy salt and pepper fries, effectively challenging notions of what dessert should. Although not as culturally diverse as the other items on this list, the craziness and creativity of the idea was more than enough to win the tip for us, making it a fantastic fusion in itself. It embodies everything fusion cuisine is about: the melding of contrasting flavors to come up with something new. You’ll have to dip your own fries in it to find out why.

4. Buffalo Chicken pizza at Gino’s (Katipunan Avenue; Php 425)

Originally an Italian dish, pizza has also become a staple in the average American’s diet. It only makes sense, then, to pair it up with a quintessential American bar food that everybody loves: Buffalo chicken wings. The cheesy, tomato-y pizza is a perfect vessel for the tangy, spicy buffalo wings. Topped with the wings’ natural complement, blue cheese, this pizza nails the concept of Italian-American fusion.

5. Basil Squid roll at ROFL (Katipunan Avenue; Php 228)

Although it isn’t marketed as a fusion dish per se, the Italian influence on this Japanese roll takes it to new heights. Squid and rice are typical Japanese restaurant staples, but a sauce that resembles pesto surely isn’t. The basil adds an herbaceous flavor, something that isn’t usually found in your run-of-the-mill maki. The roll is provides two contrasting flavors that ultimately work together, the fresh squid providing a salty, ocean-y flavor in contrast to the savory, earthy basil.

6. TacoMaki at Ooma (Multiple locations, Php 140-P220)

Four different kinds of this Japanese treat disguised as a mini Mexican street food lie in Ooma’s menu. Offering a different perspective on the regular maki roll, serving them with nori “taco shells” instead of being rolled in it makes eating these TacoMaki fun whilst also allowing them to put food that they usually don’t put in a regular maki, like deep-fried softshell crab. The taste is like the traditional maki roll, but with textures and flavors that can’t be found in a conventional one. The nori that stays crisp brings contrast to the fluffy rice topped with the seafood and the sauces that make each TacoMaki unique.

The Philippines is a melting pot of global cuisine and it was only a matter of time before these different cuisines started mixing with each other. Each of the items on this list found that perfect balance between one culture and another, not only adding, but multiplying the potential of the two dishes that they’re made of. Time can only tell what other kooky combinations of cuisines are going to pop up.

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