Fusion Flavor on the Sandwich Menu
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For years “fusion” has been a hot button in foodservice. Chefs appreciate the creative challenges fusion menuing represents. Consumers crave the cool factor and flavor experience: 46 percent of heavy FSR and 43 percent of heavy LSR users like the “fusion of flavors from more than one type of cuisine.”1
So let’s take a look at how this trend began.
Many cuisines were “fusionized” centuries ago when countries were invaded or colonized by foreigners. The colonists brought traditional faves from home, which, when combined with native ingredients and cooking techniques, enhanced the local fare. Here are just a few of the cuisines that benefited from this “cross-cultural” influence:
. After years of rule by the Chinese, the French moved into Vietnam during the early 19th century. So while much of Vietnamese cuisine is similar to that of other Southeast Asian countries, it also has a pronounced French accent. In fact, the French are often credited with bringing beef, onions, asparagus, croissants and baguettes to Vietnam. The baguette became the basis for the popular bánh mì
sandwich, a prime example of cross-cultural deliciousness. It’s filled with any number of meats, but most often pork — shredded, grilled or barbecued. Typical toppings and condiments for the bánh mì include pickled carrot, daikon radish, cucumber, chopped herbs, pâté (more French influence) and – always – mayonnaise. To learn how to create your own authentic bánh mì, click here
. By the late 17th century, India had become a rich trading area for many European countries, but none were as influential from a culinary standpoint as Great Britain. It was the British who introduced ketchup to India (of course, no one has embraced ketchup quite like the Americans have). Other British influences include what we call curry powder (the result of British attempts to distill the many spices used in a traditional Indian curry preparation) and chutney, India’s traditional chunky relish that combines juicy mango with tamarind and spices. Today chutney is an easy stir-in for bound salads – like a shrimp or chicken salad – that adds fruity sweetness and a perfectly balanced touch of heat. It also makes an intriguing topper for sandwiches like the Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Flatbread
. Caribbean cuisine truly represents a passport to flavor, melding influences from Europe, Africa and South America. These far-flung cultures and regional flavors came together with “wow” results. In terms of prep, the Caribbean-based term “jerking” originally meant smoking meat over a slow fire – as in beef jerky. The blending of the newly arrived spices with native foods like the fiery Scotch bonnet pepper and Jamaican pimento create a distinctively sweet and hot rub – also known as “Jamaican jerk.” That zesty flavor profile accents sandwiches beautifully; try using it as a condiment to liven up your turkey sandwiches. Or give your menu an island vibe with the Shrimp Boat Sandwich
, which combines shrimp, mango and tomato with the sprightly flavor of convenient KNORR® Ready-To-Use Jamaican Jerk Sauce
1American Express Market Briefing, June 2011.
This article was written by your sandwich pros at SandwichPro.com.