For dinner, my meal consisted of raw black bass set in tiger’s milk, al dente noodles made with a somehow-better-than-cheese fermented chickpea paste, and a dense pistachio bundt cake with a side of ricotta.
The feast was identifiable by no less than five distinct cuisines... it definitely was not “fusion.” At least not the kind I’m used to seeing labeled that way.
In an exasperated line that perfectly conveys fusion’s failed mainstream form, and the way Chang hopes to serve it, the chef declared in Lucky Peach earlier this month, “If people want to call it fusion, well fuck you. It is fusion. Tell me what food isn’t fusion?”
And he’s right. “Fusion food" has become an antiquated term, a cheesy, outmoded way of insta-exocitizing a menu to make it trendy. In theory, it implies a harmonic, original marriage of diverse flavors. In practice, it often results in the in the poorest execution of ingredients, to create kitschy frankenfoods like cream cheese-filled wontons and wasabi-seared steaks.