Archives for : Fusion

Kimchi and Cheddar: Korean Food Gets Cheesy

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Here’s something for my fusion foodie friends. Yesterday I was working hard at my office at Temple University and I didn’t want to venture far to grab a bite for lunch. As luck would have it, there’s a brand new food truck parked right outside my building called Wingo Taco. I guessed Mexican, but I was wrong. Better said, I wasn’t all the way right.

A Korean-Mexican marriage of flavors. So Yummy!

A Korean-Mexican marriage of flavors. So Yummy!

Dear readers, you know I was doing a meltingpot jig in the street when I found out that Wingo Taco is serving up Korean tacos, burritos, hoaxes and wings. It’s a fusion masterpiece. Yesterday I sampled a ‘burrito bowl’ with Korean-spiced pulled pork, kimchi, rice, seaweed salad, cilantro and cheddar cheese. Yes, cheese! I hesitated when I saw the cheese on the menu, but the owner assured me that the cheese brought the whole dish together. Now dear readers, I’m from Wisconsin. I love cheese, but mingled with a Korean palate? I was skeptical. But I was game. And guess what? It was delicious. The whole dish was quite spicy, but the grated white cheddar created a smooth and cooling element. The proprietor of Wingo Taco, himself a Korean chef, told me that Koreans historically haven’t used cheese in their cuisine because they never had cattle, but these day they do and cheese is showing up everywhere in the local cuisine. Interesting, right? Anybody been to Korea lately and want to verify?

So, my big challenge now, dear readers, is not to walk out the door every day at work and indulge at Wingo Taco. Ms. Meltingpot must be good.

What’s your favorite fusion food? Or favorite food truck offering? Food trucks are big here in Philly these days.

I’m listening.


Asian Soul Food? Yes, Please!

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

If there’s two things I love in this life it’s food and Asian culture. It seems in every major time period of my life, I’ve always had a really good Asian friend. In childhood, my best friend was Japanese. In high school, I hung with some cool Filipinos. In college all of my friends were Asian; Korean, Thai, Indian, Japanese. In my twenties, I bonded with a way cool Chinese chick. And you might know if you read this blog enough, that I have a serious crush on the coolest Asian dude on the planet, Kip Fulbeck.

And it goes without saying, that I love food. I love eating my way through different cultures. If I can’t travel, I can still sample the flavors of other worlds and I love that. So, imagine my utter delight at discovering Roy Choi and his Korean tacos. Sadly, I haven’t tasted his food, only read about it, but then I found out that Choi is not alone in creating his meltingpot medley of Korean and Mexican cuisine. Check out this article in the Atlantic and try not to cry while your mouth waters at the same time.

” Choi is part of a tsunami of rule-breaking Asian American chefs who have created a new genre of cooking in America: a robust and astonishingly creative blend that draws on Asian, Latin, and Southern foods. Its growing ranks of practitioners bring sterling chef credentials and modernist cooking techniques to bear on the foods of their forebears.

What they’re making is not just “modernist” Asian cuisine. It’s a type of cooking that has filtered through the multiethnic influences of their upbringings: taco stands, fast food joints, barbecue shacks, hip hop, and graffiti. Theirs is not the “fusion” cooking of the late ’70s and ’80’s, effete creations of European-trained masters who melded cultures with delicacy and nuance. Nor is it the cooking of Nobu Matsuhisa or Martin Yan, talented newcomers who tutored America in Asian ingredients and flavor combinations. This new wave of chefs is dishing up what I call Asian Soul Food: a gutsy, high-low mash up of street food and haute cuisine, old country flavors and new-fangled cooking techniques.”

The story of the food and the way it came to be is a meltingpot masterpiece, don’t you think? I love how food can be the connector between cultures. I love how these warring cultures on the streets have found a way to cozy up on the plate. It gives me hope. And a hunkering for a taco. Get me to Los Angeles, please. 

What’s your favorite culinary mash up dish? Kinky gazpacho perhaps? I’m kidding. But, really. I’m listening.