KaiFo - Happy Asian Fusion in Gothenburg, Sweden
The Food at KaiFo
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Our humble thoughts on Asian Fusion and Asian Cuisine
Asian Cuisine is roughly said to consist of Central Asian-, East Asian-, South Asian-, South East Asian-, and West Asian Cuisines.
The constantly ongoing and emerging food trend of fusing Asian kitchens with similar Cuisines worldwide has never been stronger. That's why we have seen "Pan-Asian" restaurants creating a mash-up of the above but also more geographic like the Chinese fusions "Chino-Latino" in Latin America, which is called "Chifa" in Peru. Peruvian fusion is more famous when combined with Japanese Ryouri though, resulting in the world-famous "Nikkei Cuisine". In Japan, on the other hand, you have "Yōshoku" which is influenced by Western food but made in Japanese style like the take on fusion getting influences from Ethnic Cuisines but using regional ingredients and techniques.
Asian Cuisine, as well as Fusion Cuisines, has had a rising popularity in Sweden for a very long time. In the early 1990s Spoons worked in a restaurant that took Fusion Cooking; which at the time was the name of the hottest food trend, seriously, creating a melting pot of all world cuisines. Of course, we made Asian-inspired food as well.
Let us just say that we did some things great, but many things came out really bland and flat.
Unfortunately, that's exactly how we experience many of the Asian Fusion Restaurants found today, some 30 years later. Just like back then, the soul and core of most Asian Cuisines have been pointlessly smoothed out to become a mainstream experience far from the original, using the same ingredients, same presentations, and same tastes.
At some restaurants, you can eat 7-8 dishes and get the same flavor profile all through the meal, all topped with the same Shiraha mayonnaise and coriander as garnish.
Here are some thoughts. Why this overflowing use of chili (which by the way isn't the chili preferred in the dishes if you ask Asians raised with them), coriander, sesame seeds and sesame oils, soy, and lime? Asian cuisines have similarities, yes, true, but they also show a wide range in their diversity with so many things to experience when it comes to indigenous food.
Why tire an audience of eaters out with the same thing, over and over again?
"Yu'zu Fine" Gin, Peach, Yuzu, Chili, Coriander, Lime
This is why you should drink Cocktails to Asian Food
Wait a minute, Cocktails to food? When combining Asian food with something drinkable it's often a wine with the grape Riesling the waiter suggests, right? How many times have you heard that? We're huge fans of wine and love Riesling but seriously speaking - it¨s kind of a lame and depleted way to go. Riesling, if you ask us, probably works better on its own and there are not many perks to choosing a Riesling for Asian food besides suppressing heat in the dish. Well, unfortunately, we love heat too. No Farang-style here, thank you.
What Cocktails can do where wine often falls short is to be made to perfectly match a dish, while wine is a finished product that can't be changed. An example, Asian cuisine is commonly high in acidity and would need high acidity in the drink combined to match. The grape variety Riesling does have the acidity needed but the diversity of Cocktails is superior - You can make them match perfectly every single time. Also, you can play with ingredients unbiasedly to find their friend in that specific dish's taste, make them low in alcohol to not increase heat unnecessarily if it's already spicy, and work with the Cocktails' textures, complementing sides and snacks to go with them to be a match made in food heaven.
Give Cocktails a try next time you eat Asian Cuisine! If the restaurant has a great bartender or mixologist you might get a food and cocktail combination that blows you off the chair.