Today, an increasing number of countries have become huge melting pots of different cultures. This is primarily due to the frequency of international travel and the growth of tourism, which is why it is now possible for people to try out ethnic cuisines from all around the world without the need to travel.
These days, you no longer need to leave your country to try out dishes from Mexico, Italy, France, Canada, South Korea or China. Taking a stroll around your neighborhood or city may even reveal some new cuisines that you have never heard of before.
Fusion cuisine satisfies the demand for new and exciting dishes. Innovative chefs can effortlessly use their experience and expertise to blend tastes and flavors from two or more cultures into one culinary masterpiece. But not all individuals may enjoy experimenting with fusion dishes right off the bat.
As with trying anything novel, there will undoubtedly be some people who feel uncomfortable going into a fusion restaurant. Especially if it involves dealing with what is considered an iconic dish. For instance, some Americans may not enjoy sampling a cheeseburger made with naan bread and filled with an assortment of Indian spices.
No need to worry. The following are a few recommended tips on ordering fusion cuisine and ideas to make your first trip to a fusion restaurant fun and memorable.
1. Research before dining out
For some people, being given a menu filled with strange dishes is stressful enough. Thinking of what to order with the waiter standing right next to you can make the experience more harrowing. Gain some confidence and know what to expect by doing some research beforehand.
Try to see if the restaurant has a website and a menu. Seeing the menu can give you an idea of what types of dishes are served and how much you may need to prepare for a trip there. In some cases, you may even find tips on what to order, such as what is the best Japanese food served at a Japanese fusion restaurant, or if there are new or seasonal dishes on their menu.
2. Look for reviews
Not all restaurants may have a website. Older mom and pop or smaller, newly-opened restaurants, for instance, may rely on word of mouth or other means of promoting the restaurant. But that doesn’t automatically mean you can’t find any information about it.
Do a quick search on the name of the fusion place you plan to visit. People will find ways to leave reviews on restaurants, even if there is no official website to speak of at the moment. Read the reviews to get the public’s sentiment.
Just as critical as the official website are the reviews. The reviews can show you aspects that you won’t find from the official website. With reviews, you can gain insights into what food is recommended, what the service is like, and so much more.
Take any information with a grain of salt, but don’t forget to look for patterns. See what dishes or details are mentioned frequently. Armed with this information, you’ll feel more confident about going into the restaurant and what to order.
3. See if there are any ongoing promos
If ordering several plates of food sounds too overwhelming, try to find out if there are any current or upcoming promos. The promo could be in the form of discounts, special events, or offers on the launch of new dishes.
Be on the lookout for sampling sessions. More common during the opening of a restaurant or when offering a new dish, these give customers a chance to try smaller portions of a meal with minimal risk. It is an excellent way of trying different dishes without making a commitment to tasting (or paying) for a full dish.
Sampling sessions often include guest food critics and bloggers; however, this shouldn’t deter you from asking if the opportunity presents itself. In exchange for a free taste, you may be required to take pictures inside the restaurant, leave a review, or promote the restaurant online.
4. Check the rules
Do you need to contact a fusion restaurant or renowned steakhouse for reservations? Is there a dress code or specific opening times? Is the restaurant family-friendly or more suitable for adults only?
Get in touch with the restaurant for any other questions you may have in mind. You wouldn’t want to change your plans at the last minute just because you didn’t know about what’s expected of patrons.
5. Ask the waiter for recommendations
Menus can sometimes be filled with a dizzying selection of dishes. One of the more common ways of finding a meal you will enjoy is by asking your waiter about their house specialties. Recommendations are not just limited to food but also drinks, such as wine for pairing with different dishes.
In some cases, you may need to provide more details so your waiter can propose something more suitable. For instance, you may prefer fish or chicken rather than pork or beef. Keep your preferences broad and your mind open to dishes you may have never heard of before.
Fusion restaurants provide entertaining ways of tasting dishes from exotic cultures. Bring a bold friend along with you, and follow these tips on ordering fusion cuisine to get the most out of your experience.
Chiara Bisignani is the F&B Marketing Executive at Saadiyat Beach Club. She oversees website maintenance, PR requests, marketing initiatives and all general guests’ enquiries for the company’s destinations of KOI Restaurant & Lounge, Boa Steakhouse and Caramel Restaurant and Lounge in Abu Dhabi.