By Kurumi Moriyama
Around the world, there are many people who dislike fusion food; the food changed from traditional ones and have particular liking to certain types of food. Certainly, it’s important to maintain tradition and make many people understand the tradition. However, there are also many people who like fusion food around the world. They think they can know about other culture and can be interested in other cultures through food. Since the food that is the most significant and familiar for humans, may be like bridges connecting different cultures and cultures.
California Rolls vs. Sushi
There are so many fusion foods in the world today. One of the most popular fusion foods is California Roll. A group of us were at Senya Restaurant in Publika.
Friends: “Have you ever eaten California Rolls? Are they delicious, Kurumi?”
Me: “I’m sorry I’ve not eaten them before.”
You might be wondering how come as a Japanese I have not eaten California Rolls. It’s because they are not so popular in Japan and Japanese people don’t think that they are sushi. Why are they not popular in Japan and why do Japanese people don’t think sushi?
Basically, Japanese traditional cooking (washoku) is a cuisine which brings out the taste of an ingredient. Sushi is included in it. UNESCO has registered it as an intangible cultural heritage as it is a social custom handed down from generations which expresses the Japanese people’s respect for nature. However, mayonnaise is used in preparing California Rolls which changes the original taste of the main ingredient, i.e. raw fish (sashimi). So, the Japanese prefer sushi to California Rolls as it is always simple.
And also, California Roll was first invented by a sushi chef in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, and others say that a Japanese chef who moved to Vancouver, Canada created it for his patrons who came from Los Angeles, California. The differences between sushi and California Roll are the raw ingredients, the seaweed which is wrapped inside out and the flavour enhancer. These differences relates with differences in cultures and customs between Japan and US. In US, many people feel uncomfortable eating raw fish or seaweed that is wrapped outside, because these are not customs and unfamiliar for them.
Finally, I want you to ask “Do you think is fusion food destroying traditional culture?”. I don’t think so. As you can see, it is very interesting to follow the history of fusion food and the reasons that changed. We will be also curious about different cultures and want to try these fusion foods. Fusion food is not destroying tradition, but protecting and spreading tradition around the world.