Asian Collides with Latin Cuisine on Contemporary Menus

Operators are re-discovering how pork, the world’s most consumed protein, is playing a major role in infusing meals with Asian and Latin American influences, a top food trend according to the NRA’s annual “What’s Hot” Chef Survey.

Restaurant chains, chefs and consumers are in the midst of a cuisine melting pot – and with so many new options to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to start. Consumers frequently search for exotic flavors that draw inspiration from around the world. One trend is traditional American cuisine being infused with the spicy and fresh flavors of Thailand, Vietnam and Korea, redefining classic comfort food. More items like Vietnamese chicken wings, Sriracha mayo and Korean-inspired pork ribs will appear on menus in classic American diners as ethnic purchases away from home increase, according to Technomic. Using KC Wild Wings® as the focus of an Asian-Latin fusion appetizer allows for a variety of global dipping sauces for unlimited versatility.

Chefs are self-consciously combining flavors of the Western and Eastern hemispheres, crossing Asian-Latin borders for ideas, creating a new world cuisine that’s thought-provoking and has consumers asking for more, whether it’s on a food truck in L.A. or a unique fast casual restaurant in Chicago. They’re looking for south of Mexico flavors and foods influenced by cuisines from Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and then all the way to Brazil, Argentina and Peru mixed with Asian. A type of Korean cuisine that’s starting to gain momentum in the U.S. is kimchi, a spicy, garlic flavored vegetable that’s pickled. Merging the savory and spicy for an ethnic fusion is on-trend and gives guests the best of both sides of the world. Korean and also Peruvian dishes are some of the most sought after menu items now. Pairing Smoke’NFast Pulled Pork with Korean sides is an inexpensive solution.

Asian foods like these, infused with Latin influence, are perhaps one of the most fascinating cuisines because of the potential innovation, traditions and food elements that overlap. One protein in particular draws the cuisines even closer together, and that is pork – shredded, Smoke’NFast Ribs, belly and more. Chefs are experimenting with making their own recipes and have found it to be an excellent partner with pork dishes.

When looking to explore different menu items for your operation, it’s key to not complicate the dish with a lot of ingredients. Instead pick a few flavorful ingredients that will achieve the desired global dish, including fewer flavor layers and more substance. Create umami, as the Japanese would say, which means delicious, savory or brothy.

Although the concept isn’t new, Asian fusion, particularly that with Latin, will see interesting evolutions this year.


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