Fusion cuisine is the mix of two or more culinary styles into one dish. Sometimes the influence is from colonization, like Vietnam and the French or like the Philippines and the Spanish. Other times it’s through an influx of immigrants entering a country. Of course, there’s also the creativity and innovation of a chef! Last night, I went to a friend’s going away party at a restaurant and ordered jerk chicken tacos.
Most people think of Mexican cuisine when it comes to tacos and many refer jerk seasoning to Jamaica. I have eaten beef tacos, fish tacos and chicken tacos, but often Mexican style. Similarly, I have tried jerk chicken and other jerk seasoned meats accompanied with Caribbean sides like rice and peas or coleslaw. However, merging the two together created this interesting combination – a fusion of two cultures. It had the soft tortillas of the familiar taco with some mango and pineapple-like salsa, black beans, cilantro, lettuce, red peppers and corn. Then there was the spicy jerk chicken as the meat, a foreigner in the tortilla.
It has been proven difficult to find a good jerk chicken around these parts, but it’s not to say that the flavours of the two don’t work. The darker, spicy meat was lifted by the happy-go-lucky pineapple and mango salsa. The only problem was the tortilla, which kept falling apart (fork or fingers required). While I didn’t like this restaurant’s style of jerk chicken, I think it would be a good dish to make. I can see the flavours working together perfectly, if only the jerk seasoning was right. Needless to say, I have been inspired to create my own Jamaican-Mexican fusion tacos. Coming soon!