Plenty of eateries in America boast “fusion” dining- a blend of cooking styles and ingredients from different cultures. Ever wonder what other countries are doing to American and other Western foods? Here are a few quirky blends concocted in Asia that you have to try (if you can find them!).
Ah, the donut. A wholly American invention. But after a Japanese company acquired the rights to franchise Mister Donut (owned by Dunkin’ Brands under the Dunkin’ Donuts name in America) in 1983, some very “Asian” flavors started to appear. Their current menu in Taiwan contains no fewer than five variations of green tea, with two containing red azuki beans. Similarly, Krispy Kreme only opened in Taiwan a few months ago, but Green Tea Stripes is already one of their menu staples. Personally, I can’t say I care for green tea flavoring, but it’s a big hit here in Asia.
Some days you just want some “normal” chip flavors. You know, sour cream and onion, or salt and vinegar. In Taiwan though, it’s much easier to find flavors like wasabi, Thai spicy crab, Indian curry chicken, or seaweed. Seaweed is such a popular seasoning that it is found on a variety of snacks besides potato chips, including crackers and popcorn. While I can’t say these flavors are really my cup of tea, potato chips are the easiest items to find on this list. You can try your luck at a local Asian supermarket, or ask a friend traveling back from Asia to pick some up for you!
Speaking of popcorn, “buttered” isn’t the standard at movie theaters in Taiwan. All theaters will give you an option of “salty,” or “sweet.” The sweet version is sometimes caramel flavored, sometimes more similar to kettle corn. Pre-packaged popcorn is quite popular here, though, and that’s where the varieties start getting that Asian spin. The afore mentioned seaweed, green tea, and Indian curry are all easily available, and one brand even has a Korean kimchi flavor.
Taiyo no Tomatomen is a Japanese ramen chain that specializes in “Italian” flavor based soups. The noodles are still restaurant-style Japanese ramen noodles, but rather than the standard pork broth, Taiyo uses chicken broth. The broth is then flavored with tomatoes, or even pesto. Grated cheese can be added on top of the noodles as an option. The concoction may sound strange, but is actually quite delicious. Unfortunately, this is one item you’ll have to travel to Asia to try, as currently there are only locations in Japan and Taiwan.