Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mexican-Korean Fusion Cuisine

I've always thought Mexican and Asian food -- separately -- were the two tastiest cuisines, but they've been enjoying a merry partnership recently. You don't initially think Mexican with its tomato and corn-based ingredients to pair well with soy sauce-y and fish sauce-y Asian food, but thanks, in part, to the success of the Kogi Korean taco truck in LA, I think people are beginning to see the beauty of Mexican-Asian fusion cuisine. I mean, how amazing does a bulgogi taco topped with kimchi salsa sound? It's pretty much your standard taco but with the added -- and very addictive -- umami flavor from the soy and fish sauce.

Last week while in the states (hence the long absence from blogworld), I went to Austin and stalked the Kogi knock-off taco truck, Chi'Lantro (Kimchi meets Cilantro), to try the bulgogi taco. I ordered one beef bulgogi taco, but having never tried a tofu taco, I ordered one of those. It was all quite tasty except the tortilla snob in me thought the tacos would have tasted better had the tortillas been homemade or at least not churned out from the local grocery's monster tortilla maker. And, of course, the tofu was no match for the beef taco.

Fusion-haters would find this taco hard to resist.

Deliciousness finds its way to a mall parking lot.

Korean food in Mexico City keeps to its few corners in Zona Rosa, but just like the mexicanization of Japanese food, kimchi will make its way into the taco soon enough. Below are other photos of non-traditional fusion concepts I saw while on my trip:
This I took while in Canada last week. I can only guess what Canadian-Chinese food is.

Caribbean-Indian sounds fantastic, doesn't it?

Taken at my cousin's house over the weekend. In our varied assortment, we had egg custard tarts, Chinese BBQ pork, sushi, brats, and Coronas.


  1. Hahaha - the Cdn in me had a good giggle with this post ;)

    Being such a multi-cultural country that it is... you can really find anything! LOL!!

    I´m guessing by the area code you were in Ontario, hope you had a great trip!

  2. Yes, good eye, I was in Toronto. So maybe you can solve the mystery! What is Canadian-Chinese cuisine? In the US, I would say that American-Chinese is General Tso's chicken, sesame chicken, crab rangoons, fortune cookies, etc. Although, fortune cookies seem to have made their way into Canadian Chinese restaurants. I think I had them at two different restaurants.

  3. Hey-- Check out this blog:

  4. Hahaha - wish I could help, but I always ordered the same dishes...pretty standard...ginger chicken, sweet and sour chicken, fried rice, noodles, etc... yeah, boring!! LOL!! Hahaha - here I am in Cancun telling my hubby that Mexico can´t get Chinese food right, shame on me! LOL!

  5. Hi Alice. Thanks for your comment. I really enjoy your blog. I'll keep you posted on the grand opening party.

    It's interesting how Asian and Mexican cuisines have many similarities in flavor profiles and ingredients. During the 1500's, a trade route between Mexico and China was opened. The route went from China to Spain to the Phillipines, and then west to Acapulco, MX. During that period, a lot of ideas, materials, and spices were exchanged. From there, many Chinese began spreading out to surrounding countries. During this period, a natural fusion of Latin and Asian cuisine was born. Only now is it getting more attention with Kogi and others bringing it into the mainstream.

  6. OMT -- I'm surprised there's not a better Chinese food scene in Cancun. If I hear or something, I'll let you know. 'Cuz when the Chinese go on vacation, they want grub from a good Chinese restaurant!

    Sheridan -- Very interesting history. Perhaps that's why Acapulco and Guerrero state, in general, have most of the mango trees.

  7. I wondered where you had been, glad you had a good visit and some good food.

  8. I just tried my hand at kimchi and chorizo (de soya) tostadas. Very strange, but good enough to have me eager to try again, with variations. Made me think of this post. Had any other encounters with Mexican-Korean crossover cuisine?

  9. Phil -- Did you make those tostadas? I wouldn't think to put those two together since each on its own shock the palate. And, no, I haven't had any other encounters with Mexican-Korean fusion. There's this newish Mexican-Asian fusion place in Polanco called Tuna that I've yet to try. Let me know what you think if you've been there.

  10. I was indeed hesitant about putting all that stuff together (there was also some panela). It worked out ok because I sauteed the kimchi to take the edge of it, and then mixed in the chorizo. Not saying it's going to take over the world, but hoping to work some improvements in the future. There's a great Chinese taco place in Guadalajara, outside Barrio Chino (a bar, not a neighbourhood), but that's about it down here. Plenty of space for innovation.