Ever since the birth of the nation, America has been a melting pot of different peoples and cultures. With the globalization and transnationalism that is occurring today, the face, and the people of America are again reshaping their identities as we move towards the future.
One of the oldest and strongest ways that cultures are shaped and passed through generations is with traditional cuisines. With a growing influence and refreshed identify, Asian Americans are finding a place in today’s society, and with this new generation comes exciting new cuisines. Bringing influences spanning from northern Japan to the furthest islands of South East Asia, Asian American chefs are showcasing their culinary skills to Americans looking to satisfy their curiosity for new cultures and flavors.
American Chinese cuisine has been well known in the United States for well over 50 years, but today, Chefs are taking influences from all parts of Asia to bring us new and exciting meals. Among the most popular styles we are seeing today are the South East Asian influenced dishes, drawing inspiration from places like Malaysia, The Philippines, and Vietnam.
Many recipes are handed down through generation after generation, with many regions and individual families having their own variations of traditional recipes. In many Asian cultures, like the Filipino culture, food is used to commemorate occasions and celebrate important events, so the memories associated with foods are ingrained with memories of family, togetherness and love. By imparting their own passion for their culture and heritage, Asian Chefs are able to bring that to diners, and even if it’s just a small taste of someone else’s traditions, it’s an opening to new cultures and peoples.
An important aspect of authentic Asian cooking is the ingredients. Chefs in America today are spoilt when compared to those from say, the 1960s. With a growing Asian population of immigrants and American born Asians, finding authentic ingredients is relatively easy. Specialty markets can provide chefs with anything from dried taro leaves from the pacific to premium rice wine vinegars originating in China, Japan and Korea.
When it comes to fresh ingredients, Asian Chefs will tell you that it makes all of the difference. For example, to recreate the simple stir-fried dishes of Thailand, only the freshest vegetables will do, and they help to carry that unpretentious, fresh, zesty flavor that Thai food is well known for.
But Asian cuisine in America is not all about sticking to traditions. Asian American chefs are carving out their own paths, and finding new ways to bring Asian influence to American diners. In California, you can taste sushi rolls filled with avocados and Philadelphia cream cheese, and if you head to a Thai fusion restaurant, you could sample an all-beef burger seasoned with sweet chili sauce and stir-fried vegetables.
It’s this changeability and fusion that will carry Asian cooking to further generations. Modern fusion styles are where the Asian American chefs really come into their own, bringing culture and ideas together to form bold new flavors.
If you any recommendation or favorite Asian or Asian American chef, let us knnow.