From truffled abalone to floral-flecked tacos, today’s fusion dishes go beyond blending East and West to surprise the senses with unexpected twists.
BY DANA KOH
Fusion cuisine today is more than just a cool meeting between the East and West. It’s beyond just flavour—think cooking techniques, edible botanicals and unexpected plating. To partake in fusion cuisine today is to open yourself up to new takes on seemingly traditional favourites. Take abalone, for example. While most restaurants typically keep things simple around its natural brininess, proudly fusion restaurant, MORSELS’ Truffled Braised Korean Abalone is a multi-faceted umami explosion. Upon biting into its succulent flesh, one will discover that it is no ordinary braise—your nose should first be able to pick up the notes of truffle before you taste the layers of miso and fermented beancurd in the dashi (Japanese stock). Top that with an oozy, marinated ajitsuke quail egg and bubur terigu, a white wheat sweet porridge to contrast it all, and you have an abalone experience unlike any other. Then there’s the all-black dish at contemporary Chinese restaurant, FOREST. Looking like a rock formation on the plate, chef Sam Leong’s Textures of Black Sesame sees the humble ingredient interpreted into elements like lava cake, crumble and ice cream, creating a dimensional dessert that’s rich and nutty, yet light and fluffy all at once. Meanwhile at XIN DIVINE, the familiar dish of drunken chicken instead comes rolled with creamy foie gras into a roulade, Poulet De Bresse, which is cooked using the sous-vide method then deep-fried to perfection in a thin coat of tempura batter for crunch. There are also kurobuta pork and chive dumplings, Szechuan Style Tortellini, masquerading as Italian pasta in a pool of piquant broth of chilli, ginger and vinegar and topped with frothy chilli oil foam. Then there is one of the Central Business District’s newest hotspots, LES45, where little unexpected twists on traditional Mexican dishes go a long way. Think fish tacos but taken up at least five notches: One rendition is filled with no ordinary fillet—think Tempura Hake with hibiscus mayo and salsa fresca—while the other features a premium catch of the day, Lobster Tacos doused in ginger mint mojo (Mexican for “sauce”) and brown butter. Another must-try is the Chicken Tinga Tostadas layered with mango guacamole and a wasabi fried egg—juicy, smoky and tangy with an invigorating kick in every bite.
From top left: Mexican hotspot, LES45. LES45’s Chicken Tinga Tostadas with mango guacamole and a wasabi sunny side up. Xin Divine’s Poulet De Bresse. The VIP room at Xin Divine. Morsels’ Truffled Braised Korean Abalone. Forest’s Textures of Black Sesame.