Fusion cuisine combines elements of various culinary traditions while not fitting specifically into any. The term generally refers to the innovations in many contemporary restaurant cuisines since the 1970s.
Another incarnation of fusion cuisine the more eclectic approach, featuring original dishes using varieties of ingredients from various cuisines and regions and combining them. Such restaurants are often trendy and have no singular thematic cohesion other than innovative eclecticism in their menus. Such a restaurant might feature a wide variety of dishes inspired by combinations of various regional cuisines with new ideas.
A third approach uses foods with a form based on one cuisine, but prepared using ingredients and flavors inherent to another cuisine or cuisines. For instance, pizza made with cheddar and pepper jack cheese, salsa, refried beans and other common taco ingredients is often marketed as "Taco Pizza" or a similar concept, and is a fusion of Italian-American (pizza) and Mexican-American cuisines. Similar approaches have been used for fusion-sushi, such as rolling maki with different types of rice and ingredients, e.g. curry and basmati rice, cheese and salsa sauce with Spanish rice, or spiced ground lamb and capers rolled with Greek-style rice and grape leaves (resembling inside-out dolmades).
Since fusion cuisine is a general term, it is legitimately applied to either sort of restaurant. While many diners feature dishes from Greek, Italian, and sometimes Asian cuisines side-by-side, these restaurants are generally not considered fusion as they fail to combine any elements of the cooking styles and also have no over-arching fusion or eclectic theme.
These factors have made this type of cuisine accepted and popular in places like California and in large metropolitan areas. Austrian Chef Wolfgang Puck is considered as one of the pioneers of fusion cuisine. However, his restaurant "Chinois" was named after the term attributed to Richard Wing, who in the 1960s combined French and Chinese cooking at the former Imperial Dynasty restaurant in Hanford, California.
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