Trend: The New Fusion—Latin and Asian Mashups

The evolution of Latin-Asian-inspired concepts now takes shape as mashups of specific Latin and Asian cuisines. Like Cuban-Vietnamese and Mexican-Korean, the dishes are more representative of global food today, not just a washed-out version of fusion like in years past.

Concept Closeups

Latin meets Asian on restaurant menus from coast to coast, including at many concepts in Miami, where many Cubans, Puerto Ricans and other Latin-American residents live alongside those of Asian descent.

Bäco Mercat and BäcoShop, Los Angeles: Chef Josef Centeno expands this flatbread concept which focuses on his Bäcos, which are flatbreads stuffed with Asian-influenced fillings like sriracha and buttermilk marinated shrimp and folded like tacos or wrapped like burritos and called Bäcoritos.

Dôa, Miami Beach, Fla.: Peruvian-style skewers marinated in aji amarillo sauce pair up with Japanese sashimi, maki rolls and Chinese-like dim sum. Owner Arjun Waney plans to expand to Washington, D.C., and Boston next.

Kye’s Montana, Santa Monica, Calif.: This growing fast-casual chain features the KyeRito, a handheld bowl or salad that uses greens instead of tortillas to wrap up Asian-inspired medleys like Korean-style bulgogi — thinly sliced, marinated grass-fed beef — with vegetables, herbs, kimchi and gochujang, a chile paste.

Pubbelly Noodle Bar, Miami: Asian bases like bao, dim sum and noodles pair up with global ingredients like harissa, chorizo and more.

Phuc Yea, Miami: This playful spot blends Vietnamese with Cajun fare in the form of dishes like cod-stuffed bao. Chef Cesar Zapata draws influences from GM Partner Aniece Meinhold’s Vietnamese background to create Vietnamese-Cajun dishes like Jambalaya with Chinese sausage and sriracha remoulade and fresh seafood with lemongrass and ginger mignonette.

Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, Miami: More global fare abounds at Chef Michael Schwartz’s popular restaurant in the form of Kimchi benedict with pork belly and crispy hominy with chile and lime.

Outlook Kitchen and Bar, The Envoy Hotel, Boston: Executive Chef Tatiana Rosana takes Cuban-style, mojo-marinated, braised pork and stuffs it into baos, layering the dish with Korean barbecue sauce.

LEYNIA, Delano South Beach hotel, Miami Beach, Fla.: This Asian-Argentine concept features dishes like meats cooked on a wood-fired Argentine grill alongside raw crudo and maki rolls.

Tapalaya, Portland, Ore.: Chef Anh Luu prepares Cajun and Creole specialties using traditional Vietnamese ingredients, such as Boudin balls with ponzu sauce and phorritos — a cross between a burrito and Vietnamese pho.

Sakerum, Washington, D.C.: This sushi bar features Latin-inspired dishes like Mexican elotes and South American tostones with fried plantain, grilled corn salsa and wasabi peas.


Emerging Asian Cuisines in the U.S.

  • Filipino
  • Taiwanese
  • Laotian
  • Malaysian

Source: Andrew Freeman & Co.


Modern Mash Up E&S

  • Authentic wood-fired or charcoal ovens and grills (robata, Argentine BBQ, Cuban smoke boxes)
  • Woks and stir-fry utensils
  • Steamer baskets or dumplings and dim sum
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