Cultural Twists to Traditional Classics

By: Melaina Gasbarrino

Today the words 'traditional cooking' are getting kicked under the table and traditions from one culture are being reinvented to showcase the diversity of all types of food. It's no wonder food trucks are serving up Korean Fried Chicken or restaurants popping up in New York City that divulge in the sophisticated nature of French and sushi all wrapped into one. Your Italian grandparents may threaten to disown you after they discover you no longer like the homemade thin-crust pizza and instead have opted for a Hawaiian pizza at your favorite pizza joint. But not to worry, after reviewing these strange, yet captivating twists on traditional cuisines, your grandparents may just cave and taste test the sophisticated foie gras sushi on their next outing.

French Sushi: We all know how sophisticated French cuisine is, and how minuscule and uniquely crafted sushi can be, thus why not combine the two to create somewhat of a masterpiece when it comes to traditional cooking twists. The Sushi Shop, located on Madison Avenue in NYC has reinvented how prestigious the two traditional cuisines can be. The take on this joint is to encompass foie gras laced in sushi, embellish fish tartars and creatively craft unique dishes for all the delicate palates out there.

Japanese Pancakes: Japanese pancakes, or in traditional Japanese, Okonomiyaki, is roughly translated to English as "as-you-like-it pancakes". This unique twist on a savory treat in the morning is translated into a heartier dish as a Japanese pancake. The pan-fried pancake consists of batter, cabbage and a variety of additions such as meat, kimichi or octopus. Needless to say, there is nothing sweet about this type of pancake, but it certainly showcases how diverse a pancake really can be. So if you're feeling like pancakes for dinner, than test your culinary skills and create your very own Okonomiyaki.

Korean Fried Chicken: Ah the joys of fried chicken! It's that good old Southern home cooking that people around America try and scout out no matter what city they venture off to. But with all of that crunchy, greasy, goodness the traditional take on fried chicken has been taken a step further into the likes of any Korean restaurant. Their take on fried chicken isn't out of the ordinary, the chicken is fried just like the Southern way, but then is laced with sticky, garlicky sauces that aid to a whole new wow factor, fried chicken style.

Hawaiian Pizza: We all love a old Italian-style thin crust pizza, but when you've got pineapples and ham sprawling across a pizza, then it's of the Hawaiian variety. Originally thought up by Germany, many believe, the Hawaiian pizza is not, as you may have thought sought up by those hopping through the Hawaiian Islands. The pizza is associated with Hawaii because of its sweet unique toppings of pineapple and ham. Of course any Italian would never dare add sweet toppings to their pizza, but in the end, this twist is one for all of you who can't live without a little sweet toppled onto their pizza.

And so when we take a look at all of those crazy twists out there, it is safe to say that something prominent in one tradition is also a staple in another. All we have to do is become more familiar with the unfamiliar twists that are eagerly creeping onto dinner tables all across America.

Have you created any traditional food twists?

Melaina is from a small town in Ontario, Canada and as an avid environmentalist with a passion for focusing on healthy living. Having traveled the world and written about it every step of the way, she one day hopes to develop unique environmental educational programs for kids. 

Photos: Alexandra Moss, xcode, and Mirka23

For more stories from Melaina, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)