I love fusion cuisine, especially with Asian foods. I grew up in Texas, so we had a plethora of Tex Mex and Hispanic food but Asian food was quite a bit harder.
I had no Asian friends growing up til I went to college, if you can believe it (my elementary through high school was all Hispanic, white, or African American. The only other Chinese person was… my sister).
I’m sharing a fun recipe that’s easy to make and great for parties or date night – Korean Bulgogi Tacos, which is one of my favorite fusion meals. Classic items like Korean BBQ and kimchi are wrapped inside a Mexican corn tortilla for a unique twist.
I kept mine simple – I marinated my beef with bulgogi BBQ sauce in a jar, which can be found at any Asian supermarket. You can also make your own bulgogi sauce to be more ambitious, or buy meat that’s already pre-marinated if you’re in a time crunch. Toast your tortilla, then add chopped kimchi (I’ve partnered with Chili Everyday to share a kimchi recipe and other useful kimchi tips), avocado for fillings. Then add spicy sour cream, lime, and cilantro to top it off for an easy gourmet meal
Korean tacos started in Los Angelos less than 10 years ago, with credit to Chef Roy. At that time, Korean food was still considered exotic, but now you can find them all over the US. (New York Times)
One of the great things about American Cuisine is that everything can become American – nowhere more than in the US do chefs borrow from ideas all over the world to make a food their own. As one article by Community Table states, America is “the greatest smorgasbord on Earth,” a reflection of America itself. Bonus: that article also features New Haven’s famous White Clam Pizza!
Real American food wasn’t created by premier chefs, but by waves of immigrants, bringing their own culture while adapting to America – nachos, chili, pizza, sushi, pita bread, and so on. Having lived in multiple urban areas all over the US – south, west, midwest, east – has definitely been an advantage since I’ve gotten so much exposure to all cultures (and cuisines!).
While tensions are high amongst Americans regarding immigration right now, hopefully we remember our country’s roots. Since everyone loves eating, I share this fusion recipe in solidarity with the hope that food will remind us there’s more common ground that not.
Korean Bulgogi Tacos
1/2 cup kimchi, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 tablespoon siracha
1 lime, cut in half
4-6 corn tortillas
1/2 lb flank steak, thinly sliced
1 jar bulgogi sauce (at Asian supermarkets)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
sesame seeds, to top
Chop your kimchi finely to make a slaw. Slice your avocado and cilantro. Mix your sour cream with siracha (adjust amount to perfered spiciness level), and juice from half a lime to make your spicy cream.
To make the bulgogi, pour the marinade sauce and meat into a bowl or ziploc bag and let it marinate for at least an hour, ideally overnight. Heat your wok/skillet on medium on the stovetop, add sesame oil, then stir fry about 5 mins until the meat is just brown. Do not overcrowd your meat while stir frying (cook in batches if needed). The meat will cook quickly since it’s thin. When it’s ready, set aside and top with sesame seeds.
To assemble your Korean tacos, heat your corn tortillas in a toaster oven or grill on stovetop using a skillet. When crispy, top with bulgogi, kimchi, avocado, cilantro (careful not to overfill). Drizzle with spicy sour cream and remaining lime juice. Eat while fresh. Enjoy!