Remember when the term “fusion cuisine” first made its way into the food scene in the ’80s? When the mixing of ingredients and techniques from different cultures started to pop up on restaurant menus in the form of California rolls and smoked salmon-topped pizza?
The fact is, we’ve been fusing food in the U.S. before the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock even thought about tossing a few handfuls of Native American corn into their venison stew.
It makes perfect sense. We are the melting pot of the world, so why shouldn’t what’s inside the pot reflect it?
Several years ago, a food truck popped up in Los Angeles offering the ultimate example of fusion cuisine — Korean barbecue beef, cilantro, onion and lime, tucked inside a warm corn tortilla and topped with a spicy-soy slaw. And, so, the Korean BBQ taco was born, and it had Angelenos lining up in droves.
For some reason the combination of Asian and Mexican works, and to prove my point, I offer you the Thai Skirt Steak Taco With Peanut Sauce and Cucumber-Mango Salsa.
Skirt steak is marinated in a heady mixture of lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce and broiled to a tender medium-rare.
Before I get ahead of myself, I want to point out that fish sauce (a bottle of deliciousness that tastes far better in anything you put it in than it smells itself) can now be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets, a testament to changing times.
The thinly sliced broiled steak and a bit of crunchy sliced cabbage are served in a warm corn tortilla. A lively peanut sauce, made with lime juice, peanut butter and Sriracha sauce, is drizzled over the top.
Fresh salsa is made by combining diced cucumber, sweet mango, a handful of chopped mint and cilantro with some reserved marinade. Sweet and tart, this unique twist on pico de gallo is spooned generously on top of the steak, along with a showering of more fresh herbs.
The result is an addictive take on street food — one you would not likely find on the streets of Bangkok or Mexico, but one that seems perfectly at home in the world’s biggest melting pot.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at