Fusion cuisine is not everyone’s cup of tea, and it can certainly be hit-or-miss. Many gourmands self-identify as purists, sticking their noses up at anything that falls outside what a cuisine “should” be, but we say, if it tastes good, why not? The world is made up of so many diverse cultures, why should they not merge in cuisine?
French-Japanese cuisine has become increasingly popular of late, with fine-dining restaurants such as Arbor, Tirpse and Takumi by Daisuke Mori perfecting the art of both meticulous cuisines. For the purpose of this list, we will be sticking to more affordable spots that celebrate cuisines beyond the now trendy French-Japanese category.
These are our top picks for affordable and delicious fusion spots:
LEE Lo Mei
Beneath the neon lights, roadside drinkers and quirky dish names lie some seriously innovative Cantonese eats that celebrate nostalgic flavours while showcasing modern culinary techniques such as molecular gastronomy. On our last visit, we were suitably impressed by the new dishes at LEE Lo Mei. Some of our favourites include LEE’s Little Lobster ($208), a grilled Boston lobster tail dripping in flavour from the Thai chilli paste and butter sauce and served with Chinese “silver thread rolls” with condensed milk foam, and the Ping Ping Buns ($118), which turn the beloved pineapple bun into Ibérico char siu sliders with actual pineapple and homemade pineapple jam. For dessert, the Ginger Bomb ($98) quite literally explodes with flavour, while the A-Maize-Ing ($98) is a surprisingly delicious sweet version of corn chowder.
Well known for their impressive selection of craft beers, Second Draft will always have a special place in our hearts thanks to their creative East-meets-West brunch dishes and bar bites designed by acclaimed chef May Chow. We’re obsessed with the chicken hotcake ($138), which presents fried three-yellow chicken atop a dense scallion and sesame hotcake that’s drizzled with sweet beer syrup, as well as the kaya French toast ($78), fusing the Singaporean and Hong Kong breakfast classics and topping it off with a bright green dollop of pandan butter.
Just stepping into bright and colourful Uma Nota is enough to boost anyone’s mood. However, the fun doesn’t stop with the decor. Their Brazillian-Japanese eats are just as scintillating. Uma Nota pays homage to these cultures and cuisines with street-food-inspired dishes such as the Brazilian katsu sando ($90) and Uma Nota nigiri ($150), which is comprised of M5 Australian Wagyu, cassava nigiri and yuzu kosho. We also highly recommend sampling the caipirinhas and other cocktails.
Gunpowder Indian RestoBar
Gunpowder is the young and hip sister restaurant to our Foodie Forks 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Gaylord. While they still offer delicious traditional Indian curries and tandoori options, if you’re feeling adventurous, we highly recommend giving their playful and creative dishes such as Colonel's Scotch eggs ($119), chutney caprese salad ($138) and penne butter chicken ($148) a try. It would also be criminal not to order a portion or two of the cheese truffle naan ($58).
G/F, J Residence, 18 Ship Street, Wanchai, 2827 7777
If your knowledge of Filipino foods exists solely within the world of Jollibee, you’ll have to head over to Holy Gaw for some elevated Filipino fusion eats. Gaw’s carbonara ($188) is not to be missed with its delectable chunks of crispy crackling and pork belly. The ice-cream sandwiches ($58) are another reason to visit this cosy eatery, with flavours of avocado and ube along with classic and pandan pandesal bread tempting us.
15 Swatow Street, Wanchai, 5182 4804
Another “holy” spot albeit with distinctly unholy decor, Holy Eats is a fun, casual eatery that offers fabulous specials every night of the week. From two-for-one Monday to all-day happy hour on Wednesday and Sunday, Holy Eats has a deal to suit every taste and bank account. Their dishes are inspired by Asian and international flavours, with options like Caribbean jerk chicken with turmeric rice ($168), Korean bachan pork ($208), char siu tacos ($98) and Samoan ceviche ($138) delivering diverse flavours with every bite.
Brut! & Pondi
Sai Ying Pun favourites Brut! and Pondi present colourful dishes that celebrate foods and flavours from around the globe. At Brut!, the miso cod with butter radish and pickled mandarin ($178) is a must-order, as is the roasted lamb rib with hung yoghurt and XO sauce ($248). Pondi, which was born out of a collaboration with the former BlackSalt team, has an enticing menu of French-Indian delights such as baked aubergine with coriander chutney ($185) and air-dried lamb loin ($225).
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