- Fusion cuisine has been around in restaurants for years.
- But now restaurants and TikTok are taking food delivery to the level of cooking chaos.
In the pre-internet days, fusion cuisine was a blend of classic international cuisine. It was a thoughtful blend of epicurean cultures.
Today, the culinary trend is elevated for the sensation-seeking masses. Indie restaurants and chains are rolling out ambitious and unimaginative culinary offerings, from Big Mac pizzas at Washington D.C. to fajitas at TGI Fridays. Restaurant blog Eater defined Chaos Cuisine as “part neo-fusion, part middle finger” and “a new, brash style of food” that is changing the face of restaurants.
Alex Watanabe and Marcelo Baez’s Japanese-Mexican fusion restaurant, set to open this month in Lower Manhattan, will reportedly sell biriya ramen, al pastor sushi rolls, sashimi tostadas and shrimp teriyaki tacos. Nacheaux, a restaurant in Portland, serves Mexican and Southern fusion dishes such as nachos, Cajun beef, red beans and dirty rice. Pijja Palace in Los Angeles serves Tandoori Spaghetti and Masala Mac & Cheese
The FRIjitas dish, sold this summer at TGI Fridays, has been billed as a globally inspired version of the fajita. The chain sold three versions: Tandoori Chicken Skewers, Dynamite Shrimp and Whiskey Glaze Tex Mex.
“Sales of Tandoori FRIjitas have outperformed similar menu offerings,” TGI Fridays Chief Marketing Officer Brandon Coleman. “We believe there is plenty of room for Friday’s to continue to innovate its menu by bringing new global flavors to more familiar, more accessible menu options.”
Some of the dishes are novelty plays, recreating fast food flavors with fine dining ingredients.
For example, Washington’s Boogy and Peel sells a $22 patty called Harambe Loved Big Macs. It is made with seasoned beef, special sauce, American cheese, shredded iceberg, chopped onion and homemade dill pickle chips.
On Instagram and TikTok, chaotic cooking takes many forms: pizza with refried beans, zucchini fettuccine, and vegan mint cake. Sometimes the kitchen is just a chaotic style. The Washington Post defined Chaotic Cooking as “blatantly flouting the cardinal rules of how to cook and what tastes or looks good in a way that is fun and intelligent.” The article asked: Is preparing for chaos the way to inner peace?
Although established, chaotic cuisine is expected to get a boost from social media as restaurants become more social.
“In 2023, restaurants that never had Instagram accounts will get them; Restaurants that have never thought about TikTok will download it to see what the buzz is,” according to a 2023 restaurant trends study released by food tech startup BentoBox.
Other food trends born from viral social media posts have become restaurant staples, including avocado toast, espresso drinks with latte art, and freakshakes (milkshakes mixed with other desserts like cake or donuts).