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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

There is no "Asian" Cuisine

Today's diners in Washington, D.C., are seeing an increase in "Asian Fusion" restaurants offering dishes from more than one Asian cooking tradition. This trend is motivated partly by demand (yes, sometimes diners like egg rolls before diving into a plate of sushi). But sometimes the move toward fusion comes from chefs experimenting with new ingredients or new recipes.

The cuisines of Asia and the Pacific Islands feature a broad range of meats, seafood, starches, vegetables, dessert items, and beverages. Yet, just as no one can say there is an all-purpose "European" or "African" or "Latin American" cuisine, there truly is no single "Asian" cuisine. The arrival of immigrants from China and the spread of southern Chinese cuisine to all corners of this country by the early 1900s made Chinese food recognizable to Americans of earlier generations. Since the post-1965 influx of Asian immigrants, however, Vietnamese beef noodles, Japanese sushi, and Indian curry dishes also serve as popular takeout options in many communities.

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