Guest Blog Article: Fusion Food (by: Ben Fossen, Minneapolis MN)

A NOTE FROM CHARLESTON FOOD WRITER:

(I am so glad that my path crossed with that of Ben Fossen on Instagram! He has some of the most interesting food pictures that I have encountered from someone that isn’t a professional chef.  Ben is a home cook and really enjoys being in the kitchen and whipping up some amazing stuff! I love checking out his pics and can’t help but get inspired from his food descriptions and work!  One of the things I wanted to do with my blog was to feature guest writers and let them share some of the things they are interested in. I thought it would be a fun way to give other people who love food as much as I do an opportunity to share some cool stuff they come across or are in to! I think group collaborations are the best! So check out his stuff-its awesome! Thanks for contributing Ben!)

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Guatemalan-Korean Fusion Ceviche

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Ceviche, a favorite of mine, is a popular Latin American and Guatemalan seafood dish, typically eaten with crackers. I have countless fond memories of eating ceviche with friends and family. There are many different way to prepare this dish; many Latin American countries have their own variations of ceviche, all slightly different. Guatemalan ceviche traditionally is made with shrimp, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. I am excited to announce that I will be doing an ongoing series of Guatemalan-Korean fusion dishes and I choose ceviche as my first dish. People may think combining such different cuisines as bizarre, however, Koreans are the fastest growing migrant group in Guatemala. Koreans first began moving to Guatemala in the 1980’s to start textile factories, primarily living in Guatemala City. There is now a Korea town (like China towns in other major cities) in Guatemala City and Korean restaurants and stores are becoming more common. The Korean population in Guatemala is the fastest growing in Latin America, it will be interesting to see if this will have an influence on Guatemala in the future, particularly when it comes to cuisine. I also have a personal connection to these fusion dishes as well. I am partial to Guatemalan food because I am from Guatemala. Korean food is also special to me because while I was attending university I was introduced to Korean food by a wonderful friend, who became like family to me over the years. As a result, Korean food quickly became one of my favorite interests. I enjoy the bold new flavors and ingredients in the dishes I encountered.

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I used several base ingredients of Guatemalan ceviche to start this dish which included lime juice, tomato, onion, shrimp, garlic salt and pepper. Ceviche contains a lot of lime juice which gives the dish an intense flavor so it was difficult to choose which Korean flavors to introduce to ceviche to make it a fusion dish. I choose gochujang, a red pepper paste which has a spicy savory flavor to compliment the lime juice. This added some spice and a flavor of Korea to the dish. Next, I added kimchi, a Korean national dish, to the ceviche. Kimchi is made from fermented vegetables, most often cabbage and scallions. This addition added more substance to the dish, blended well with the existing ingredients, and gave the dish a more Korean look and texture. The last addition was gim, an edible seaweed, which has a savory flavor. The gim also helped at a Korean look and texture to the ceviche as well as adding a subtle savory Korean flavor to the dish. The resulting dish was a delicious ceviche that blended the flavors and food textures of both cuisines.

I work as software engineer, but enjoy cooking and experimenting with unique fusion dishes in my free time. I think that good food presentation enhances the experience and therefore I like to use creative plating with my food. I will be doing a series of Guatemalan-Korean fusion dishes as well as other food creations. Follow my Instagram account @fossenben to get updates on my cooking.