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Whether or not you’ve taken advantage of the Asian
Fusion craze in town, you should make it a point to keep
the historic roots of this culinary genre on your radar no
matter where your gastronomic adventures take you.
T e x t by Dav id C . Clel an d
sian Fusion, which first gained
its momentum in the U.S. in the
yearly ‘80s thanks to the work
of pioneers such as Wolfgang
Puck and Roy Yamaguchi, now
has a firm grasp on restaurants across the
world, and especially here in Miami.
In fact, some of the hottest restaurants in
town including Zuma, Tuyo, Café Sambal and
Pubbelly all hail from this genre, and pull it of
with amazing results. However, unlike other
major cities across the country, we have all
but ignored the roots of this cuisine. In a city
where many of the top restaurants are Asian-
inspired, it’s upsetting that we don’t always
get the original right before we start playing
around with variations.
The good news: There’s hope. Fortunately,
there are a few restaurants in the area that
serve amazing, traditional food that will have
you arriving — and leaving — with a smile.
Take, for example, Hy Vong, right on Calle
Ocho in Miami. This place has developed a
cult-like following of fiercely loyal patrons. The
name means “hope” in Vietnamese, and it was
opened in 1980 by owners Kathy Manning &
Tung Nguyen, who’s amazing and inspirational
story is one made for the movies. Serving
traditional, country-style Vietnamese food
for over 30 years, this is a true gem that
Miami needs to hold close.
Over the bridge is Indomania on South
Beach, run by Dutch couple Ineke & Pieter,
who are some of the nicest people on the
planet. The menu is full of traditional
Indonesian dishes including fantastic curries.
For a truly unique experience, try their famous
rijsttafels, sure to fill the entire table with
every taste imaginable. While here, make sure
to leave pretensions at the door.
Further north is Gabose. Though it’s a bit of
a drive, this place’s unassuming location would
be worth the trip even if it was cross-country.
Among the many lures, this unassuming eatery
lets you grill your own meat over smoldering
coals at you table and serves 15 or so small
dishes with every meal.
In conclusion, although fusion is all the
rage, it’s important to take a step back and
remember that oftentimes fusion could lead to
confusion. And nothing beats the original.