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Fusion Fare: Mexican, Latin and Asian Flavors Meld to Create Enticing New Dishes via el Restaurante Magazine

Jan. 30, 2018

By Kathleen Furore
el Restaurante Magazine 

            Have you ever heard of a Baco?

This hybrid of a taco and the Asian bun called a bao is just one example that shows how fusion fare is reshaping the culinary landscape, creating completely new flavor combinations and dishes along the way.

The Baco is a hit on the menu at Saucy Porka, a fast casual Asian-Latin fusion

Porkas Bacos

restaurant from former food truck chefs Amy Le and Rafael Lopez. The concept, which launched in Chicago’s Loop in 2013,  showcases flavors and spices from Puerto Rico, South East Asia, China, Japan and Korea in comfort foods reminiscent of the owners’ childhoods. ChicagoEater.com named Saucy Porka one of the top 14 best and boldest fusion restaurants in Chicago in 2017.

“Co-creating the menu with fellow food truck chef Rafael Lopez, my more Asian style cooking evolved into a Latin fusion,” Le recalls. “Rafael, who is Puerto Rican, and I discovered there were so many similarities in the spices and herbs we used in our styles of cooking. It was the perfect marriage.”

The marriage also has produced more than bacos. Dishes include The Saucy Porka (a pork carnitas banh mi sandwich served on French baguette with kimchi and mayo); Nacho Kim (nachos topped with pork, chicken or miso short rib, or meatless with scallions, kimchi and jalapeño garlic aioli); Pork Ramen Soup (Vietnamese pho broth with Chinese egg noodles, pork carnitas, fresh cilantro, basil, bean sprouts and jalapenos) and the Paella Rice bowl (saffron rice cooked in coconut milk with edamame beans, Chinese sweet sausage, mild sausage and pork carnitas). The latter two, says Le, are customer favorites.

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