It’s pretty trendy to mix cuisines these days, and for good reason: unexpected combinations are usually unexpectedly delicious! In Utah, fusion restaurants are king, and these 10 are easily some of the Beehive State’s best.
With locations in Salt Lake City, Sandy, Murray, Fort Union, and Lehi, it would be safe to say that Zao Asian Café has been taking Utah by storm. Touting a simple formula, Zao’s leaves you in control of your food. First, you choose from a meal type (such as a rice bowl, tacos, salad, a Vietnamese inspired banh mi sandwich, or soup) and then you choose your desired protein. By the looks of it, Utah is convinced that Zao’s is a fusion necessity.
Baguettes aren’t typically present in Southeast Asian cuisine, but Oh Mai has turned that very combo into a Salt Lake Valley staple. While the restaurant also sells pho and other noodle dishes, it is the sandwiches that keep even the pickiest of eaters coming back for more.
Started in 2000 by a Japanese chef, EastWest connection incorporates diverse Asian flavors into one stand-out menu. Here, you can get entrees according to your choice of protein (beef, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetarian), in addition to Japanese style hotpot, ramen, or even the Vietnamese Banh mi.
While it isn’t exactly atypical to mix Asian flavors, mixing Asian flavors with American classics is a bit more adventurous. Rye is exactly that: American food with an Asian twist. Not all of Rye’s menu items are hybrids of East and West, but hints of unexpected flavors do appear in tried-and-true home-town favorites.
A farm-to-table oriented vegetarian restaurant, Zest Kitchen & Bar serves brunch, lunch, and dinner, all of which feature interesting combinations of global flavors and dishes. On the same dinner menu, you’ll find Indian curry potatoes, baked zuc & Cheese, “Thai Sunrise,” and manicotti. This restaurant is also incredibly vegan friendly, but that doesn’t mean it’s off limits for meat lovers! No, meat is not served, but it’s likely this restaurant will change how you think about a vegetarian diet.
Another vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Sage’s Café was into the herbivore lifestyle before it was cool. In fact, this place has been around since 1998, and continues to garner praise from diverse places. Similarly to Zest Kitchen & Bar, Sage’s Café mixes flavors from a bunch of international cuisines to create a magical menu that features “Jackfruit Tacos,” “Magic Wok,” a variety of pastas, and the Japanese inspired “Soba Noodle and Blackened Tempeh” salad.
Following the organic and “fresh” trend, Mollie and Ollie serves up dishes that are not only healthy, but that warrant writing home about. With stir-fries, acai bowls, salads, wraps, and desserts, the restaurant is vegan/vegetarian and carnivore friendly. Middle-eastern, Asian, and Italian influences bring even more color to an already interesting menu.
Did you think you would ever find nachos, kabobs, calamari, and tempura on the same starter menu? Welcome to Chopfuku: the Asian fusion restaurant that manages to break all boundaries. And while the mere thought of breaking traditional gastronomical boundaries may seem unfamiliar, one visit to Chopfuku will leave you believing there is no superior way.
Typically, hotpot and grilling don’t pair up. At Yeah Hot Pot & Grill, the two are symbiotic. You must experience Yeah Hot Pot & Grill. Prepare to have your taste buds dazzled.
Ten years ago, you probably couldn’t have imagined a more unique combo than sushi and a burrito. One look at an actual sushi burrito, and you realize it isn’t as unusual as it sounds. Essentially a massive sushi roll eaten as a burrito, the sushi burrito is far from traditional in shape and even sometimes in flavor. This, my friends, is fusion at its finest.