Food & Drink

ASIAN FUSION, BUT NOT QUITE WHAT YOU’RE THINKING

Not quite a year ago, Marrickville Metro, the heart of the Inner West, launched its new $142 million dining precinct. With it came a myriad of multicultural eateries bringing visitors on a journey of flavours, taking them from Malaysia to the Middle East and everywhere in-between. The addition of these exciting new venues has transformed the centre into a dining hub for Inner West locals who have welcomed them with open arms. A standout in the wave of new eateries that have swung the doors open at Marrickville Metro is China Fusion, a concept established over 20 years ago in mainland China that has arrived in Marrickville.

Behind China Fusion are owner Christine Chen and Master Head Chef, Mr Meng, who specialises in Shanghainese fine dining. Together, they are on a mission to change our ingrained assumptions about what is Chinese food by showcasing traditional, regional specialties and sharing its history. To do this, they are bringing together highlights from the diverse, hyper-regional cuisines of China.

“Chinese cuisine is rich and diverse. In China, there are eight distinctive cuisines varying in style and taste. Each has evolved from very specific culinary traditions over thousands of years based on the environment and ethnic background of their respective regions,” says Christine. “These distinct flavours and styles are recognised throughout Chinese society and found globally. However, outside of China, they are often grouped together as simply ‘Chinese Food’ with little understanding of the history behind it. That’s why we want to help educate diners and showcase the unique flavours and their differences”.

At China Fusion, you’ll find dishes from the eight big culinary cuisines, which include Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Anhui, Shandong, Szechuan and Zhejiang. Diners are taken on a journey through China’s culinary history with dishes made using traditional cuisines and ingredients as they were 100 years ago but presented with a modern style. Standouts on the menu include the delicious Suzhou dish, Sweet & Sour Mandarin Fish – live Barramundi skilfully deboned, served with pine nuts, finished in a tangy sweet and sour sauce; a guaranteed showstopper; freshly made Shanghainese Xiao Long Bao and for the chilli lovers, Sichuan Style Braised Fish Fillets in Red Chilli Oil – fresh Black Barramundi fillets, Sichuan peppercorn, dried chilli peppers and doubanjiang (fermented chilli bean paste), creating a rich, aromatic broth. “We wanted to create a menu that combines Chinese favourites that we all love, such as Diced Black Pepper Steak, with less known dishes such as Marbled Beef Poached in Hot and Sour Sydney, 2022 Soup,” says Christine. “Many of our dishes are very well known across China in restaurants and home cooking, but you will rarely see them here. That way, we hope diners will explore new flavours without feeling overwhelmed.” In addition to its incredible seafood and meat dishes, China Fusion also has a wide array of traditional gluten-free and vegan offerings that are commonly believed to be notoriously difficult to pull off in Chinese cuisine.

Christine and her head chefs have delved into the diverse cuisine of China to showcase traditional dishes that are naturally vegan or gluten-free such as Griddle Potato Slices, a home-cooking staple, and Fried Rice with Olive Vegetables. Though they have been open for only a year, China Fusion has proven to be a low-key hit and Inner West favourite, with customers discovering dishes they would not have tried in other settings. With their swanky interior that evokes a traditional Chinese tea house but with a modern twist, diners will be transported to less travelled provinces of China.

Please visit chinafusion.com.au and follow @chinafusionmarrickville to keep up to date.