A menu that includes foods from two ethnicities is a delicious way to personalize your party.

By Nancy Mattia
March 31, 2020
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After putting a custom stamp on everything from their vows to their attire, more and more brides and grooms are choosing to do the same to their wedding menus. But they're not just picking random dishes—they're choosing foods that tie into their cultural backgrounds. This newlywed fusion cuisine is an appetizing way to make guests from both the bride's and groom's sides feel comfortable with foods they know but with a foreign twist. If you're wondering how to incorporate two cultures into one reception menu, check out the tips below.

Get the families' input.

When he's been asked to serve a multicultural meal, the first thing that Bram Fowler, executive chef at the Old Jailhouse, a restaurant in Sanford, Florida, does is have a conversation with the bride and groom, as well as their parents or grandparents. "I want to find out what their favorite dishes are from their cultures," he says, "so I can cross-reference them and see what might work together."

Start with the cocktail hour.

The perfect place to turn your ancestral histories into an edible feast? The cocktail hour, which is already designed to feature many different types of foods. For a couple with a Japanese-Italian heritage, serve mini sushi pizza; for a duo with Thai and Mexican backgrounds, serve chicken tacos with peanut sauce. Fowler suggests mussels (for a French bride) with kimchi, a salted, flavorful vegetable dish (for a Japanese groom) or to honor Greek and Chinese couples, you could do a lamb lo mein.

Think about flavors.

Fowler suggests looking at each of the favorite food's flavor profile. "Certain foods have similar flavors that would work together." Take a duck confit, which is French. "You've got fat in there, you've got herbs and a bit of garlic. You can do a farata, which is basically a pancake that Indians use [often stuffed with meat]. You could make a duck confit farata."

Make it a seated surprise.

As an alternative to hors d'oeuvres, you could serve your blended cultural cuisines during dinner. "A lot of cultures eat fish or seafood," says Fowler. If you had an American fish like cod, to represent the bride, you could pair it with chimichurri sauce (parsley, oregano, garlic), representing the Argentinian groom. "Or you could do something as simple as mashed potatoes with a Goan [Indian] sauce," says Fowler. "Now you've easily mixed those two cultures."

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