I am half Japanese and half American, so I see a lot of cultural adoptions from one culture to the other. American cars inspired the Japanese automotive industry, which then came to America to compete. Japanese cartoons, or anime, reaches adult audiences which helped American cartoons gain traction past just being Saturday morning children’s entertainment. But food is one of my favorite forms of cultural adoption and one of the most interesting ones to me. With food, you can see where the base dish originates from, the culture from the preparation and ingredients, though you can also tell how the dish changes and is adopted into the new country’s culture. Adding an ingredient here or using a technique primarily used somewhere else influences the dish and can display multiple cultures.
A huge adoption in food would be sushi. All across America now, sushi restaurants have been trending. Sushi, the type being adopted, is originally from Japan. When sushi was adopted, it was modified to fit more with American tastes. For example, California rolls were an American adaptation of Japanese maki (roll) sushi. These rolls, after coming to America, used ingredients typically not found in Japanese sushi, like avocado. Even more interesting is that now, Japan has readopted this American style of sushi and you can also find California rolls in Japan.
A more odd Japanese adoption of an American classic is pizza. In America, when you think of pizza it is usually dough topped with a tomato sauce, a healthy amount of cheese, and then meat toppings like pepperoni, maybe a few vegetables (pineapple if you are adventurous). In Japan, a personal pizza will cost over the equivalent of $10-15 and come with sauces like Alfredo or mayonnaise. Popular toppings are shrimp and octopus, with cheese optional.
Just like with sushi coming to America, pizza was adapted to suit Japanese taste buds, while still keeping the central idea alive. The chefs who brought their nation’s classical dishes to another country helped their culture move across those borders through these adaptions.