Max and I had a quick and decent meal at Food Fusion. If you work near the Huangpi area of Huaihai Road, come here for a business lunch.
Food Fusion is on an alleyway with a number of inviting looking restaurants and diners. ‘Perhaps we should go next door instead’ I said to Max. We didn’t. ‘Décor – a bit rough and ready’ I noted to myself. However, there was a TV. I consoled myself with the thought that if the food wasn’t good we would at least be able to watch some TV.
The food was good, as it turned out. Max speculated that Food Fusion was aimed at people working in one of the many office blocks in the area who want to have something different for lunch, particularly South East Asians working in these office blocks. I agreed.
Food Fusion tries to offer authentic Malaysian food and its popularity must be testament to the fact that it is getting it right. There is nothing ‘fusion’ about the place apart from the name. The name was chosen by a previous owner who wanted to create ‘Chinese-Malaysian’ fusion food. He left and so did his concept. Now it is Malaysian food. Perhaps the name will go soon too.
The chicken curry was very good. Nice meat and interesting spices. There was also black fried turnip cake, fried ‘kang-kong’ (I know what you’re thinking), nestum prawns (fried with crispy wheat flakes), Indonesian bamboo butter chicken and roti. Max liked the ‘kang-kong’, I liked the turnip cake. I’m no authority on the subject but this seemed like authentic and simple South East Asian food.
Oliver is one of the owners. He’s French. Don’t worry, he’s only one of the owners; the others are Malaysian. I asked him what he was doing running a Malaysian restaurant. He didn’t really say. I asked him why he didn’t open a French restaurant. He said he didn’t like French food. I said ‘that must be a joke.’ He said it was.
He didn’t say much more than that apart from that. They wanted to offer ‘no too fancy, not too cheap’ authentic Malaysian food, he said. They have definitely succeeded on the ‘not too fancy, not too cheap’ part, I thought. As for the ‘authentic’, difficult for me to say. However, the place was busy, and apparently most of the customers are Malaysians. So they must be doing something right.
They have an upstairs too, which can be booked for functions. It has a bar as well as tables. It doesn’t usually get used, which is a pity. The décor up there is a bit better, apart from the ceiling, which is ghastly.
Some people go to Food Fusion twice a day. If they served European home cooking at that price, perhaps I would too. However, for Westerners and Chinese, it is out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, good, quick, handy and popular.
-by Charles Prior
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