Love ItLove It

Fusion Cuisine or Confusion Cuisine? Mediterranean Cheese in Chinese Stir Fry!

Yep, you read that right! This evening I cubed a block of white halloumi cheese from Cyprus, and marinated it in soy sauce and vinegar. I did the same with cubes of tempeh, which is a block of soybeans with a web of mould holding them together, and which originates in Java. I then deep-fried them both, before adding them to the wok, together with homemade kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage) and Chinese egg noodles. Is this Fusion Cuisine or Confusion Cuisine?

I consider myself a competent and confident cook, who almost never follows recipes, and I often happily throw together a stir-fry similar to what I’ve described above – minus the cheese! Dairy was entirely unknown in China until recently, and has no place in traditional Chinese cuisine. While I’m an adventurous cook, I almost never try to mix elements from far-flung traditions. But tonight I decided to be daring and took a gamble. The result went down very well with all members of the family, so who knows what weird fusions (or confusions) I may come up with in the coming days!

What’s your opinion about such combinations? Are they a dead-end street, destined to feel  forced together, or a profitable vein to mine?

#1 Deep fried cubes of halloumi cheese and tempeh

Here are the cubes of halloumi cheese (top) and tempeh (bottom) after being marinated and deep-fried.  Whatever possessed me to combine a sheep and goat milk cheese from Cyprus with a fermented soybean cake from Indonesia, I cannot say, but as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating!

#2 Stir-fried Egg Noodles with Kimchi, Halloumi and Tempeh

And here is the final result! You can pick out the golden cubes of cheese, and the dark brown cubes of tempeh. Which is exactly what I do sometimes, when I want to go straight for the tasty bits This is my first time putting cheese in a Chinese dish, but it may not be that last!


What do you think?

11 Points


  1. My brain has no precedent for soy-soaked cheese, and not even much experience with exotic cheeses, so it is all up in the air. Guess I’ll have to find the ingredients and replicate the experiment.

    • The cheese I used is halloumi, made only in Cyprus. If you can find a shop selling Greek products, you have a good chance of getting it there. It has the unusual quality of being able to be grilled or fried without melting. I often use it as a substitute for paneer, the white cheese you may have encountered in the Subcontinent.
      I also had no mental precedent for soy-soaked cheese. This may prompt me to stretch my self-imposed culinary boundaries πŸ™‚