These 9 culinary trends are sweeping the restaurant industry. We dare you not to drool while reading this!
1. Coconut Everything
From water, to sugar, to flour, coconut isn’t just to be sprinkled atop a cupcake any longer. Coconut milk has recently secured its place as a regular substitute for lactose-free and soy milk in large chain and independent coffee shops alike. And although coconut sugar has been widely produced in South East Asia for thousands of years, it has finally caught on as being a delicious alternative to cane sugar in North America and provides more long-term health benefits than other sugar substitutes such as Xylitol (a sugar alcohol used as sweetener).
2. High-End Street Food
Traveling to inner-city Guadalajara to have a tasty al-pastor taco, or to Northern Thailand to experience the scintillating flavors of khao soi, is part of what makes venturing to a new country so exciting. But now, international street food is being introduced in high-end North American dining experiences. Dishes all the way from ramen - commonly prepared in diner-style restaurants in Japan - to lobster rolls - originally made harbor-side in Maine - are being seen in pricier, trendier, and more exclusive restaurants. Although the cost to enjoy these dishes is higher than they would be in their native environment, it hardly compares to the price it would take to get there.
3. Potato Pancakes All Around the World
Indians call them Aloo Tikki. They’re commonly referred to as Gamja Jeon by Koreans. The swedes, Rosti. You may know them best by their Jewish name, Latkes. The fact is, potato pancakes and all of their derivatives, which are differentiated by their unique seasoning and the ingredients they’re mixed with, are becoming a cross-cultural mainstream appetizer or tapas menu item in restaurants.
4. Edible Flowers
Too pretty to eat? Not a chance. We’ve seen them recently being used on naked cakes, edible flowers are becoming an increasingly popular decorative statement for food. They are delicately placed in bespoke cocktails as a garnish, and many have enjoyed them as part of their salads, dried out into tea or jelly. Now that edible flowers are available in almost all grocery stores, this trend will continue to be introduced as part of a distinctive and gorgeous eating experience.
5. The Local
There has been a big shift in what it means to provide a wholesome eating experience for customers, and this has been best seen in the emerging local food movement. Chefs are providing their customers with locally sourced and sustainable food, organic vegetables, and grain-fed meat. Not only does this leave customers more satisfied, but it creates a community of farmers who are also able to support and grow their business.
6. The Sauce with Lots of Seoul
Hailing from Korea, Gochujang is becoming a common alternative for Sriracha and Cholula addicts worldwide. Made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt, Gochujang offers a savory and spicy flavor not to only be enjoyed exclusively with Korean BBQ, but also on breakfast dishes, mixed into vegetable stir fry, and as part of a meat marinade.
7. Haitian Cuisine
Haitian eateries are popping up all over major metropolitan cities. With its roots deep in Spanish, French, African and Taíno culture, Haitian cuisine is bold, spicy, and very filling. The nation’s diverse history has translated into a fusion of flavors, so Haitian dishes are often embraced by many other cultures because of how familiar the tastes are. Ordering at a Haitian restaurant? Expect meat heavy dishes with lots of beans, sweet potatoes, and rice.
8. Delicata Squash
Known as the everyday alternative to butternut, delicata squash has a very similar creamy texture to butternut, although it’s preferred by many because of its richer, more robust flavor. Chefs are often hesitant to cook with butternut squash because it can be messy and the cooking time is lengthy, but delicata has a much softer skin, making it quicker to prepare. Bonus: the seeds can be eaten as well, so no extra mess or waste necessary.
9. Eggs - Non Traditional
Soon “scrambled, fried, or sunny side up” won’t be the only options for how you want your eggs. Ostrich, emu, quail, duck and even turkey eggs are becoming increasingly popular options to cook with, bake with, or enjoy solo. Local bird farmers traditionally farm these birds for their meat, but because of such a growth in popularity, they are now primarily raising them for their eggs. Not only are these eggs delicious and versatile, they also offer just as much nutritional value as chicken eggs.