Wondering which cuisines to watch? Over at our trends platform and sister company Flavour Feed we are constantly eating, scouring menus and analysing the media in order to report on trending and up-and-coming cuisines, and advise on the ones that we think are gaining traction. See our list of trending cuisines below – and happy innovating!
Hinging off of salty, sour, sweet and big, bold flavours, and pooling some of the most-loved foods of Chinese, Spanish, Mexican and Malay cuisines – think dumplings, noodles, spring rolls, and an affinity for braising – Filipino is an easy food to love. Traditionally a poor country, there is also a real sense of resourcefulness and creativity about the food that makes it all the more compelling.
Adobo – meat or fish steeped in a marinade of basic store-cupboard ingredients, like soy sauce, garlic, white vinegar, peppercorns, etc – is the national dish and a must-mention, but currently all eyes are on ube. An eye-catching purple yam indigenous to the Philippines, this ingredient was first championed in the mainstream by Manila Social Club and it’s headline-worthy $100 gold Champagne ube doughnut. Mission Chinese Food’s Danny Bowien has also tried his hand at ube innovation with the ube Odd Pocket ice-cream sandwich, and more recent creations include ube ice cream at San Diego’s Square Cafe Bar, which ran a successful stall at this year’s Coachella, and ube soft serve at New York’s Soft Swerve. Giving a natural, alluring purple hue, ube fits in nicely and fortuitously with the unicorn food trend… making for food that is immensely popular on Instagram… something we think will be a key driver in Filipino food’s success.
African food has long been underrepresented on the world’s food stage, but this is about to change, thanks to some ambitious makers leading the charge. In the African food scene in London, all eyes are on Zoe Adjonyoh of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen. Created in a very grassroots way in artsy Hackney, Zoe’s Ghanaian food venture started as a street-food stall and has expanded into supper clubs, pop-up residencies, event catering and now into a permanent site in Pop Brixton in South London and a book deal with Octopus Publishing. Zoe and the team whip up traditional West African dishes, like stews, yams, plantains, okra, rice, beans and fried chicken, but she’s not a purist, and there are plenty of welcome innovations and interpretations: like her much-loved peanut butter soup.
Elsewhere, the tides are turning too. In Washington DC, the recently relaunched Etete is championing Ethiopian cuisine with an American twist, with dishes including berbere-spiced 24-hour sous-vide short ribs, alongside prawn and okra gumbo, while Parisian chef Loïc Dablé has recently completed his African Food Art Tour across Africa, the UK, Belgium, Canada, the US and Brazil, and West-African street food, food trucks and chic restaurants are surging in France, see Afrik’N’Fusion, Africa in a Box and Osè… armed with in-vogue, nutrient-rich foods, including: amaranth, baobab, moringa, hibiscus flowers, folio, wild mango, safou, soursop and kinkeliba.
Explore the food scenes of all of the major cities in the US and you are bound to find a few key common influences… Mexican being one of them. This infatuation with the foods south of the border is finally catching on in the UK, with Breddos, El Pastor and Temper in London at the top of the pack, kicking to the curb all the feeble interpretations that preceded.
Flavour Feed give a few reasons why Mexican food is bound for glory in the UK. The allure of American food culture is a key factor, as is Mexican food’s high potential for fusion: with Korean-Mexican, Filipino-Mexican and general Asian-Mexican being tried and tested combinations.
With a tradition of entomophagy (cooking with insects), this puts Mexican food in good stead in terms of the sustainability conversation, but, perhaps above all, there is a colour, vibrancy, casualness and joy to Mexican food that taps into the desires of an increasingly detached and despondent public.
Smoky, pickled, indulgent, Instagram-beautiful and with more than a touch of the nostalgic about it, Jewish cuisine has got everything going for it.
The London Jewish restaurant on everybody’s lips is Monty’s Deli in Hoxton. Beginning life as a street-food stall, where the oversized pastrami and salt-beef sandwiches were declared by chef Tom Kerridge as ‘The best value lunch in London’, Monty’s has recently graduated to a dedicated restaurant, where they are proud to still serve generous portions and make everything in-house by hand.
In London, also see: Cure + Cut Jewish deli in Covent Garden, Israeli food from The Palomar in Soho, food from the Barbary Coast from The Barbary in Covent Garden, and Tel-Aviv inspired breakfast/deli food from The Good Egg in Stoke Newington. Watch out for Jewish baked goods becoming cult food must-haves, including: bagels (of course), rugelach, challah, babka and bialys.
Australian pokē at Mahalo Pokē in Melbourne. Photo credit: Mahalo Pokē
Thanks to the influence of pokē, Polynesian food is being embraced and experimented with all over the globe, with Melbourne, New York, LA and London all dedicating to the culture’s culinary greats.
Melbourne’s Mahalo Pokē is pioneering with a lively all-day menu that starts with a breakfast pokē made with poached egg, raw Atlantic salmon, broccolini and kale topped with flaked almonds and furikake, alongside a hula waffle with pure maple, bacon, house ice-cream and macadamia crumble, and, a modern Hawaiian favourite, acai bowls – pimped with activated buckinis, cocao nibs, pineapple, dragon fruit, raspberries and almonds.
And in New York, Sweetcatch is serving up pokē with a traditional deli spin – served in salad bars, made to order and highly customisable. Look out for their oversized pokē maki, meant to be eaten like a wrap.
South and South-east Asian
The foods of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam are going from strength to strength – with youth-led teams and ideologies fuelling this momentum. Health is emerging as a key theme, as innovators take much-loved cuisines and give them healthy, modern twists. See Indian food reborn as plant-based and vegan at street-food operators Spice Box, and with a fresh, healthy twist at Pilau in Goodge Street and Soho. Also see Sri Lankan food championed at the much-lauded Hoppers in Soho and at street-food stall Weligama – with a delicious emphasis on Sri Lankan egg hoppers.
Thai food, too, is taking an excitingly authentic turn, with Som Saa, Smoking Goat, Kiln, Farang and Begging Bowl all delivering ambitiously spicy, sour and pungent dishes with obscure ingredients, and championing the power of social media to communicate their passion. On Monday this week, the Thai food scene in London was given an extra boost by the presence of Thai-food legend David Thompson of Nahm in Bangkok and Long Chim of Singapore, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, as he collaborated with Som Saa, Begging Bowl and Kiln chefs to create a powerhouse of flavour for London Food Month. See the menu here!
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