I actually enjoy reading all the trend predictions that circulate every new year, especially ones concerning food, drink and dining trends. Here are a few that, for better or worse, could impact your restaurant and diet choices in 2013.
Asian is the new Mexican
Chipotle recently opening ShopHouse, a casual dining chain with a menu inspired by street food from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi. ”The new flavors of the year won’t come from the kitchens of chefs trained at Le Cordon Bleu,” says NPR food commentator and American Food Roots editor Bonny Wolf. “More likely, they’ll trickle up from Asian street foods.”
Fermenting is the new canning
“Last year, we canned; this year, we ferment,” Wolf adds. As the importance of probiotics comes further into focus, expect to see more fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and “if you’re under 30, kombucha,” she says.
Tea: Not just for cups anymore.
“Earl Grey and other tea flavors are starting to be used in cooking,” writes Anne Braly of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Look for tea rubs, the way there are coffee and cocoa rubs.” And it certainly doesn’t end there — I just bought a tea cookbook, and it’s got recipes for things like “mint tea couscous with roast squash, halloumi, dates and pistachios” and chai ice cream.
Popcorn will be the snack of 2013
“People are into popcorn as a healthy snack, or as a decadent truffle-based one,” said Dawn Stowe, director of marketing for Plum Market. And well they should be: One serving of popcorn packs as much antioxidant punch as many veggies.
The death of ‘fusion.’
“We’re not doing the international fusions anymore,” cookbook author and restaurant consultant George Mokbel told Detroit Hour. “We’re doing international foods, but we’re doing them as authentic as possible. We’re going back to very simple street foods and authentic home cooking.”
Game meats growing more popular
According to Nation’s Restaurant News, chefs report increasing popularity of not just bison burgers but burgers and dishes made with elk, venison and antelope, too — all of which tend to be leaner and more nutritious than conventional beef or pork.
Foie gras doughnuts
Restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman predict 2013 will see more of “doughnuts (getting) bizarre upscaling,” resulting in things like “foie gras jelly doughnuts, hamburgers between two griddle doughnuts, and kimchee doughnuts.”
The rise of push-pop cakes
“Push-pops aren’t just for frozen desserts,” writes Lauren Torrisi at ABC News. “The plastic containers are now housing cupcakes, making them easier to eat than ever before.” That’s just what America needs: Easier delivery systems for cupcakes (who ever looked at a cupcake before and thought “That looks to hard to eat?”).
Eating skin without meat
“Crispy chicken skin is becoming a main ingredient, with menu items like chicken skin tacos or mixed with pasta,” writes Torrisi. Just … Eww. Bret Thorn, senior food editor for Nation’s Restaurant News, writes: “It’s crunchy, usually salty and generally bad for you, so of course people love it — particularly of pork, duck and chicken.