New cuts of meat, house-made condiments and dishes inspired by street foods top the National Restaurant Association’s list of food trends to watch in 2018.
The Washington, D.C.-based association surveyed 700 professional chefs before making its list. The top ten trends identified were culled from a list of 161 ideas.
The list, in order, with comments from the NRA, include:
- New cuts of meat “On trend and inexpensive, shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip or a Merlot cut are flavorful and grill-friendly.”
- House-made condiments “Simple to make, but exotic if you want them to be. Strut your culinary stuff with items like sriracha ketchup or malt vinegar aioli. They’ll no doubt impress your guests.”
- Street food-inspired dishes “Inspired by some of the best food trucks, carts, kiosks and pop-ups around the world, these foods are go-to meals for adventurous diners. Popular items include tempura, kabobs, dumplings and pupusas.”
- Ethnic-inspired breakfast items “More consumers want ethnic offerings on their breakfast menus. Chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut pancakes or breakfast burritos are ‘muy deliciosa!’”
- Sustainable seafood “Chefs and consumers are making smarter seafood choices that not only taste great, but also protect the environment.”
- Healthful kids’ meals “Restaurants are offering nutritious items that taste great. Pizza and chicken tenders will always be mainstays, but whole grains, veggies and fruit are favorites, too.”
- Vegetable carb substitutes “Finding ways to turn low-carb vegetables into substitutes for bread, pasta and rice is fun and fantastic. Cauliflower rice and zucchini spaghetti are two substitutes consumers are craving.”
- Uncommon herbs “Adding herbs like chervil, lovage, lemon balm and papalo into the mix create interesting and distinctive flavors.”
- Authentic-ethnic cuisine “You don’t need a stamp in your passport to sample great global cuisine. Driven by consumers’ sophisticated palates, increased travel and increased access to ethnic foods, chefs are exploring more global flavors.”
- Ethnic spices “Consumers, especially younger ones, are excited to try new spices and herbs that create different tastes and flavor profiles. Harissa, curry, peri, ras el hanout and shichimi are some spices in demand.”