Each year there are predictions about the next best trend. In the fickle world of food, some of these end up spot on while others totally miss the mark. After watching the 2017 trends lists roll out, here are my picks for the trends most likely to catch on.
Many of us were first introduced to seaweed through sushi, but there is so much more to it than nori wraps. The number of seaweed products moving into the mainstream just keeps growing – dulse, kelp, carrageen, wakame, sea spaghetti and the list goes on – and cookbooks featuring seaweed are gaining popularity. Healthy and versatile, it is no wonder this superfood is showing up in everything from pasta to fish dishes, and even as a low-sodium alternative to salt.
As people embrace root to stem cooking and try to avoid food waste, they will increasingly turn to alternative leafy greens. Think beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, celery leaves and carrot tops. Instead of tossing them into the compost, these greens can be used in pestos, stir fries, salads and more – basically, anywhere you would use traditional greens.
The once-exotic sriracha is now as common a condiment as ketchup on North American tables and cooks are looking for other hot sauces to spice up their food. Most Asian and African countries have their own variation of hot sauce made with ingredients native to their part of the world. Look out for an increase in popularity of sauces like sambal, harissa and gochujang next year.
Black food continues to attract a lot of attention, perhaps in part because it makes such striking Instagram posts. We have seen ash dusts used as plate decor as well as dishes featuring black components. Squid ink is the classic ingredient for black food but keep an eye out for charcoal in next year’s food and drink. Along with its appealing colour, its health benefits range from tooth-whitening to preventing hangovers.
For those who prefer to skip the meal planning, grocery shopping and ingredient preparation but still want to cook at home, meal kits are the answer. They continue to grow in popularity as people want homemade, nutritious food that is low-fuss (if not low-cost).
Hugely popular in the 18th century, Madeira is familiar to most people as a cooking wine (steak with Madeira sauce, anyone?). Now, however, the Portuguese fortified wine is ready for a revival. Clubs are springing up in the US with tastings featuring traditional Colonial-era wines. Though still a niche wine, it is gaining popularity as a cocktail ingredient while the casks are being used to age whisky. We will be seeing a lot more of Madeira in the glass instead of on the plate in the next few years as it becomes the wine connoisseur’s new tipple.
Global Goes Local
While many people are touting Filipino food as the next big trend, I am not so sure. Instead I think the broader trend will be a more localized approach to food. Instead of Thai food in general, for example, we will begin to see restaurants devoted to specific areas such as Chiang Mai or Isan. I look forward to seeing how this takes shape across different global cuisines.