The prognostications for 2017 food trends are already out. Eater recently aggregated a mega-list of 81 food trends from various blogs and publications that predicted what type of culinary delights we can expect in the new year.
Here’s five of the food trends predicted for 2017 that I found were the most eyebrow-raising:
“Ethnic-inspired” breakfast items, National Restaurant Association
The National Restaurant Association predicts that “ethnic-inspired” breakfast items will be spotted on more breakfast menus this year–think Asian-flavored syrups or breakfast burritos.
I’ve always thought that an “ethnic-inspired” dedicated breakfast restaurant would do quite well in this area, where there’s a robust and sizable immigrant population especially in the Cary/Morrisville vicinity. We have enough places for boozy brunches and country breakfasts, why not something new and more exciting like a Taiwanese breakfast spot that sells youtiao (fried cruellers), shao bing (flaky pastry) and doujiang (hot soybean milk)?
Japanese food, beyond sushi, Whole Foods
Whole Foods has predicted that consumers will go beyond the sushi roll this year and reach for Japanese staple ingredients like Japanese pickles, ponzu and seaweed. Here in the Triangle, where we seem to be slow in adopting certain national food trends and have only recently seen an uptick in dedicated ramenyas and izakayas (Durham’s Dashi), we haven’t seen too many new innovations in Japanese cuisine beyond normcore dragon and piano rolls.
There are a few great authentic Japanese restaurants in the area–especially kaiseki eatery Yamazushi in Durham–but we have yet to see too many local restaurants serve Japanese favorites like tonkatsu (pork cutlet) and okonomiyaki (savory pancake).
Cauliflower, Bon Appétit
Seemingly every year, the powers that be behind the food industry anoint a new “it” vegetable, and it becomes ubiquitous on restaurant menus nationwide. In previous years, it was kale. Last year was brussel sprouts. This year, according to Bon Appétit, it’s the year of the cauliflower.
Its popularity has been attributed to trendy paleo diets, where the cruciferous vegetable makes for a nice substitute for glutinous carbs. You can see it on menus now where the versatile cauliflower is mashed and creamed as an alternative to mashed potatoes, and baked with cheese and eggs to form a cauliflower pizza crust.
Old-school Indian food fans are quite used to seeing cauliflower spiced, deep-fried and drizzled in gravy in an Indo-Chinese dish known as gobi manchurian. You can locally find a pretty good version at Cary’s Himalayan Range Nepali.
Filipino food, Bloomberg
Kate Krader at Bloomberg proclaimed that Filipino cuisine will finally get its time in the limelight this year. Bolstered by the much acclaimed Washington, D.C. Filipino restaurant Bad Saint, the cuisine seems to have garnered a lot of attention amongst foodie-types recently, especially those that love fusion fare. It seems that Filipino food may be the last untapped Asian cuisine to exploit to the masses following Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Korean.
Sadly, in the Triangle, there aren’t many options for authentic Filipino cuisine with the exception of Filipino Express (shoutout!), but with the ushering in of the new trend, we might see more pop up around the area. You’ll certainly see more adobo fusion dishes on the menu at trendy restaurants –I recently had duck confit adobo at The Admiral in Asheville.
Sorghum, James Beard Foundation
Chances are, if you were raised in the South, you know a thing or two about sorghum. It’s a cereal grain commonly used to sweeten everything from syrups to baked goods. Its versatility, per the James Beard Foundation, and it’s gluten-free nature, may be why it’s rising in popularity in 2017.
Here locally in the South, you might even see it more of it on menus around town–expect to see it name-checked on menus in the form of syrups, desserts, butter and even aiolis.