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Plant based proteins
Whatever food trends list you look at for 2018 the mega-trend that everyone is talking about is plant-based proteins.
We will be hearing lots more about stem to stalk as vegan options increase in popularity. Eating the whole plant exposes you to different tastes and textures as well as nutrient-dense parts of the plant.
With meat alternatives going mainstream, expect to see lentils, beans, quinoa, seitan and edamame make their way onto menus.
Middle Eastern cuisine
2018 is set to be the year that Middle Eastern cuisine hits the mainstream. With predictions that we will see a lot more spices like harissa, cardamom and za’atar included in dishes.
Regional nuances will become more noticeable. Eating pita bread or a falafel and calling it Middle Eastern food will start to change. As we will actually know whether we are eating Lebanese, Persian, Israeli or Moroccan dishes.
Middle eastern food gets the tick with health experts for having all the flavour without the added sugars, salts and fats. Giving the Mediterranean Diet a good run for its money.
Hearty Japanese food
Miso, sushi and noodle soup can be considered quite light and a little ‘girly’.
According to supermarket chain Waitrose we will be seeing more hearty ‘dude food’ on the menu. Combining the southern US states with the unctuous, rich and surprising flavours of after-hours Tokyo.
Your pub style meal will be transformed with a Japanese influence to include things like skewered chicken and deep-fried tofu.
Twist on Mexican
Mexican has long been a favourite. But expect to see creative twists on classic Mexican dishes find their ways onto menus in 2018. Think chorizo-stuffed dates or octopus tacos paving the way to reimagine Mexican food as we know it.
Tacos will keep being seen on breakfast menus and restaurants are adding dessert variations.
Hyperlocal and low waste
More than ever consumers want to know what is going into their food and where it came from.
Restaurants sourcing their ingredients from local farmers has been rising in popularity the past few years but using foods in walking distance of the dinner table is the trend for 2018.
Some restaurants are opting to grow their own ingredients on-site. While this is not always practical for everyone to implement there is an emphasis this year on reducing waste with menus planned to use all parts of the ingredients.
Edible flowers topped the Whole Foods 2018 food trends list. Not only do they look great but they add flavour to salads, soups and beverages with next to no calories. With the trend starting in Europe, high end restaurants and upmarket cafes and bars here in Australia will continue to add edible flowers to their dishes.
Sweet dessert flavours in savoury dishes
Savoury courses will start to see sweet dessert flavours such as lemon, strawberry, blueberry and blood orange infiltrate their dishes. To create menu items such as crispy artichokes and Dungeness crab with ember-blistered lemon curd or an avocado parfait with yogurt and cucumber.
Tea flavours and mocktails
According to the BBC 2018 will be the year tea wins out over coffee. It will also see the rise of non-alcoholic specialty drinks, with floral flavours such as rose and lavender taking centre stage.
With health-conscious drinkers on the rise, mocktails and teas are making a great alternative to alcohol and coffee.
Indian street foods
When you think Indian food most people think heavy curries. But in 2018 expect to be see much more of the lighter goodies grace the menu of street food inspired meals.
Puris stuffed with zingy vegetables, momos and vada pav are set to enjoy their moment in the spotlight.
Peruvian food is tipped to make a big splash in 2018 over in the US so we can expect to see some influence also making its way down under.
The fusion of Japanese or Cantonese and Peruvian food provides more evidence that South America is growing its influence on the culinary scene across the globe.
With all of these food trends set to make an impact today’s diners also expect a restaurant to be about more than just the food itself. Ambient lighting, the curation of music and other small touches are all needed to create a holistic dining and drinking experience.