Dining Out in 2018: Unusual and Eclectic

Dining Out in 2018

Posted: Dec. 27, 2017

In our final recap of major food trends for the year, we reveal the buzziest words from the second half of 2017. Today’s buzzwords list shows that we have an eclectic and internationally-inspired year in dining ahead of us.

Zhug—This spicy condiment hails from Israel and Yemen, and is a bright green mixture of fresh cilantro and parsley. Zhug is often served with falafel or sabich sandwiches, and its spicy kick is the perfect accompaniment to grilled vegetables.

Raclette wins the “Comeback Kid” award! In 2018, we will see more restaurants adopting the lesser known Swiss-cheese dish (fondue tends to steal the spotlight). Slices of the potent cheese are grilled on hot stones or pans and served with potatoes or meat.

Hemp is a trendy new ingredient, partly because consumers enjoy the novelty of consuming it (the non-hallucinatory version), and partly because of its medicinal properties.

Mediterranean food covers a large geographical area from Italy to Israel, and its foodie fans are numerous. Well-spiced lamb burgers are getting more attention due to Americans wanting more, more, and more Mediterranean-inspired fare.

Pizza gets the ancient grain makeover in 2018 with new recipes for multi-grain, slow-rise pizza dough. And it doesn’t stop there: pizza makers are experimenting with vegetable-only pizza crusts (think: cauliflower pizza crust) for the gluten-adverse.

Bubble waffles continue to be a thing.

Cheese tea from Taiwan—it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Instead of adding whipped cream, a salty whipped cheese is used as a sealant for hot tea.

Doner kabobs come from Turkey and can be more common than a cheeseburger where popular. Next year, the United States is adopting the sandwich and diversifying its presentation by pulling inspiration from other international cuisines. In 2018, doner kebobs will use spices and condiments from other countries than Turkey.

There was a time when buying cookie dough was reserved for ice cream parlors. Now, there are cafes serving raw cookie dough as a menu item.

With the rising popularity of Filipino food, spam is being taken more seriously by chefs.

“New” ancient grains are discovered, like the super-wheat kernza.

What’s old is now new: Schnitzel thrives from a returning appreciation for well-made, high-quality comfort foods.

Forget the buffet table, Indian food is modernizing in 2018, and the rich spices of the Eastern cuisine are inspiring ice-cream makers to invent Indian-inspired ice creams.

Onion soup is used as a flavoring agent.

Alongside facial recognition technology, restaurants are employing robots to work in the back-of-house.

More inspiration from the Philippines—purple ube. In the United States, we know them as purple yams. Ground purple ube is used in baked goods and as an icing, and gives a deliciously sweet and starchy taste to food. 

Plant-based dining is the leading trend in 2018, and we will see this trend’s impact in every area of food. In this case, seaweed and algae will be used more in kitchens for their incredibly high nutritional values.

Avocados are taking over another part of the food industry: dessert menus. Avocado desserts are only for the hyper-avocado fan, of which there are seemingly millions.

Like ice cream, the future of dessert includes show-stopping nitrogen freezing.

Cotton candy is fun to eat at all ages and continues to be a leading food buzzword in 2018.

Another prediction: Blended burgers are the future of burgers. Ground meat is blended with non-meat ingredients, such as mushrooms or soya, and the result is a delicious, satisfying product that cuts back on meat consumption.

It looks like 2018 is going to be a big year for desserts: we will see more “freakshakes” and other “extreme desserts.”

For more food trends to watch for in 2018, see "Restaurant Trends Continued."

Posted: Dec. 27, 2017 | Written By: Emma Alois

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