Food trends still 'in': Sira-sira store

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Friday, August 22, 2014


AT THE dawning of 2014, Forbes predicted food trends that would catch the stomach of the eating public. Some of the predictions sounded ordinary—chicken wings being sold in restaurants—while some seemed too difficult to swallow. Mashup dishes attracted a following at first, but it didn’t really catch like wildfire.

The year is nearly ending—or if I were an optimist, another year is dawning—so it’s time to review what the experts said about food trends. But first, here’s what Forbes predicted: Locally sourced ingredients; more veggies; healthier kids’ meals; gluten-free food; instant ice cream; nuts; better-quality pizza; chicken wings; upscale comfort food; and mashup dishes.

Locally sourced ingredients are popular in the Philippines, except for restaurants specializing in French or Spanish cuisine that insist on the authentic item—from truffles to soba flour. Going local though has always been with fast foods and karenderias. It just didn’t make news until Forbes spoke.

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Parents are on the lookout for ways to trick their children to eat more vegetables. A few months ago, Live! carried a story about going the bento way in packing a child’s meal. It included fruits and vegetables, which gave the lunch box the facelift it needed.

When couched as a life-saver, beauty-maker, anti-wrinkle magic, there is no way vegetables can’t win. This trend will still be an in thing in 2015, I dare predict.

Gluten-free food strikes as something only for people suffering from celiac disease. By the way, gluten is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. Mayo Clinic suggested some gluten-free food anyone can enjoy: fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, unprocessed nuts, fresh eggs, meat and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated) and most dairy products.

Avoid bulgur, Durum flour, farina graham flour, kamut, semolina and spelt. Some vegetarian restaurants still offer gluten-free food, so this trend may survive 2014.

Instant ice cream was on the list because of Smitten ice cream’s artisanal, 90-second, made-while-you wait frozen delights. Sebastian’s jumped into the artisanal ice cream bandwagon, followed by brands like Merry Moo, Pinkerton and Bono Gelato. Also producing cold treats in small batches are Gelatissimo and Gelato Eliseo. So clearly it’s still in.

Nuts and better-quality pizza have always held the market captive. From thinner crust to thicker crust pizza, it’s a great pie world out there. And nuts have been pushed as good for the heart, except for macadamia and pecans, according to MSN Health. So both are still in.

Chicken wings landed on the list because this chicken part is served only as bar food at least in the US. In the Philippines, it’s always in. We even have an idiom for it: PAL, the flagship airline of the Philippines. Go figure.

Upscale comfort food received a boost locally with the strong presence of Korean and Japanese restaurants. Ramen found its place in Pinoy cuisine. One restaurant serves a version called batchoy ramen. So how in can you get?

One trend that’s struggling to stay may be mashup dishes. Pizza drizzled with chocolate on top of the cheese? Next dish, please. Cronuts, a mutant of croissant and doughnut, are rolling slowly out of the scene. So it is with the ramen burger (meat patty served on a griddled ramen-noodle bun).

ober.khok@yahoo.com

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2014.

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