When it comes to culinary trends for 2018, “nearly every tea-leaf reader agrees: Vegetables and ‘plant-based’ foods (aka meat substitutes) will continue to be hot-hot-hot. From there, it’s pretty much anything goes.” So says Telegram.com, but that doesn’t stop predictions from being made.

The Chef's Garden Vegetables

Here are highlights.

Filipino Cuisine

Forbes.com, in its article Top 5 Dining Trends to Watch in 2018, predicts that this is the year of Filipino cuisine, pointing out that Google searches keep rising for this cuisine’s “spicy yet acidically fragrant dishes.” The writer believes this rise in popularity can partly be attributed to the interest in the purple yam (ube) and anticipates the following Filipino dishes becoming increasingly appreciated:

  • Lumpia (spring roll)
  • Sisig (pork hash made from pork head and liver)
  • Longganisa (Filipino sausage)
  • Kare-kare (stew in thick peanut sauce)

The Specialty Food Association is also including this intriguing cuisine in it top food trends for 2018. Although other Asian cuisines such as Vietnamese and Thai have “overshadowed” Filipino dishes in the past and although this cuisine hasn’t yet taken a firm hold in the United States, that’s shifting, the article says. Why? Because “American palates have become more sophisticated and attuned to the complex flavors and bitter or sour notes of Filipino dishes,” making people more appreciative of the Asian/Latin flavor mix in this unique cuisine.

Restaurant/food consultants Baum + Whiteman agree with this prediction, believing that chefs will be “drawing kitchen inspiration from the Philippines.”

Asian Island Cuisine

RestaurantBusinessOnline.com expects that the Filipino momentum will broaden, with culinary influences from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia also taking hold. Why? “The sour, bitter and aromatic flavor profiles from these island nations take influence from mainland Asia and Europe, making them both familiar and exotic.” Ingredients that are predicted to appear in dishes include sambal – a hot sauce or paste created from a mix of chili peppers with interesting additional ingredients such as fish sauce, rice vinegar, shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallots, scallions, lime juice and/or palm sugar – and kaffir lime, also called the makrut lime.

Garlic Root

Restaurant Business also expects to see increased use of adobo and bagoong from Filipino cuisine. Adobo is created by marinating meat, seafood and/or vegetables in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and black peppercorns. Bagoong is a condiment created from fermented fish and salt. Dishes sold in open air markets in Southeast Asia are predicted to gain popularity, as well, such as Hainanese chicken rice and laksa, the latter being a spicy noodle soup.

Arctic Cuisine

Chase.com suggests we prepare for a “cool blast of Arctic cuisine,” which will include dishes from both Poles – North and South – with a special focus on Scandinavian cuisine. This trend will align, the article suggests, “with our newfound interest in plant proteins, gut health, and seasonal cooking.” This means, among other things, more fermented fish and pickles on menus.

Israeli Cuisine

Nation’s Restaurant News quotes AF&Co. as saying that Israeli dishes will be the “cuisine of the year,” with their deep, vibrant flavors being ideal for savory and sweet applications alike. Dishes mentioned include shakshuka for brunch. Shakshuka is an egg-based dish, with the eggs poached in a tomato sauce complete with chili peppers and onions. Cumin often adds another layer of flavor.

More Predictions for 2018

The National Restaurant Association predicts a rise in Peruvian cuisine, while McCormick & Co. expects to see these specific dishes gaining in popularity:

  • Bao (soft steamed buns from Chinese cuisine) as dessert
  • Arepas filled with gyro ingredients
  • Berbere spice blends from Ethiopia (paprika, allspice, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and red pepper)
  • Japanese furikake seasoning (seaweed, sesame, sugar, salt and dried seafood)

The Specialty Food Association expects us to be “knee-deep in fast-casual Indian street food (chicken masala pizza, tandoori chicken poutine) and upscale Korean restaurants” while the National Restaurant Association also gives a nod to “authentic ethnic cuisine” and ethnic-inspired dishes for children.

Which culinary trends excite you? Which ones do you plan to incorporate into your own dishes and menus?

We invite you to visit the Culinary Vegetable Institute as often as you can in 2018. We have numerous events planned, each of which promises to be a unique occasion with a menu created especially for that evening!

And, here you can find more information about Canadian cuisine, thanks to a fascinating presentation at Roots 2017, as well as the roots of Native American cuisine. Finally, here is a video from Roots 2016 with a focus on African American cuisine.