Korean food

Hallyu, the Korean Wave, has been growing steadily over the last two decades. Korean culture, encompassing everything from K-pop to K-drama, Korean online games and Korean cuisine, is loved the world over. With Bong Joon Ho’s movie Parasite winning four Oscars this February, the wave is set to rise even higher. In Stoke Newington, diners flocked to restaurant Bake Street to enjoy the movie’s instant noodle dish served for one weekend only, while others follow the recipe to make their own at home. Kimchi has been making appearances in sandwiches, burgers, and even as ice cream. We’re excited to see what else lies in store.

African cuisine

Foods from the vast continent of Africa will be gaining more and more attention over the next few years as individuals start to learn about and appreciate the beauty and benefits of ancient grains and superfoods such as teff, millet, and tamarind. Zooming out from the level of ingredients to the cuisine and culture of diverse African countries, we will be hearing a lot more about African restaurants as well. Ethiopian food is certainly one of them and what we appreciate most is that everyone eats together from the same dish and its engagement of our sense of touch. It just adds that extra layer of experience that makes a meal so much more precious and memorable.

CBD

CBD, the product that’s derived from cannabis but creates no “high” effect whatsoever, or any other form of intoxication, has been on the rise steadily across the Atlantic Ocean. In Europe, it’s gaining ground. It’s meant to have a calming and relaxing effect, although word on the street is that it may work for some but not for others. If you’d like to experience a delectable, homemade beetroot and CBD cocktail with CBD chocolate truffles, head to Farmacy in Notting Hill and enjoy their afternoon tea.

Plant-based meals

We’ve seen it with flexitarianism in part 1 of this series, vegetables as a desirable food are gaining more and more attention. We all know the health benefits of plant-based foods, but especially in the West, we seem to have forgotten that we don’t need protein to create a mind-blowing meal. Thank goodness this is changing. There are still many amongst us who would prefer to eat meat alternatives that closely mimic the taste of meat, but we’re starting to discover the beauty of vegetables in and of themselves. Pop-ups with plant-based menus are springing up that serve dishes such as sweet corn gnocchi with fermented corn puree or hand-rolled pasta with cashew ricotta.

Fluffy pancakes

Fluffy pancakes, or soufflé pancakes as they are otherwise known, have been a trend for years in many parts of Asia. But the irresistible cloud-like dessert has risen to fame in the States and Europe only very recently. The plump, jiggly pancake often comes served with cream and fruits. Matcha pancake mixtures are also a common sight on dessert menus that offer sweet treats. We love Fuwa Fuwa near Russell Square station in London.

Zero-alcohol cocktails

Mocktails are taking over the menu, although the term itself is starting to fall out of use. Understandably so, because it suggests a derivative of an original, something that isn’t authentic or real. But there’s nothing fake or unoriginal about a carefully crafted zero-alcohol cocktail. More than ever, the focus is on quality ingredients and harmonious flavour combinations. Brands such as Seedlip and alcohol-free bars like Redemption are having a moment, and they’re only expected to grow.

Ube

For novelty-seekers, ube is an Instagram-friendly ingredient part of Filipino cuisine that is likely to intrigue with its unique colour and unusual, earthy flavour. The purple yam is often used as a base for ice cream and other sweet treats. Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream in London gives us ube ice cream, their signature flavour, made with native Filipino purple yam. Other choices with the lilac tuber include ube doughnuts, and milkshakes served with freshly-made ube whipped cream.

Black garlic

Another wonderful addition from Korean and other Asian foods, black garlic is a punch of umami that adds depth and complexity to both vegetarian and vegan dishes, without the pungency of traditional white garlic. It’s been used in Korea for millenniums but is only gaining traction now in the West. Made by ageing and fermenting garlic bulbs until they become soft, sweet, and black, a raw black garlic bulb is quite the flavour experience.

Dream-inducing snacks

Although not one for the imminent future, we thought we’d end our trends article with something slightly more futuristic. Bompas and Parr have come up with this prediction that sees us delving deeper into the science of foods, the metabolic system, and dreaming. The idea is companies will start designing late night snacks that they market according to their function on our dreams. Foods with higher fats, for example, will induce slower paced yet indulgent dreams. Why does this matter? Because according to dream researcher and psychiatrist J. Allan Hobson, “dreaming is our most creative conscious state,” where innovative ideas can first take shape. Waitrose, we’re waiting for that dream snack aisle, preferably in the tills section.

Trends come and go, but we keep from them what we’ve learnt and found to be valuable. That’s why it’s not only important but also exciting to stay current and up to date, because it gives us a chance to reinvent ourselves, even if it’s only as little as adding black garlic to our mushroom risotto (something we’ll be doing for sure).