If 2014 was the year of kale and 2015 was the year of avocado toast, then what, oh what, will reign supreme in 2016?
We’re calling it: From hot and spicy ethnic flavors to the rise of algae as a superfood, here are the trends that are primed to hit kitchens and restaurants near you.
Poke will be the new sushi
Poke (pronounced po-kay) has already started popping up on trendy menus around the country, but you’ll soon be seeing this popular Hawaiian dish everywhere. Traditionally, it’s made of diced fish (usually tuna) marinated in soy and sesame--but we’re predicting that restaurants will want to put their own spin on it. Think: over rice bowls, with soba noodles and even in sandwiches.
Vegetables will steal the show
You heard it here first: 2016 will be all about the veggie swap-in. Even traditionally meat-centric eateries will start serving cauliflower steaks instead of filets and spiralized noodles in lieu of spaghetti. We’ll also start seeing more stand-alone vegetarian dishes with new flavor profiles like “burnt” and “charred.”
Fried chicken will be everywhere
Still pretty into meat? 2016 will also be the year that fried chicken hits it big-time. From the explosion of Chick-fil-A to Shake Shack’s new chicken sandwich to David Chang’s cult-favorite joint, Fuku, opening in Manhattan, there will be no shortage of ways to get your “fast-casual” bird on.
Discards will become delicacies
We hope you listened when we told you to stop throwing out your broccoli stalks. ‘Cause this year will be all about “root-to-stem dining,” with chefs using everything from stems and leaves to unusual cuts of meat—and throwing very little “waste” away. Even popular chains like Sweet Green have already caught on, with the introduction of its "WastED salad," featuring cabbage cores, kale stems and broccoli stalks.
Seasonings will be hot, hot, hot
Sriracha had its time in the spotlight, but this year we’ll see cooks experimenting with new ethnic condiments and spices. They’ll be turning to flavors like Indian ghost pepper, Southeast Asian sambal and North African harissa to spice up their dishes.
Seaweed will be the new kale
Put your kale on the over-and-out shelf (alongside chevron and deer antlers). These days, seaweed is the new superfood on the block. Though you can still expect to see it in salad form, get ready for bacon-flavored algae, seaweed popcorn and seaweed spaghetti.
Sourcing will go hyper-local
Sure, you’ve been hearing about the farm-to-table movement for some time now, but hyper-local restaurants will become even more popular in the new year. Expect to see menus with food grown in-house, and urban restaurants offering rooftop gardens on the premises. Who knows? Your waitress may even go out back to pick that pepper you just ordered.