Food and dining trends are always changing, from foam-infused dishes to pork belly everything, something is always on trend in the culinary world. And lately, there have been certain international trends making their way to the United States’ restaurant scene.
Many chefs and restaurant professionals have seen a rise in street foods, global fusion, and menus catering to the hungry vegetarians. When we sat down with a few industry experts, here’s what they told us about the latest international food and dining trends happening right here.
Veggies are increasingly more popular than back when you were forced to eat them as a kid. Instead of being frowned upon, vegetables are sought after on menus of the most popular restaurants, and sometimes even the star of the show.
“I have seen a few trends when I travel and always try to add those to our restaurants in Madrid and in Miami,” says Carlos Galan, Business Owner of The Passion Group Restaurant. “We notice a tendency to make the menus more “flexitarian” which means adding more vegetarian options or showcasing the vegetables as the main part of the plate.”
While many restaurants are into using local ingredients on menus, others want to bring the international flavor to their guests. These restaurants offer simple and authentic ingredients from other countries to ensure the taste and experience is just right.
“I wanted to add ingredients to the menu which represented what the Italian people were eating today in their cafes,” says Italian executive chef Thomas Flott at Hilton Chicago O’Hare. “I selected some new cheeses, such as stracchino which is a soft creamy cow’s milk cheese with a delicate flavor, and scamorza, which is like a smoked mozzarella. Castelvetrano olives from Sicily were added to all the charcuterie and Italian cheese plates. These olive go with any appetizer, and the Italians just eat them alone as they enjoy their aperitif of choice at a day’s end.”
Open Flame Grills
Smokey flavors are huge these days in the dining scene. Between the wood fired brick ovens for pizzas to the open flame grills for meats, many chefs are using this type of cooking (found in many other countries) to kick up their dishes.
Chef Calvin Eng from Nom Wah NoLita in New York City is a fan of this technique, using it frequently in his restaurant, especially during the warmer months. “Anything lightly charred or grilled but served cold, reminds me of summer barbecues.”
Rebelle's chef Daniel Eddy agrees grilling is hot right now. “I try to make dishes that require grilling and smoking. After being cooped up all winter and most of spring, I love cooking outdoors over fire. At the restaurant, we use small hibachi grills for everything from sausage to vegetables to fish.”
Mixing international flavors on the menu isn’t necessarily a new trend, as global fusion has been firing up the palate for awhile, but combining African with Mediterranean is something unique that seems to be popping up. Executive chef Angel Leon at Seaspice in Miami offers this flavorful mix of international foods inside his restaurant, and the latest veggie addition is by far the most popular. “Brussels Sprouts topped with a bourbon gastrique and wagyu snow is to die for.”
International street food has been making it big inside restaurants all over the globe, including right here in the United States. Sure, it’s been seen in small hole-in-the-walls or popular food trucks, but these days, street food is also seen in fine dining establishments.
“Tacos and pupusas to bao and kebobs are now served on white tablecloths,” says Executive chef Erwin Mallet of Miami’s Villa Azur. At Brasserie Azur we do not have the white tablecloths, but we did incorporate the tacos to our menus along with latin-fusion inspired cuisine.”