Vancouver Food Trends 2012
Follow Me Foodie Predictions for Vancouver Food Trends/Movements for 2012.
I know I’m late and I wasn’t planning to do a food trend post this year let alone ever, but I got too inspired. There are a lot of things I’ve been witnessing through my travels and dining experiences and I just need an outlet to release my excitement. Here are just some of my predictions for what’s in store for 2012-2013 and maybe 2014. Trends always take a while to pick up and they continue being “cool” even after they’re popular and overdone, so that’s why I’ll give it at least a couple years before they pick up. Geez, I sound like such a “foodie-hipster” or a “food snob”, and I’m really not… or I’d like to think that I’m not at least.
When you look at this list you may say “I’ve been doing that for years”, just like you did when Vanilla Coke was released, but the fact of the matter is, is that almost everything has been done before. Therefore new things are usually just forgotten things being brought back to life or re-discovered by a new generation or culture. Whether it’s an old or new food trend it doesn’t really matter to me, because ultimately all that matters is that it was good and that I enjoyed it.
Most of these trends are predictions for the Vancouver food scene, however some of them have exploded in other cities years ago. On the other hand Vancouver is the home of a few trends that have only started picking up recently in other cities. Basically, we borrow from each other. Anyways if these trends don’t happen, you can come back and roll your eyes, but if they do happen, then I should really start playing the lottery. Nonetheless I’m no fortune teller… even if you “give me a quarter” (90’s reference).
Listed in no particular order.
1. Biscuits, Grits & Po’ Boys
The West Coast goes South. The biscuits will come in strong, the grits may take longer and the deep fried seafood Po’ Boys (submarine sandwiches) will fly once the summer hits. I’m really surprised biscuits haven’t hit Vancouver yet. They’ve always been there, but Vancouver’s so health conscious it’s hard for them to make an entrance. It’s not going to be the old fashioned boring biscuits though, what we’ll get are creative gravies, cheesy biscuits, biscuit sandwiches and in the morning something served with homemade jam made from our local BC fruits. Before this biscuit boom hits, I’m going to give a shout out to the biscuits at Burgoo which have been there for a while.
We saw the cupcake craze and then there was/is a macaron madness (yes, although macarons are still popping up, in the “food snob” world they are considered 2 years ago). I still enjoy all of the above, but it’s time for the return of the doughnut. It’s an old trend for many cities, but I can’t deny their upcoming domination in Vancouver.
It’s just deep fried dough and Homer Simpson’s favourite next to beer, but the donuts of the future are going gourmet and along the lines of brioche doughnuts, potato doughnuts and lemon thyme and white chocolate doughnuts. They’re not going to be these huge massive doughnuts (although someone might do one for the novelty), but being in Vancouver they’ll be sophisticated/mini sized doughnuts with innovative flavours and toppings that are available gluten free, organic and/or made with local ingredients.
I’m going to give a shout out to Outpost Mini Donut Co. in Steveston Village in Richmond, Honey Doughnuts & Goodies in North Vancouver, Lee’s Doughnuts on Granville Island and Cartems Donuterie in Gastown Vancouver, for being one of the early ones to play with the idea.
See my full post on Top 10 Vancouver Dessert Trends.
For the food snobs/advanced foodies: If doughnuts are below you (*ahem* snob), then beignets are what the “advanced foodies” eat. Hello New Orleans! They also take a lot more effort to make. My dream is that Vancouver’s hipster coffee shops that “hand roast/grind their own coffee” will start serving beignets as opposed to muffins and croissants which are more for Starbucks.
3. Pretzels are the new Panko.
I don’t think we’re ready for a freshly baked pretzel comeback, although I am seeing it on menus, but in terms of using it as a breading or crust, the pretzel is replacing the panko. It might be used as the breading or even just sprinkled on top as a garnish. It’s nice and salty and is a quick solution for adding crunchy texture. Don’t be surprised to see it used in ice cream sundaes as well. I love it!
4. Tongue & Cheek
Just like this blog! Anyways if you haven’t been already indulging in cheeks than you’re severely missing out. Cheeks are becoming more and more popular, but how about the tongue? Although cheeks are always good, there’s a move from cheek to tongue. It’s really not that scary. Cow’s tongue, pig’s tongue and duck tongue (more rare) are eaten by many cultures and not just Asian ones! Russians, Latinos, Mexicans, Spaniards and other Europeans along with Asians have eaten tongue for centuries. So kiss the cheek goodbye and start getting in on some tongue.
For the food snobs/advanced foodies: If cheek and tongue makes you yawn, have a go at the tails – oxtails, pig tails, and deep fried fish tails in particular.
5. Rabbit is the new chicken.
I get it. Bunnies and rabbits are so cute, but they are quite tasty as well. It tastes just like chicken, but richer. I wouldn’t say it’s gamey tasting, but it does have a stronger meat flavour than chicken.
For the food snobs/advanced foodies: If this is nothing new then pay more attention to rabbit livers and chicken skin. Rabbit livers are just like chicken livers and can be prepared similarly. I don’t want to say chicken skin has the potential to be the new bacon, but chicken skin has incredible flavour and it shouldn’t be wasted.
6. Goat is the new lamb.
Forget Mary and hello Billy! If you’re already loving lamb then start tackling the goat. We all love lamb chops, but her play along days are winding down. Goat is very common in African, Indian and South Central or Latin cuisine and Vancouver has a major lack of love for it. It’s a firmer meat and can have the tendency to be dry because it’s leaner than beef and lamb, but along the same flavour profile.
For the food snobs/advanced foodies: If this is nothing new have your go at boar or kangaroo which I see coming up in the next 2-3 years. Boar will come before kangaroo as we already see some restaurants offering it. I would love to see an introduction to ostrich, but this will likely be in 5-8 years.
7. Korean is the new Japanese as Vietnamese is the new Thai.
If you know Vancouver you know there is a strong love for Asian food.
First, Korean is the new Japanese. It’s apples and oranges and we all love our sushi, miso mayo and ponzu sauce and many Vancouverites consider sushi as the hot dog of New York, but it’s time to explore another country. Sushi will always be one of my favourites, but Korean cuisine is just around the corner. From Teriyaki beef to kalbi (Korean beef rhort ribs) and donburi to bibimbap (Korean mixed rice) it’s going to be exciting to see this explode beyond Robson Street… and Coquitlam. If you haven’t had your fair share of Korean cuisine then you better go change that ASAP. From wasabi to Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) and sake to soju or shochu, this is one to prepare your liver for… and get used to spicy.
For the food snobs/advanced foodies: Try exploring the world of kimichi. Kimchi isn’t only the red cabbage on the table, but there are hundreds of kinds of kimchi. If I’m going to be specific, the deep fried Korean chicken wings will make their entrance first. Koreans are known for making excellent chicken wings.
Second, is Vietnamese is the new Thai. Again, it is comparing apples to oranges, and although Vancouver loves their Thai food, our Thai food scene has a long way to go. I’m not saying all our Thai food is bad since I haven’t tried every single Thai restaurant in town, but the fact is, it’s hard to find a good one. Many consider Vietnamese the go to for “cheap eats” and late night eats since a handful are open 24/7, but Vietnamese is so much more than pho, banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) and crispy spring rolls. From beef 5 ways to their love for fish sauce, which is almost as equal to the amount of love Thai people have for it, it’s really something to watch out for.
For the food snobs/advanced foodies: Keep your eyes peeled for Beef Luc Lac. Phnom Penh offers it and it’s actually all over Cambodia as well, but for some reason not many Vietnamese restaurants offer it. I’m going to start petitioning for it.
8. Head to tail for seafood.
The head to tail pig dinners are still very apparent and I’m ecstatic that the city is growing to love it, but there are a lot more other animals and mammals you can eat from head to tail, or toe. Being on the West Coast let alone Vancouver we should have seen this ages ago, but seafood isn’t really being showcased to its best which is ironic. It’s not the simply prepared, served whole, grilled, or steamed fish that’s going to be highlighted, but fish actually prepared and executed in innovative ways using all parts. Whether it’s deep frying the tails and the skin, pan searing the cheeks, grilling the necks or braising the lips, there’s so much of a fish that’s being under appreicated and wasted… don’t even get me started on the exoskeleton animals too.
I didn’t really see either coming, but I’m quite confident it is. A lot of restaurants in Vancouver have had “signature meatballs” for years, but I think there are going to be noticeably more of them and perhaps new restaurants solely dedicated to the meatball, and or the sausage. It won’t just be pork and beef meatballs and sausage, but things like veal, lamb neck, pork cheek and belly, and perhaps foie gras will also be used for a revamped meatball/sausage catered for the new generation.
10. Fine Dining/The Modern Chef at Home.
As we saw last year there was already a significant increase in food carts and food trucks. More people were looking for affordable dining options that were more casual and less pretentious. On the other hand Vancouver palates are still sophisticated so the demand for quality ingredients at a “cheap price” is challenging to meet at a restaurant, so that’s why it’s being taken into the comfort of home. From sous vide machines made for the home (SousVide Supreme) and more options for blenders like the Vita-Mix and BlendTec, people have the option to play chef at home… and that’s in no reference to Michael Smith. It’s not just about eating out anymore. It’s back to basics and back to cooking at home… but not the 30 minute meal way either.
There are a few trends that Vancouver should take credit for that have now spread to the East Coast and other cities. These trends include: Gluten free, Ocean Wise, and farm to table dining (not necessarily “ours”, but it’s emphasized here). I think these things have been in Vancouver for years, but they’re just starting to get attention in other cities.
A few other trends I predict that didn’t make the list are: Jellied sauces are the new foams, homemade lemonade is the new smoothie, gnudi is the new gnocchi, and just as is are: fish sauce vinaigrette, sweetbreads, eggs, kale (especially deep fried), shrubs, gourmet s’mores and artisan ice cream.