Top 10 Food Trends for 2013
Follow Me Foodie Predictions for Food Trends/Movements for 2013.
I wrote Vancouver Food Trends 2012 and Vancouver Dessert Trends 2012 and some of them made it, some of them didn’t, and some are still going strong. We saw nose to tail dining, bacon everything, gourmet comfort food (as always), drinking vinegars, charcuterie, eating local, and foraging, just to name a few, but it’s a new year and I’m ready for a new wave in culinary trends.
I was actually pretty excited to write this post even though I am not really keen on the concept of “food trends”. As I mentioned before, almost everything has been done before and it is just culinary recycling. It is the same stuff over and over again, but with a “modern twist”. “New things” are usually just forgotten things being brought back to life or re-discovered by a new generation or culture.
Just like last year, you may look at that list and think “I’ve been doing that for years” or “that was so last year”… depends on how “foodie” you are. Most of these trends are predictions for the Vancouver food scene, however they could apply to cities “less foodie” than Vancouver. And then some of them have already happened in major food cities 1-2+ years ago. I mean how long did it take Vancouver before we started seeing “gourmet doughnuts” everywhere?
Food trends are also regional and cultural, and every one borrows ideas from each other, so it really depends on what perspective you are coming from. Anyway I could be totally off on my predictions, but it’s not like I put money on it. And if I end up being right then yay! It’s better than being wrong and I should really consider giving Kickstarter a go.
To be honest I was much more enthusiastic about writing this post before I started thinking about “Food Trends I Want to See Die in 2013”. I was tempted to write it, but then was too chicken to because I didn’t want to offend anyone… and then I thought what the hell why not?! That post is next Monday January 14… if I don’t cop out. (See 10 Food Trends I Want to See Die in 2013)
Listed in no particular order.
Vegetarian Lasagne at The Acorn
1. A new found love for vegetables.
Eat your veggies because they could be the only thing on the plate. This could be thanks to Rene Redzepi from Noma “pioneering” the concept, but it is catching on in a global scale. Vegetables are treated as meats as chefs are making them into carpaccio or braising them whole. Chefs are finding ways to make them appealing as the main course and not just the “vegetarian course” or side.
People are eating healthier and even though meats have their nutritional value, vegetables are always perceived as being healthiest. With the growing interest in eating local, seasonal and sustainable, vegetables are becoming more of a highlight on menus. More people are jumping on the “Meatless Monday” band wagon and various sorts of vegetable noodles and vegetarian tasting courses are sure to be found… could vegetarian be the new gluten free? We’ll see.
“Splash” at Alta Bistro
2. Artisan Sodas & Non-Alcoholic Cocktails
What? “Non-alcoholic cocktails”? So it’s juice? Yes, but no. Pressed juices are lingering and still there, but make room for artisan sodas and drinks listed under “non-alcoholic cocktails”. I’m not talking about virgin daquiris and Shirley Temples either.
Processed sodas that are full of sugars and high fructose corn syrup are being replaced with healthier options. DIY soda makers are also making it easier for people to make their own sodas using organic fruit and natural sugars.
For me a cocktail is no cocktail without the alcohol, but I actually enjoy these creative non-alcoholic cocktails. The virgin “Splash” cocktail I had above was vanilla syrup, lime, grapefruit and ginger beer served long and on the rocks and it was excellent.
Textures of cauliflower: deep fried, pureed and grated – by Bearfoot Bistro
3. Cauliflower is the new kale.
I still love kale, but it is a “trend” of 2012. The cauliflower has always been there, but this year it is going to be used more often. I don’t know who to credit, but some chef made “textures of cauliflower” and then domino affect happened amongst culinary groupies. Whether it is de-constructed, deep fried, or braised people are getting more excited about cauliflower then years before.
I already saw it on a lot of menus from “in the know” chefs late last year and because it is an inexpensive ingredient any restaurant can easily incorporate it into their menu. It won’t just be the plain old white cauliflower, but purple cauliflower and green cauliflower will bring colour to the plate and keep things modern and interesting. Look forward to deep fried cauliflower as a bar snack as opposed to kale chips.
It’s the good kind of “food processing”. Kimichi, barrel aged and pickled everything. Some may argue that this was 2012, but it will continue on strong in 2013. Chefs take pride in pickling their own fruits and vegetables and it is a great way to have them available all year. It is going back to how things used to be done.
Last year it was pickling the obvious things like fruits and vegetables, but this year it could be more adventurous. It is also more towards fermentation which does not always include pickled foods and vise versa.
Kombucha, drinking vinegars were brewing last year, but there is room for fish and maybe even tofu or cheese (although it will have to be “black market tofu/cheese” because it is very difficult for either to pass health regulations).
Gochujung sauce in the top left corner.
5. Gochujung is the new Sriracha.
We saw Tobasco, chipotle, Sriracha and now Gochujung. I mentioned it in Vancouver Food Trends 2012 that “Korean was the new Japanese as Vietnamese was the new Thai” and I still think that holds true to 2013.
Gochujung is a Korean condiment and I’ve always liked it more than Sriracha. It is a pungent, spicy and sweet, fermented soy bean hot pepper chili paste. It is often found in and served alongside several Korean dishes. Even modern Japanese restaurants may use it for their spicy tuna sashimi/sushi. Some food forward cities started using it more intensively outside of Korean cuisine in 2011, but I think for Vancouver it will have its year in 2013.
Other hot sauces to watch out for is barrel aged hot sauce and XO sauce, but the later is almost too acquired to become mainstream.
6. Finger Limes
I might possibly start listing this every year until it becomes available at chain restaurants. I listed it as the “new ingredient” or citrus ingredient for 2012, but I still barely saw any of it – possibly because it’s not local, but no citrus fruit is anyway. It is also still very new to the market and it is pricier, so you might only see it at upscale restaurants.
It is citrus caviar and it was originally grown wild from Australia, but they grow them in California now too. They are amazing and make for an effortless garnish. They are crunchy pearls that pop when you bite into them, and with each pop is a burst of fragrant and aromatic lemony, minty lime juice. Just like with any ingredient there are several varieties of finger limes which all taste slightly different.
Smoked Prime Carpaccio at Sidecut Modern Steak
7. Smoked everything.
It is no longer a mystery what people are smoking – it is anything edible. This “trend” could be seen as last year as well, but it will continue strong in 2013. It might be a hipster thing, I’m not sure, but everything is being smoked. It’s not just meats and cheese, but smoked octopus, smoked bourbon, smoked almonds, smoked olives, smoked pesto, smoked mayo, smoked cinnamon, smoked honey, smoked coconut water, smoked maple syrup, and smoked apple tarts etc. 2013 is no doubt a smoke show.
Chicken ‘Bacon’ at Diva at the Met
8. Don’t be chicken to order the chicken.
Chicken has come a long way. People fear from it being overcooked and undercooked, being battery caged and/or cloned, or simply boring and something you make at home. Chicken has gone through it all.
It has the least flavour out of pork and beef without its skin, but I do love a well executed good quality chicken from a good farm. I won’t say it’s the “new pork” or “new beef”, but I won’t judge you for ordering it anymore.
Chefs are being so creative with chicken and it is a healthier protein. I don’t worry about it being dry or overcooked as much anymore either since sous vide has become a popular technique for cooking it. The options for chicken aren’t always healthy though, chicken wings, fried chicken skin, and deep fried chicken will always have a soft spot for many of us – literally too.
Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake & Cocoa Nib Caramel Corn from Herbsaint Bar & Restaurant
It was a toss up between ginger and popcorn, but I’m going with popcorn just because we see lots of ginger on the West Coast being so Asian influenced.
Cotton candy, doughnuts and other American carnival favourites have been taking turns in the last few years. Popcorn has made a few guest appearances and it’s more popular on the East Coast, but I expect to see more of it on the West Coast this year. It won’t only be used in desserts or enjoyed simply as a snack, but innovative flavours like coconut curry popcorn, truffle and black pepper popcorn etc., will be used as a flavourful and crunchy garnish on a savoury plate.
THE Carrot Cake at Laurie Raphaël
10. Vegetables in desserts.
So not only are we getting vegetables as our main entrees, but now we see them in desserts. Pastry chefs aren’t sneaking veggies into your desserts, but outright using them in innovative ways and calling it what it is. It has gone well beyond carrot cake and chocolate zucchini loaves, but things like candy cap mushroom ice cream, candy cap mushroom mousse, parsnip jam, beet and chocolate, goat cheese and olive macarons, Squash Ice Cream and Ginger Cookie Sandwiches, savoury vegetable caramels, and sweet potato semifreddo are just some things I’ve come across.
As much as cupcakes were 10 years ago, they might see another life line under vegetable cupcakes or savoury cupcakes. That’s another thing, it is not just the increasing use of vegetables in desserts, but the concept of savoury desserts which I also mentioned in my Vancouver Dessert Trends 2012. And no, I’m not referring to bacon chocolate or salted caramel which are sweet and savoury combinations that may be still good, but are well beyond exhausted.
A few other trends I predict that didn’t make the list are: Wordly comfort food, mustard greens, rutabaga, beef jerky, ginger, wood fired ovens, small plates to family style, bulgar/sorghum/freekeh/farro is the new quinoa, mistmatched plating, olives, disguised offal, bone marrow, artisan butter, all day brunch options, ethnic brunch options, brown butter, rhubarb, new interpretations for the Caesar salad, late night menus, bean to bar chocolate, Kouign Amann, more foraging, and crazy for “umami”.
I’ve never heard of finger limes before but they look cool (and would probably go well in a artisan soda). Any idea where you can buy them in Vancouver?
I also like the finger limes. I would add it to wun ton ravioli with crabmeat and labne, plus lime zest, cooked in a lemon grass stock, drain and drizzle Ouro Xtra Virgin and dust with chipotle.
Sriracha was to me a form of ketchup, never liked it, it has no depth of flavor. I scored some house chili sauce from the Shanghai Wonderful…it’s excellent!!! George Blanc in the 70’s started serving zucchini pasta made only from blanched zucchini(I think he got hte idea’ from those Japanese chefs cutting up daikon), Oh, all seeing mystic, I like your choices!
I love cauliflower!! I like kale but cauliflower has always been one of my favourite veggies.
Imagine some finger lime with that vegan ravioli?
Yikes, that “carrot cake” in a plant pot looks horribly disgusting. Is this now TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates, I mean, dining?
Beets instead of dye for red velvet cake, mashed potatoes for fudge gluten free brownies, pumpkin cakes/cookies are my favorites
@Manding – EXCELLENT follow up on that veggie in desserts trend. I dislike red velvet things for all the food colouring they use, so I can’t wait for ones to start advertising beets as the dye. I’ve had macarons with beet dye too! 🙂
@pennyandrusty – you can only get them from Mikuni Wild, but that is mainly a chef’s supplier. You can try them at Secret Location on their dessert menu too 🙂
@Bow – Love your passion and creativity Bow!! let me know how it goes!
@Dilara – well then, it’s your year!!! 🙂
@Bernie – mmmm!!! i’m imagining!
@Hmmm – it was actually very good and it didn’t disgust me, but I can see how it does not look exactly appetizing lol. It really looks like dirt.
Hey Mijune – heard ya on News1130 today on my commute home. FTW ! 🙂
@LotusRapper – oh wow!!! That’s so nice of you to take the time to tell me that on here. Really appreciate your support!!
You were talking about the non-alcoholic cocktails and stuff. Very convincing interview and I felt like having one right there and then (which would have been AWFULLY NICE, considering I was sitting in gridlock traffic trying to enter Massey Tunnel, on a cold dark Friday afternoon ….. and I was hungry !!!)
@LR – lol!! Okay you need a stocked glove compartment!! Mine is stuffed with food for moments like those! Thank you for listening!
Great idea, Mijune. Actually that reminds me, my car’s glove compartment (funny how we still call it “glove” when it’s usually full of crap in there, lol) is can be “refrigerated” (really) by way of a switch inside, so technically I can store foods in there, even perishables, for say a road trip or something. It is also designed to accommodate a full 6-pack of regular-sized cans of soda (or b**r, but that would be only for the passengers right ?).
Hmmm, maybe I should spend more time in my car, LOL !
Glad to see cauliflower is on the list. Should add that grated zucchini is my new favourite and it is excellent in veggie lasagna.
Have you seen a lot of popcorn being used in desserts this year?
@Tina – more so in the states and last year some people played with the idea, but it hasn’t been fully embraced yet.
I would like to find out where I can go here in Victoria to find Finger LImes?
Are there any at Granville Market?