The foodie set love nothing more than getting to grips with new trends: predicting them, planning them and sometimes even rubbishing them! So far 2015 is shaping up to deliver a mix of some old favourites and a few surprising international trends. We hope the local market will take up the new ones with gusto and, before long, our streets will be littered with Ramen Bars! The widespread consensus is that Asian food is still hot, and even though the super popular Thai hot sauce sriracha is still working its way onto our supermarket shelves in SA, it is already being replaced by its African counterpart, harissa, in the States. Funky Asian is in, with a focus on regional cuisines like Korean and Vietnamese. If a visit to the streets of Soho in London is anything to go by, you cannot have enough ramen/dim sum bars in a city! We love that Downtown Ramen opened in Cape Town last year, and expect more competitors to follow. A recently published article by Momofuku owner Dave Chang voices his concern over the authenticity of the ramen being sold around the world. As with all high street food fashion, traditional recipes can fall by the wayside when preparing food that is on trend – he feels that paying homage to the dish is of utmost importance.
It is also evident that the world still loves small plates of food and the sharing, tasting and ordering of flexible portions. Chefs Warehouse and The Pot Luck Club are great examples of this style of eating, and hopefully The Roundhouse Restaurant will again roll out their winter tapas menu with a focus on local, traditional slow-cooked dishes. The old faithfuls – local, seasonal, foraged and raw (as in not processed) are trends that are still around and gaining ground. In fact, they are hardly classified as trends any more: they are just a way of life. Just eat the stuff we grow locally, or source locally, don’t process foods unnecessarily and love your veggies. These are the rules to live by and eat by (if you can!). There is a great debate going on about whether the “new” Ancient grain of the year is amaranth or millet, one of them taking the baton from quinoa. The former is actually a seed, high in antioxidants and protein and a fab new superfood, while millet is a nutrient dense grain, high in fibre, gluten free and pretty protein rich too. Stock your pantry with them and search for recipes on how to use them on food24.com Cauliflower, a la The Real Meal Revolution, is still in favour for its low carb properties and the fact that it acts like potato or rice in many dishes. I wonder when its dear old friend, broccoli will take centre stage, as they have lain side-by-side under a blanket of cheese sauce for the past 30- odd years. Good time to be a cauliflower farmer! A few new interesting cooking processes are coming to the fore. We are becoming less enthused with vacuum packing and cooking sous vide, and now we are smoking anything we can see as well as charring, fermenting and creating flavour pearls, – gelatinous spheres similar to caviar in appearance and texture (see our Source Food team showing you how to make mango pearls here). Kimchi, kefir and kombucha are fascinating flavours that result from fermentation. Kefir is loaded with probiotics and is touted as having powerful healing properties. Make your own kefir at home and keep happy and healthy this year! Other cool ingredients to look out for are coconut sugar (similar caloric properties to cane sugar, but less processed and with a, delicate caramel flavour and lower GI), matcha (a fine powder made from ground high-grade green tea leaves which has 10 times the antioxidant strength of a cup of green tea), animal fats and all sorts of flavours made into pearls. Tech-wise, we are going to order-in our take away using smart phones and tablets – see Yumbi pioneering this field locally. Door-to-door grocery deliveries of already prepared and ready to cook ingredients are services being delivered brilliantly to busy households: see Daily Dietician, Daily Dish and U Cook. It’s going to be an exciting year as we watch these international food trends hit the South African market: keep a watch on our brilliant farmers’ markets and local restaurants taking up the challenge and introducing South African food to the international market. Oh, and what has happened to the macaroon, the cronut, the cake pop and the ‘stillaround’ cupcake? Replaced by the eclair, dipped and filled with a variety of flavours, and I, for one, couldn’t be happier! See l’Èclair de Genie for inspirasie! Other trending items to cook; try or buy: – Hop free beer – Cold brewed coffee – Jalapeno honey – ‘Ugly’ fruit & veg – Bitter chocolate – Cultured butter – Coconut anything Images:travelandleisure.com www.leclairdegenie.com www.slate.comwww.sourcefood.co.za