Poké from Hawaii
Think sushi, but in a rice/salad bowl. Poké(prounounced /poʊˈkeɪ/) is the latest food craze to come out of Hawaii. It’s slowly but surely making its way into the world of fast casual dining, and if you haven’t had your bowl of poké yet you’re bound to have one really soon.
Poké is something that’s insanely popular in Hawaii. Basically, what you get is a delectable mix of raw seafood cubes (like salmon or ahi tuna that you’ll find in your sushi) with a special marinade (with soy sauce, of course). Depending on the restaurant, this can be mixed up with avocado, cucumber, seaweed, and other ingredients, then served on top of either a rice or salad bowl.
It can fill you up but you also feel light and fresh enough after enjoying your share.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
What can better counter the heat of summer than a perfect little ice cream sandwich? We’ve observed gourmet ice cream sandwich shops emerging everywhere in big cities, but even other restaurants have caught up and are now putting some version of the ice cream sandwich in their menus.
There’s ice cream sandwiched by chewy cookies, ice cream sandwiched in a waffle, and even donut ice cream from Krispy Kreme. Making your own ice cream sandwich combination is even possible at places like Cream.
Authentic Ethnic Flavors
Food is all about taking risks and making new discoveries. There are so many flavors from around the world, and chefs are now finding a way to incorporate them into their regular offerings. The ‘sriracha effect’ made everyone want sriracha in their meals, and once culinary experts find the next hottest flavor (perhaps Korea’s gochujang or India’s ghost pepper) then we’ll be seeing more of authentic ethnic cuisine.
Farm to Table
From locally sourced seafood and meats to locally grown produce, more and more restaurants are capitalizing on the trend of supporting ‘local’ producers. Customers want to know where their food is coming from, and this is what brought about the ‘farm to table’ concept.
In a nutshell, it’s about moving away from eating food that has been shipped from halfway across the world to maximizing what we have in the vicinity. Eating local has a lot of benefits, from supporting the local economy to food that is so much fresher and tastes better.
Restaurants know that food is about personal taste, and this is where customization comes in. Some restaurants have long offered the ability to “add on” items or change up what’s in the menu a bit, but the create-your-own concept is fast catching up even in the fast food space.
There’s something refreshing about having a made-to-order meal in a place where you’re usually limited by what’s available on the menu. For instance, McDonald’s ‘Create Your Taste’ concept allows you to get gourmet burgers the way you want them. Build-your-own-pizza is also popular, giving people absolute freedom to add only what they want as toppings. For dessert, you can also create your own cupcakes in places like Skinny Piggy.
Calling a restaurant to have food delivered is not new, but technology has also changed the landscape of how this is done. These days, you can order through other digital channels – such as from your laptop and your mobile phone app.
Restaurants have caught onto this trend and upped their tech game, but there are also food delivery services that operate solely on making meals (even gourmet meals!) and delivering them to your workplace or home, even on a day-to-day basis. There are even apps and services like UberEats that focus just on the delivery.
Better ‘Latté’ Than Never
A café is one place where you can get creativity in a drink, and you can see this with the trendy lattés that people order. The turmeric latté is just making waves, giving you a golden milk drink that’s a great alternative to coffee. Indulging in something as visually delightful as rainbow coffee or as sinful as a red velvet latte is also the new talk of the town.
Health buffs need not fret because there will always be something trending that’s a healthier alternative than most. These days, it’s cauliflower. From cauliflower rice to cauliflower pizza crust, there are so many cauliflower-infused food items to choose from.
From homemade artisan ice cream and homemade pickles to homemade sausage and homemade dips, it’s now all about carrying the label of being made at home with the care and attention that you don’t get with commercialized items.
Putting the ‘Chef’ in Fast Casual
Normally, people don’t associate the words ‘chef’ and ‘gourmet’ with ‘fast’ and ‘casual’. In terms of food, these are normally at the opposite ends of the spectrum. This is no longer the case because now you get chefs who are taking over fast casual kitchens.
What this is saying is that you don’t have to choose between fast and wholesome, because you can have the best of both worlds. Now you get places like The Little Beet (Chef Franklin Becker), Flip Burger Boutique (Chef Richard Blais), and Tortas Frontera (Chef Rick Bayless). When you put chefs at the helm of fast casual restaurants, it changes the landscape forever.