Pucker up for poke, it's what we'll be eating in 2016

  • Food News
  • Thursday, 10 Dec 2015

The new raw fish star in town is called poke.

Hawaiian fish bowls, the “thermonuclear” flavours of Nashville fried chicken and turmeric are predicted to become major food trends in 2016 according to a restaurant consultant group.

After keeping tabs on some of the new and emerging trends over the last year, New York-based group Baum + Whiteman released their crystal ball predictions on the foods that will take over restaurant menus and cross the lips – and mouths – of food lovers throughout 2016.


Move over ceviche. There's a new raw fish star in town. It's called poke (pronounced poke ay or poh key), and has begun migrating from Hawaii to the West Coast, with pokerias setting up shop all over Los Angeles. Think of it as a sushi bowl, with raw fish topping a bed of seasoned rice. Variations on the dish can include marinades made up of everything from soy sauce, macadamia nuts, green onions, seaweed, avocado, mango, sesame oil, ginger and chili.

‘Jew-ish’ cuisine

In the same way Peruvian, Korean, Mexican and Chinese chefs have been turning to their own roots and nationalities to come up with inventive new dishes, Jewish chefs have also been digging deep into their childhoods to bring fresh new twists to traditional foods. Think halibut crusted with challah, chopped liver accompanied by pastrami-onion jam, and matzoh ball soup and smoked duck with peaches and blackberry gastrique.

Acai bowls

If 2015 was the year of porridge, 2016 will be the year of the acai bowl, predicts Baum + Whiteman. The main star of the bowl is the acai fruit, a nutrient-packed grape-like fruit native to Brazil. Loaded with breakfast ingredients that range from granola, milk, bananas, chia seeds, coconut flakes and peanut butter, acai bowls will proliferate at juice bars, food trucks, breakfast and brunch chains and ice creameries.

Fried chicken sandwiches

The popularity of deep fried chicken shows no sign of slowing in 2016 considering the hype generated by the opening of David Chang's joint Fuku, dedicated to fried chicken sandwiches and Shake Shack's venture into fried chicken sammies as well. But next year, look out for the flavours of Nashville hot chicken to really set mouths on fire. “This is a thermonuclear paste of melted lard, sugar, sadistic quantities of cayenne, sugar and secret spices,” says Baum + Whiteman.

Turmeric powder and fresh turmeric root. Filepic
Turmeric powder and fresh turmeric root. Filepic

Spice of the year: turmeric

Turmeric, the spice that adds a hint of ginger-like notes and yellow colouring to curries, is declared the spice of 2016 as it gains popularity for its health benefits. Turmeric has been shown to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The lowdown on snacks

When it comes to snack foods, expect to see a major shift from sweet foods as sugar becomes vilified as “this year’s culinary Satan”. When sweeteners are involved they’ll be offset by spices, ethnic, bitter and sour flavours, predict Baum + Whiteman.

Snack flavours will also be amped up by different layers such as heat, smoke, and sweetness. Look out for chilli-citrus or mango-chilli-lime potato chips for instance. Beef jerky will also be used as a vehicle for innovative flavour pairings, such as honey jalapeno and bacon, cranberry jalapeno, buffalo chicken jerky.

Plant-based protein bars

Likewise, Millennials are driving up interest in plant-based proteins, resulting in the popularity of bean and lentil bars, as well as chickpea snacks. – AFP Relaxnews

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