Food trends for 2019

From zero-waste eating to whey in everything, we've selected the global food and drink trends set to make it big in 2019

By National Geographic Traveller Food
Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:23 BST, Updated 15 Jul 2021, 15:57 BST
Adobo, a traditional Filipino dish

Whether it's ancient ingredients making a comeback or popular dishes taken to the next level with a new spin, what's hot in the world of food is constantly changing. But, with backing from the right chef or brand, practically anything can become a trend, either for health reasons, ethical credentials or simply because it's delicious. Read on for the ingredients, cuisines and types of eating we're expecting to go mainstream in 2019.

Alternative greens
This year, expect less lettuce and more lichen. Given the fashion for foraged ingredients and sustainable sourcing, previously forsaken greens are now cutting-edge. And you can blame Scandi-gourmands for that: Noma used it in its early days, and last year, Michelin-starred Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius brought lichen to London during his residency at Lyle's. Dulse — Ireland's native red sea lettuce — is also in vogue. Irish brand This Is Seaweed says sales have doubled year-on-year; Galway restaurant Kai sprinkles it in potatoes and carrot cake. Heston Blumenthal served pickled dulse on an initial menu at Dinner, and today favours oak moss at The Fat Duck. In 2019, no green is off the table. Laura Chubb

Heritage grains
Ancient grains such as teff, spelt, freekeh and Øland wheat are making a centuries-overdue comeback, partly because ancient grains are supposedly more digestible than their refined and engineered counterparts. In Newington Green, London, newly opened restaurant Jolene mills 100% unaltered grains from farms in Sussex and Norfolk at its on-site bakery; in nearby Hackney, E5 Bakehouse trains refugees to bake breads with a combination of heritage and modern grains. Noma co-founder Claus Meyer was a driving force behind the recovery of heritage grains in Norway — thanks to his trendsetting Øland wheat bread — and farmers there have found that growing ancient strains is more sustainable because they're naturally more resistant to pests and drought. Liz Dodd

Fermented food and drink
Why should we be drinking fermented milk? Two words: friendly bacteria. Hey, it worked for kombucha and kimchi — and now wellness evangelists are looking for their next fermentation fix, seeking inspiration around the globe. Sour milk drink kefir, from the Caucasus Mountains, is being made more palatable by UK brand Kefir Zing, adding blackcurrant and fizz. From Indonesia comes tempeh, a fermented soybean cake: already used in sushi at Planet Organic, and in a burger at London's Patty & Bun. Drinking vinegars, too, are coming to the supermarket shelf: Sainsbury's now sells Viva La Vinegar in flavours including kiwi and kale. Your gut will thank you — even if your taste buds won't. LC

Driven by a desire to cut waste, whey is having a moment in top restaurant kitchens, where it's being used for everything from sauces and dressings to tenderising meat and fish — even for braising root vegetables. Granted, the 'liquid byproduct of the cheese-making process' doesn't sound sexy, but top US chef Dan Barber, a big fan of whey, isn't bothered about that, nor is London chef James Lowe of Lyle's. The latest to embrace the ingredient is Josh Eggleton of Michelin-starred Chew Valley gastropub The Pony & Trap: "I sometimes prefer its sour notes rather the fattiness of cream," he says. "Fish and whey go really nicely together — it works brilliantly in a mussel broth alongside shallots. I also use it as a delicious glaze for leeks." Expect to see way more whey in 2019. Fiona Sims

Filipino cuisine
Filipino food hasn't won over Western palates like its Asian neighbours — until now. It stormed the US last year, as Washington DC's Bad Saint and LA's Lasa reaped national acclaim. Now, London is following suit, with ube, the country's signature purple yam, popping up in vivid doughnuts, ice cream and brownies at Mamasons' two branches. Plus, Peckham food truck Filishack serves Filipino-fusion burritos to hungry hipsters, while New Cross pop-up The Adobros dishes up dinners like lola used to make. The cuisine's challenging, salty-sour notes — a metallic-tasting stew, dinuguan, and fermented seafood paste, bagoong, count as favourites — suits a foodie set obsessed with ever-more adventurous tastes. LC

Vegan fine dining
From carrot tartare to beetroot caviar, vegan food has moved on from tofu burgers and soya yoghurt. And the trend has been recognised by the Good Food Guide, which featured a list of restaurants with vegan menus for the first time this year. Gauthier Soho, by Michelin-starred French chef and vegan convert Alexis Gauthier, is ahead of the curve: the restaurant already has a modern French vegan tasting menu and intends to be fully vegan by 2020. And New York is also a hub for vegan fine dining: Sans in Brooklyn offers vegan foie gras as part of its five-course degustation and Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABCV serves up a fine-dining take on vegan classics — such as grilled donko shiitake, shishito, cipollini and a yuzukosho green goddess. LD

Unusual ice cream
Move over pistachio — black pudding may soon be your new favourite flavour, as ice cream takes an extreme turn. And, often, the parlours radicalising frozen treats are championing region-specific flavours and small producers. The trend started Stateside, where West Coast mini-chain Salt & Straw scoops flavours like Portland-produced pig blood with cinnamon and pepper, and lately, the UK's finest are joining in: St Andrews' Jannettas makes seaweed sorbet, sourcing from a Scottish specialist; Nonna's Gelato in London whips up roasted plum and brandy ice cream with locally foraged opal plums. Or, for something more outlandish, pop into a branch of Pieminister and order the Pork Pie-Scream – vanilla soft-serve laced with free range bacon and Bourbon maple syrup, topped with a pork scratching and apple sauce. Plus, Whole Foods just predicted a rise in culinary ice creams — expect this trend to go mainstream in 2019. LC

Zero-waste eating
There are no bins in the kitchen at zero-waste restaurant Silo Brighton: from leftovers to laundry, everything is composted and returned to growers. And Silo is part of a growing movement toward sustainable eating in the UK; its sister restaurant Cub, in Hoxton, now offers Londoners a zero-waste night out. Worthy that may be, but if a cabbage-stem glaze isn't enough to convert you to eco-eating, a villa on one of Indonesia's paradise beaches might do the trick. No-waste Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak, Bali, serves its yogi-friendly food on banana leaves, and luxury hotel chain Alila has announced it intends to make its Manggis and Seminyak properties zero-to-landfill in 2019. Liz Dodd

Got a taste for tequila? Making cocktails with mezcal? Then it's time to try raicilla (pronunciation: 'rai-see-ya'). A distilled Mexican spirit from the musts of ground, mature hearts of the agave cactus plant, raicilla is roasted like mescal, rather than steamed like tequila, and has a very distinctive smoky, earthy, floral flavour. It's only produced in small batches by producers in and around Jalisco state, and until now barely any of it has made it out of Mexico (although you'll find it on connoisseur cocktail menus in the US). But watch this space, as a few importers are currently slated to bring this prized booze to the UK. Sarah Barrell

Chefs' own-label beers
If you haven't tried a chef-brewed beer yet, now's the perfect time as there have never been more of these brews available. Rick Stein could be credited with kick-starting the trend a few years back, with his Sharps Brewery-made Chalky's Bite, named after his beloved dog, and many others have followed since then. Mark Hix's range of beers — served in his restaurants — is made by Palmers Brewery in Dorset, while Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin has collaborated with Isle of Skye Brewing Co to produce a pale ale called Yer Ben. Tom Sellers, meanwhile, put his name to the clementine-infused Story Saison, made by Anspach & Hobday and served in Sellers' London establishment, Restaurant Story. The latest to embrace the trend is chef Galton Blackiston, of Michelin-starred Norfolk restaurant Morston Hall, who's teamed up with a local farmer, a maltster and a brewery for his new Norfolk lager and ale. FS


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