Come January, food writers start to talk about trends for the coming year. For food lovers, this is good fun. You can agree, argue, modify and most importantly, get excited about dining out in 2013 and then trying to replicate chefs’ magic at home.
I’ve listed some of the most mentioned food trends for 2013 that are relevant to the Vancouver dining scene. This is the stuff we’re already seeing on menus about town, especially during the upcoming Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2013 – Canada’s largest restaurant festival.
Take them with a dash of salt; the experts often disagree with one another! Please do add your own observations. As we all know, Vancouverites are discerning diners.
Top 2013 Food Trends
1) Veggie-tables! Vegetable-only themed restaurants are popping up all over town, and traditional omnivore restaurants are offering more veggie plates, as well as integrating vegetables into desserts. Even nose-to-tail restos are getting involved. Check out hot newcomer Wildebeest’s lemon cake with parsnip and white chocolate mousse on their Dine Out 2013 menu.
2) Technology. As you might expect (this is a blog, after all) pixels beat paper. We’re seeing more and more restaurants connecting with diners on Instagram. Forage is one of many great Vancouver examples. How much longer until we see iPad menus in Vancouver restaurants?
3) Cauliflower replaces kale. Kale will always be dear to superfoodies. No these are not comic book characters. Superfoodies are folks who try to eat the most nutrient-packed fare. But for the pleasure-focused diner, cauliflower is the new “it” veg. If you’ve been enjoying Nuba’s crispy Najib’s Special for years, you’ll be pleased to see cauli appearing on more and more menus. For example: Raincity Grill, the restaurant that pioneered the 100-mile diet concept in Vancouver, has seared scallops with toasted cauliflower, aerated bacon cloud and wild mushrooms on their Dine Out 2013 menu.
4) For wild card ingredients: Offal is out. Sumac and saffron are in. The restaurant scene has been trying to make diners appreciate offal for a couple of years now. If you still think it’s awful, good news: the trend should be dying down. The new wild card ingredients of interest are Middle Eastern spices including deep red sumac and golden saffron. Yew Restaurant has a killer lobster saffron risotto on their Dine Out menu. You can find sumac at any Iranian grocer on the North Shore.
5) Small plates beat tasting menus. Diners prefer choosing their own small plates to getting locked into a fancy pants, multi-course tasting menu. Oakwood Canadian Cuisine knows this well. Their menu is small-plate focused, approachable yet highly technical cuisine. Each dish arrives when it’s ready.
Other trends that are predicted to take off in 2013: hipster ramen joints, Brazilian cuisine, more food carts getting brick-and-mortar establishments, mezcal cocktails, farro as the new quinoa, and the rise of sustainable Albacore tuna dishes.
Have one to add? Help out by commenting below.
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