Apparently, this is one trend that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. (Sorry vegans, it’s obvious people still love their meat!) This trend was also mentioned in my October 2018 food trends article under sandwich trends (sandwich or not, it’s still open for debate). Nonetheless, I am digging it! Here are some of the latest trends in the hot dog space:
Steamed or deep-fried dogs: while most people think of hot dogs as grilled or broiled, there are many other techniques and cooking methods that can be applied to your dog. Montreal hot dog vendors for example call their dogs ‘steamies’ which means that both hot dog and bun are steamed. Then there’s the deep-frying application, which is said to give the hot dog a ‘snap’ factor. (0 nutritional value in this one)! Another style is the slash cut dog, which involves Edward Scissorhands at the mercy of your grill. No seriously, deep cutting slashes are made in the hot dog before grilling so the dog gets extra crispy on the grill and soaks up more of the sauce toppings.
Fancy dogs: gone are the days of hot dogs being cheap overly processed meats only sold at ball parks. Nowadays high-end chefs are even taking notice of this trend and are now putting hot dogs onto their menu. For example, Daniel Humm has his “Humm Dog” hot dog at Nomad in NYC, LA and Vegas. Delicious, and you know once the influential Chef Daniel Humm (11 Madison Park) puts a hot dog on his menu, things are getting real! Recipe here.
Asian dogs (no, not literally, no dog meat in this guy): anyway, as Asian food continues to increase in popularity, kimchee and other trends like waygu beef, and Pilipino sausage are finding their ways onto hot dog buns. While Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese twists are the most popular, Chinese and Thai flavors are also finding their way onto hot dogs. Take for example, the Saigon Special at Schaller’s Stube Sausage in NYC at also Austin, TX. This dog, which is a huge crowd pleaser comes with daikon—carrot slaw, cucumber fresh jalapeno, cilantro and Siracha aioli. Another popular Asian dog is the Asian Slaw Dogs with sriracha mayo. In this recipe the slaw is made with cabbage, carrots, and scallions, while the dressing is made with soy sauce, peanut oil, sesame oil, ginger, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce and lime juice. This recipe is all over Pinterest. Yum!
The Rise of Non-Alcoholic Drinks:
Coca-Cola recently introduced a non-alcoholic cocktail concept, Bar None into the marketplace. The new beverage currently comes in four flavors: Sangria, Bellini Spritz, Dry Aged Cider, and Ginger Mule. A trend that started in the UK with “Dry January”, has seeped into the USA with many American consumers claiming that they like the taste of alcohol but don’t necessarily want the side effects. Many other companies have taken note, including Heineken launching its 0.0% MAXX last year in Europe; and AB InBev announcing plans to expand its nonalcoholic and low-alcohol beer options. Diageo has also taken a stand in the market by taking a stake in the non-alcoholic spirits produced Seedlip. However, Coca Cola is the first large scale corporation to take note of the trend and respond to the market. If Coca Cola can successful mimic the taste of the cocktails and get consumers to become repeat buyers, this trend had the potential to become a big hit.
Global Food Security:
Academy of Food Security and Agriculture: established by the University of Edinburgh in 2016 to help tackle global challenges to food systems around the world. Its aim is to support sustainable development in global agriculture and rural land-based economies, through providing world-leading research, innovation education, training and consulting while supporting food and environmental security, animal and human wellbeing. Here are two of the largest issues they are facing:
The issue of meat production: I’m sure this one doesn’t come as a surprise. Over 1/3 of the world’s landmass is being used for pasture or for animal feed, which produces 14.5% of global greenhouse gases. Considering global meat production has risen from 70m tons to over 300m tons in the past 40 years, this issue will only continue to get worse.
Food waste and waste itself: in the USA alone, around 40% of the food we produce goes to waste. Thankfully many people are taking note of this global threat, and companies like ‘Imperfect Produce’, mentioned in my Feb 2018 article are selling the ‘garbage misfit produce’ to end consumers at a deep discount. Furthermore, biodegradable packaging is in the works for many companies and restaurants are starting to outlaw plastic straws and coming up with new computer systems that monitor how much food is being wasted at a restaurant.
Kroger Express: as of December 2018, Kroger and Walgreens started an experimental “Kroger Express” program where select pharmacy chain stores will stock 2,300 Kroger products on the shelf. The companies are currently testing Kroger Express in 13 Kentucky locations. This is meant to give both companies a competitive edge, as pharmacy chains face pressure to consolidate and Whole Foods/Amazon threatens grocers. More information here.
Cell grown meats:
Aleph Farms, based in Israel has found a way to turn cow cells into beef cuts which replicate the shape, texture, and flavor of steak. This would mean there would be no need for devoting large amounts of land, water, and feed required to raise cattle. (A huge win!) Although there’s a great deal of work to be done, the company is saying that the fact that technology is developed marks a huge breakthrough.
Impossible burger has started to attempt a ‘world class’ steak. In an interview with ‘The Spoon’, Impossible Food’s CEO and founder Pat Brown described plans to make a version of “whole cuts of beef” with a goal of creating a sustainable and meat-free “world-class” steak. More info.
Move over Blue Apron and Hello Fresh Little Tummy is coming to a mommy near you!
Baby food delivered: although this is service is only available in the UK, it’s likely New Yorkers will be crawling at the seams to get this company setup in NYC. The new direct-to consumer service by Little Tummy will offer organic chilled meals created using high pressure processing to help preserve vitamins and minerals. A weekly plan starts around £25 with meals packed in recyclable plastic bowls.
Vegan Ice cream:
Avocado soft serve and the rise of vegan ice cream: Gelavo, an Aussie ice cream company is now making vegan soft serve ice cream with ugly avocados. Each scoop of ice cream is made up of 22 to 25 percent avocado as well as water, sugar, canola oil, and lime juice.
Vegan ice cream is quickly gaining in popularity around the world. In fact, within the next ten years, the global vegan ice cream market is expected to hit $2.45 billion. Halo Top also has a variety of non-dairy, vegan ice creams here.
Vending machines with a purpose:
Coca Cola’s VenCycling (currently being used in China): using cutting-edge facial recognition technologies and a voice interactive system, the VenCycling machine makes purchasing and recycling Coca-Cola beverages more efficient. The machine uses AI LEDs and two eyes – one that dispenses beverages and another that collects used packaging. In exchange for returning used cans or plastic bottles into the machine, consumers receive credit via mobile phone for beverages or products made from recycled goods. Innovations like this VenCycling machine support the Coca-Cola Company’s “World Without Waste” vision to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of its packaging by 2030. More info.
Juice for good: this innovative vending machine out of Australia uses damaged and ‘not so beautiful’ oranges to create delicious, 100% fresh squeezed orange juice. Although there are only two vending machines in Australia right now, many think the concept is awesome, and the company hopes this trend will catch on. What’s even better than seeing imperfect fruit not going to waste is the fact that all profits from the company go directly to Oz Harvest, which helps to feed people in need. (Can we get one of these in my condominium’s lobby, I would do anything for fresh squeezed orange juice!)
NYC’s newest pop up concept:
Intersect by Lexus: what exactly does a car company know about creating a high-end restaurant? Apparently, a lot as this restaurant concept had already proven successful at two previous activations in Tokyo and Dubai, so Intersect by Lexus thought it was about time they tackled the ‘Big Apple’. Was the experience any good? Good enough to impress Pete Wells (Eater.com article). While the restaurant, café, and cocktail bar (all managed by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group) is the main event, the public gallery on the first floor is also worth a visit, according to Esquire magazine. What’s even more interesting about this restaurant concept is the fact that it plays host to a new chef every four to six months, so the menu is always changing. It’s also worth noting that from the grand glass and steel staircase that leads up to the second floor, the menu is on full view thanks to the open-concept design.
The many flavors of Macau:
The amazing flavors of Macau. Known to many as the “Vegas of China”, Macao is a mecca for gambling, glitz and glamour. Since Macao was a Portuguese colony for 300 years, the ‘Macanese cuisine’ consists of a blend of Southern Chinese and Portuguese cuisines, including such favorites at the Portuguese egg tart pastry, Portuguese seafood rice, egg rolls, and pork chop buns. Tapas are also an integral part of Macanese cuisine. Here are some Macanese places in the USA we recommend checking out:
Fat Rice, Chicago: named one of the world’s 50 best restaurants, Fat Rice takes culinary influences from Portugal, India, South East Asia and China. Their signature dish, the ‘arroz gordo’ (fat rice) is a paella like dish from Macau that’s served to the whole table in a large clay pot. Ingredients include shellfish, crispy jasmine rice and succulent meat. Although this dish is commonly enjoyed during feasts and celebratory events back home, it was not available in the USA until Fat Rice opened in 2012.
Macao Trading Company, New York City: described as a 1930/40s exotic gambling parlor meets brothel serving Chinese-Portuguese small plates, this super-hip Tribeca spot is often jam packed on most evenings. In addition to exotic cuisine and dishes such as Macanese lobster noodles and Macanese steamed fish, be sure to check out their cocktail menu, which is easily one of the best in NYC. Their infamous Drunken Dragon’s Milk combines green-tea vodka blended with coconut puree, pandan syrup, Chinese five spice bitters, Thai basil, rye, and egg white. It’s quite the flavor explosion.