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What's the "it" cuisine of 2011?

Hey everyone,

A post to muse about what the new "it" cuisine of 2011 will be. Will New American continue to dominate, or will we get some more exotic offerings? Fusion, or not? Will bacon remain as the ingredient of the moment, or will there be a shakeup there, too?

I predict we'll start seeing a lot of gourmet Middle Eastern restaurants. It's a wonderful food cuisine that is generally underrepresented on these shores.

Your thoughts?

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  1. Gourmet Barbecue, or strip mall fast food Indian / Pakistani

      1. re: shaebones

        Interesting predictions. When I lived in Vancouver, there were tons of izakaya places and they were enormously popular. I've seen a lot of them open up in SF .... was wondering when they'd start spreading!

        1. re: shaebones

          Her take seemed more focus on flavors/techniques. I "get it" with the Japanese and Mexican, but come on, Devra, raw bars? Haven't we been here before?

        2. I live in Westchester NY and the Asian Fusion thing is all over, but most real foodies I know don't like those places. That being said, the fast food generation loves it. I also think Thai is becoming more popular in the Northeast. I hope Middle Eastern cuisines start jumping near me.

          Bacon will always be the IT thing! Although I'm seeing a trend towards spicy food, even in non-traditional spicy cuisines. A lot more cherry peppers and jalapenos popping up in dishes.

          Below Gordeaux mentioned Gourmet BBQ. While I think it is an oxymoron, when DB Bistro put short ribs on their burger, the stage was set.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jhopp217

            I don't know ... I don't remember bacon covered EVERYTHING a few years ago. Maybe I had bacon-blinders on, though.

            1. re: SouthToTheLeft

              Well a few years ago I agree you didn't see people making bacon and hot dog turtles, but I'd argue bacon was being used in tons of dishes other than just breakfast. For years at BBQ's we'd have bacon cheese burgers, bacon in salad, bacon wrapped dates, shrimp, scallops. I've always ordered bacon on chicken cutlet sandwiches. and of course, BLT's have always been a mainstay. Crumbled bacon on baked potatoes have also always been popular. I think more than ever, Pork in general has come to the forefront. it's not just sill commercials stating it's "the other white meat."

          2. I sure hope for Middle Eastern to become the new 'it' cuisine. I am really tired of Asian of any kind (the only restos opening up here).

            1. Middle Eastern always had a toe-hold here, but is now becoming big and even upscale. Thai and Vietnamese are already ubiquitous.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gaffk

                Thai is ubiquitous here as well. There's a running joke of sorts about Yet Another Thai Restaurant in an area where they already outnumber Chinese, Filipino, and Korean restaurants combined.

                I really wish Peruvian chicken joints would make it up to my neck of Florida.

              2. Dare I hope for the Ethiopian cuisine and Eritrean cuisine to blossom in NJ? I sure would welcome it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: HillJ

                  San Diego has a few good options for Eritrean and Ehtiopian. I find the food healthful and so full of spices I wouldn't normally have tried. It would be nice for Americans to have more access to nutritious and delicious foreign-based cuisines!

                  1. re: globocity

                    Couldn't agree more globocity. And to keep the authentic in the cuisine and not Americanize! If I only had access to SD on a regular basis. CA diners really have it made.

                2. Having been a fan of Ethiopian, Syrian and Lebanese food for ages I would be so happy to see this trend.

                  1. Menudo food trucks. I too live in Westchester NY. But a food truck open in the morning that serves a hangover cure will kill.

                    1 Reply
                    1. I think more regional asian cuisines. Not just "thai" but "Laos" cuisine or Burmese influenced. More sustainable seafood dishes.
                      One I hope doesn't catch on that I've heard talked about is human cheese. Ooof!*

                      7 Replies
                          1. re: KayceeK

                            I see the price for the (human) milk, but not for the cheese. Apparently, someone estimated that it would have to be at least $200 a pound if the women were paid a reasonable rate for their time.

                            1. re: dump123456789

                              While their babies drink what, Mountain Dew? These are people who sell their blood.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                you say that like it's a bad thing

                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                  Donating is a good thing. Selling is, well, less than virtuous.

                        1. Indian restaurants are popping up everywhere. We are just a likely to get Indian takeout as Chinese. It's nice to have new convenient options.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Whinerdiner

                            Where is this? I wish we had more Indian here.

                            1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                              Come to Philly and its burbs--Indian places are everywhere.

                              1. re: gaffk

                                Yes. I'm in the Philly burbs. Indian places are all over.

                                1. re: Whinerdiner

                                  I'm in the middle of SF, and can only think of four Indian places within a mile radius.

                                  1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                    Thats because they're all in the south or east bay.

                                    1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                      A mile's a pretty small radius, though. Expand it a little and you'll have plenty of choices. The Tandoorloin is the obvious example - they don't call it that for nothing. Gotta be a dozen places in a square that's maybe four blocks to a side.

                            2. Neapolitan-style pizza and authentic US BBQ seem to be popping up in these parts. And that's a good thing.

                              1. Northern Tunisian barbeque

                                1. While I enjoy these threads wherein everyone tries their hand at prognastication, I can't help but think it might be more interesting if we noted where we are when doing so. It seems to me that the regionality of trends is often missed in these discussions.

                                  For example, to me Vietnamese food, Pho especially, seems like a Clinton era holdover given it's explosion in 90s DC and Philly. Whereas, this past year saw a big push of Malaysian cuisine in NY and NJ. As noted by another, mediocre barbecue places are popping up in Central NJ now. However, we have a 30 plus year Indian food tradition.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    Out of curiosity, where are the Malaysian places you speak of in NY? I don't recall them at all ... and can't think of any big press New York/Time Out/NYT Malaysian restaurant reviews off the top of my head.

                                    I love Malaysian. And would love more of it all over the planet, frankly.

                                    1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                      This past fall, there was a Malaysian food truck giving out free samples in the City. It got pretty decent press at the time. Fatty Crab probably got the most coverage. Here's one reference with links to restaurants at the top.


                                      1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                        Malaysian cuisine hasn't really taken off, but it has become a lot more visible and their cooking style is entering the popular consciousness. Several Malaysian food festivals and a highly marketed food truck did a lot to put Malaysian food in bloggers' sights, not to mention the traditional media. The valorization of Singapore and its similar cuisine certainly has added cachet to that part of SE Asia. Laut and Fatty Crab are the only places I know that are trendy, but I think you will certainly see laksa, char kway teow and chili crab showing up on more Asian-influenced menus.

                                      2. re: MGZ

                                        Yeah, I wouldn't exactly call one Malaysian food truck a "push" of Malay cuisine in the NY/NJ area since there have been Malaysian restaurants in the area for at least around 15 years (namely, the Asian concentrations of NJ around Edison and NYC, of course).

                                      3. Although the economy if not actually getting better, has at least stopped it's downward spiral, I think that 'high value food', although not necessarily cheap, will continue to increase in popularity. People are going to want to be treated when they go out as restaurant meals continue to be more of a special event than they were before the bubble burst, but people are going to want more value for the money they spend. I expect the same will be true for grocery shopping as well. Even the big box stores are beginning to offer more local products, more organic products, and more specialty products. At the low end of t spectrum, the deluxe sandwiches offered by McDonalds reflect this. McDonald's value, with a better (perceived) product line. I see this as refinement/evolution of the rush to bargain prices that we saw at the end of the 00's. it won't be limited to one cuisine... ie chinese or peruvian or..... but an across the board shift of focus.

                                        1. Filipino food have been on the down-low for awhile, but it was rolling upwards, last year. So, I'm thinking Filipino food will be the next "it" ethnic cuisine. There are number of mom and pop places, plus well known fast food joints in the Bay Area, but I think it will soon go mainstream and "gourmet" and more upscale, modern Filipino restaurants will follow suit, whatever that means. Hopefully, it's not just adobo and sisig tacos for $4 a pop.

                                          15 Replies
                                          1. re: Eat.Choui

                                            Pardon my ignorance, but I really don't know what constitutes Filipino cuisine. Fill us in?

                                              1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                                Sorry for the late reply. Enbell's link is a good indicator.
                                                I'm surprise that, being in SF, you haven't been exposed to Filipino cuisine. I guess the "gateway" food is chicken adobo and lumpia. You should check out the food cart scene, since that's where things are blooming and it will definitely expand.

                                                1. re: Eat.Choui

                                                  I don't eat pork or beef, so haven't found many Filipino dishes that were me friendly!

                                                    1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                                      This restaurant is in Oakland
                                                      *Google search result only however- no personal experience

                                                      Some ideas:

                                                      eggplant adobo
                                                      (keep scrolling down)

                                                2. re: Eat.Choui

                                                  I once had a teacher who was Filipino. I now live in Dubai, which has a very large Filipino population. My maid is Filipino. I've tried various Filipino dishes over the years and I do think this is the one cuisine that just isn't going to hit the mainstream food scene.

                                                  1. re: Roland Parker

                                                    I disagree. From what I'm seeing, the American palate is expanding to more adventurous taste and Filipino food won't be left behind. Here's a good article:


                                                    1. re: Roland Parker

                                                      much as i enjoy filipino food, i tend to agree. american tastes don't run much to fish sauce which is in a lot of dishes. many of the ingredients are tropical and not readily avialable, and we can just forget about dinuguan. as someone said, aside from adobo (which is not like mexican adobo) and lumpia.... and i know lots of americans who wont eat the adobo because the vinegar taste is too strong (but they claim to love sauerkraut). I guess we could add guisantes (pork and peas) to the possible list.

                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                        Same could have been said of Thai food not too long ago, and you pretty much can't have a strip mall down here without a Thai takeout place these days.

                                                        One other selling point of Filipino food is that there are more dessert options than some other Asian cuisines.

                                                        1. re: beachmouse

                                                          So. . . a couple of friends took me to Max's of Manilla tonight for dinner. I can't say that it was a typical Filipino meal because about all they ordered was meat. Included were:
                                                          Crispy fried Chicken (no problem for most americans)
                                                          Pork Sinigang (depending on what cuts, although it's not generally chops...) and some of the ingredients (sigang, tamarind, kangkong) are gonna be hard for many places to find in the US. Still it was tasty
                                                          Cripsy Pata (parboiled, breaded & fried pork shank/knuckles) So tasty, so crispy, and my cardiologist would have had a fit.
                                                          Pork Lechon (crispy roast pork belly) More anguish for my cardiologist... again wonderful crispy skin, the melted fat, dripping onto the plate
                                                          Garlic Rice, nothing wrong there.
                                                          We almost ordered Pinakbet/Pakbet but decided why mess up the theme with vegetables.

                                                          Even though these dishes were pretty tame, mostly recognizable meat, I just dont see the average American ordering pork dishes like these that rely so heavily on very fatty cuts of meat that give them that unique taste and texture. I'm sure glad I'm not the average American. As soon as I recover, I'm gonna want more.

                                                          Oh yeah, we had Halo Halo for dessert (well technically bogo pandang... green jello, tappioca pearls, coconut milk, coconut flakes, and ice cream) You know, that sugar and coconut milk neutralizes the pork fat....

                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                            I know tamarind and kangkong, but what is sigang?

                                                            For what it's worth, my American friends love sinigang na ribs and at one time or another they've eaten pretty much everything you ordered at Max's. In fact no cut of meat you ordered would raise alarm at the trendy restaurants here in NYC. Pork belly is so common it has almost become a culinary cliché.

                                                            1. re: JungMann

                                                              sili pag sigang (green finger pepper) sorry, it's often just called sigang here.

                                                              for a nation that is obsessed with boneless skinless chicken breast, pork hocks and pork belly is quite a contradiction, but life is full of contradictions. I do know that there are many excellent (and much lighter) Filipino foods that are chock full of vegetables. I just know what kind of looks Filipino foods get from my non foodie friends here.

                                                              I was amused by the description of Dinaguang at Max's... a rich pork stew.... ummm....yeah, ok. (and yes, I eat and enjoy dinaguang)

                                                            2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              I just ate a Halo Halo cannoli from Hapa SF. It totally neutralized the sisig meal that I ate :D

                                                        2. re: Roland Parker

                                                          I don't think roadblock is flavor so much as it is in the execution. A lot of restauranteurs nail the flavors but lack the ability to broaden their customer base whether because they lack a marketing plan or because they are isolated. Others fail to aspire to more beyond catering to the turo-turo market and don't get me started on the frequent occurence of the almost brilliant Filipino restaurant that fails to be consistent and ultimately closes.

                                                          Vietnamese cuisine has hit the big time and yet they use far more nuoc mam than a Filipino kitchen. I even see people snacking on banh gio which are not nearly as interesting as Filipino tamales. I dress my dishes up a bit in cross-cultural reference and the Brooklyn crowd goes crazy for my longaniza pintxos, lechon kawali and kilawin, but that's not to say they don't also eat sinigang, binagoongan, hopia or pancit palabok which I make pretty traditionally.

                                                      2. Wood-fired ovens are becoming standard equipment in some of the better restos in LA. This is standard in some cuisines, or at least a standard method of cooking in some...

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                          and in homes..and outdoor kitchens. I see a trend in better quality techniques at home. More people are looking to entertain themselves, family and friends in their own backyard. I think its for economy and hobby. I see food preparation as becoming even more of a hobby than in recent history.

                                                          1. re: sedimental

                                                            >>More people are looking to entertain themselves, family and friends in their own backyard. I think its for economy and hobby.<<

                                                            There's no place like home - for a lot of reasons, right?

                                                        2. Food trucks. Cities & municipalities that heretofore banned them are drafting regulations to permit them (except LA, which is implementing further restrictions). Good value (low overhead) , good food on the fly, GPS accessible. The new wave, and the good ones go viral. It's a prediction by The Economist, which is always right...:)

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                            Food trucks in LA are hot (saw one NaanStop food truck literally on fire at a local intersection yesterday!). They're definitely going through the growth phase right now. Don't know how many are actually surviving but I'm guessing most are having a hard time.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              From predictions made in 2009:


                                                              NYC food truck breakdown of the best, 2010:


                                                              And good food rolls on...

                                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                And speaking of gin, it seems to be politely yet diligently climbing up the liquor cabinet scene. Hendrick's?

                                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                  Hasn't Hendrick's been the "it" gin for a decade now?

                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                    I've seen it more often are more places and in even the 1.75 size which tells me that it's becoming even more "it" over the past couple of years.

                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                      Just stumbled upon this:


                                                                      Good points in general on food trends, but just as we were talkin'...

                                                                2. re: Veggo

                                                                  Good value? That's one thing I have to disagree with. At least here in SF, most of the carts charge more than traditional sit down places. Odd!

                                                                  1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                                                    I agree! And I know they are capitalizing on it being trendy at the moment.

                                                                    1. re: Eat.Choui

                                                                      The traditional food trucks - mostly Mexican food - are usually a good deal, especially if it's from a Chow-approved truck. The new food trucks typically don't offer value - they're usually about offering something that either is unique to the area (e.g., banh mi outside of the Vietnamese-rich neighborhoods), or something that's just different all together (e.g., Kogi et al). I'm not much of a food truck fan as I've either been disappointed with the quality and/or the portion sizes. I've personally found that in order for me to have more than a snack, I have to hit more than one truck - which can be kinda fun, but time is not on your side.

                                                                3. Soylent products will com into fashion. You'll have to wait for the green one though... ;) Won't be out until 2022!

                                                                  1. Last year I predicted Jewish deli traditions would make a comeback, and they have a little bit, e.g. Traif in Brooklyn, but I still think we'll be seeing more. High-end takes on/uses for schmaltz, gribenes, latkes, etc.

                                                                    1. Vietnamese

                                                                      Indian - I can even see more Americans cooking it at home - Butter Chicken and lamb or chicken vindaloo seems like something everyone would love.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                        We've started doing a lot of Indian (okay more British-Indian) cooking in the past year, and enjoy it because it can be a relatively easy and fairly quick semi-one dish dinner- make your protein with a little bit of veggie and an interesting sauce, and then serve over starch.

                                                                      2. What exactly is "New American"? Shows how out of it I am.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          The term's been around for a good 15, 20 years. I'd guess. Synonymous with Contemporary American. If "it cuisine" suggests a spike in trendiness, I wouldn't say it's that at all—it's American restaurant cooking today, it's the general state of things in the US industry. There's a difference. Post-nouveau, incorporating global influences on the one hand, responding to the local/seasonal movement on the other.


                                                                        2. Trucks & Carts. It's getting a little nuts here in the PNW.

                                                                          1. Home cooking, anyone? Magazines like Fine Cooking seem to pushing that trend, with a substantial chunk of the latest issue (Feb/March 2011) devoted to meat loaf.