January 24, 2018, 9:39 am
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SMPFCC features food fads for 2018

A NEW year has started and with it, both diners and restaurateurs are eager to find the next food trends that would delight the taste buds of Filipinos. 

San Miguel Pure Foods Culinary Center (SMPFCC) enlisted the help of its culinary partners – renowned chefs Heny Sison, Emelita Galang, Rosemarie Lim, Sylvia and Ernest Reynoso Galang, and Gene Gonzales - to break down the emerging food trends for the year in an event dubbed Best Food Forward.

“We’re very much present throughout different food segments of the food service industry, and as such, we’re always trying to stay ahead. For this year, we’re seeing five major food trends that we know will make for a very appetizing and appealing 2018 for food lovers,” SMPFCC Culinary Services manager Llena Tan Arcenas said.

The first food trend that SMPFCC shared is extreme indulgence – oversized servings of food or bold and unique flavor combinations of classics. 

“This trend has been present as early as 2016 but has since evolved. Now there’s even more extravagance and at times, outrageousness, when it comes to food items and flavor and taste combinations, Arcenas shared.

One example of it is the oversized burger that SMPFCC chefs prepared. Here, a humongous burger patty measuring 12 inches in diameter was topped with slabs of thick cut bacon, french fries, chicken nuggets, and cheese.

Meanwhile, the chili-infused honey-glazed chicken lollipops delighted the senses with their interplay of heat and sweetness. This was paired with a sweet potato and peas tater tots with a parsley aioli dip. Unlike the normal tater tots that are made of mashed potatoes, the sweet potato and peas tater tots had a denser texture and a more complex flavor, combining the earthy vegetal flavor of peas with the richness of the sweet potato.

The hectic lifestyle of the denizens of the Metro compounded by the perennial traffic jams along the roads of the city has also given rise to the next food trend – Ready-to-eat dishes. 

“Traffic conditions in the Metro will lead to ready-to-eat food being patronized more. As more time is spent on the road, there is less time for food preparation,” Chef Heny Sison said.

Dishes that can be prepared in advance will be the go-to food items for “dashboard diners” for whom time is at a premium.  These were exemplified by dishes such as the Grilled Cheese and Truffled Caramel Bacon in Charcoal Foccacia, Spicy Korean Pulled Pork Noodles, and Roasted Pimiento Mac and Cheese with Truffle Butter and Candied Bacon. The dishes were served in convenient containers as a nod to Chef Emelita Galang’s prediction of a rise in popularity for meal plans and meal kits.

Salads such as the Asian Chicken, Indian Curry, and Mediterranean salad were served in mason jars, echoing a growing trend of preparing salads the night before and left in the refrigerator to be grabbed the morning after.

Global cuisine is expected to flourish this year as more Filipinos travel all over the world to immerse themselves in different cultures and cuisines. Unlike the fusion cuisine which became a trend a few years back, global cuisine will see diners enjoying authentic dishes from lesser-known cuisines. Chef Gene Gonzales predicts the rise in the popularity of exotic fruits and vegetables as well as cooking techniques.

During the event, Magnolia chicken was rubbed in an African spice mix while Monterey pork belly was marinated in a Moroccan spice blend. Both were cooked sous vide to lock in moisture. These were served with infused oils which are typically used for short cooking or to finish fried and roasted dishes. These infused oils add another dimension and aroma to the dishes.

Heritage Cuisine is also expected to gain traction this year as more people seek out regional dishes from different parts of the Philippines. More restaurants will offer their renditions of traditional Filipino cuisine and combine these with modern cooking techniques.

To illustrate, SMPFCC prepared dishes such as the Lechon Kawali Paella, Boneless Crispy Pata, and Lechon Belly. These were paired with three sauces that represented Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao: Kare Kare, Humba, and Piyanggang. No Filipino meal would be complete without soup and here, SMPFCC showcased Sinigang Sa Suha and Kalamansi, slow-cooking Monterey Beef Shanks to mouth-melting tenderness in a meaty sour broth.

The final food trend that SMPFCC is expecting is the rise of Asian artisanal breads and hybrid desserts. Items such as Hokkaido bread – a slightly sweeter and airier version of a bread loaf, matcha croissants, conchas, and modern variations of doughnuts such as a chili-spiced doughnut or salted-egg custard-filled doughnuts are expected to become new favorites of diners for this year.
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