If you’re looking to start the new year off right, try implementing the upcoming food trends below to stay ahead of the game and make the most out of 2018.
1. Thai cuisine
This year, the Thai food trend is leaning towards simpler and more relevant dishes that are loved by visitors and locals alike. Street food is expected to take centre stage, especially dishes like pad thai, hoi thod (Thai-style fried mussels), khao soi (Thai coconut-curry noodle soup), Thai-style rice topped with chicken, grilled pork with sticky rice, fried chicken with sticky rice, som tam (papaya salad) and pork satay (kebab). Even hotels are jumping on the street food trend, and have made dishes even more appealing by using fresh, clean ingredients and hygienic cooking methods.
While most customers – especially foreigners – look forward to trying traditional Thai food, modern Thai dishes are also quickly gaining popularity for their unique taste. It’s ideal for tourists seeking new experiences, and customers looking for a fine-dining experience that combines amazing new flavours with high-quality service and elegant dish presentation. Your hotel can create its own modern Thai dishes by implementing local fruits such as mango and pomelo into recipes, or using seasonal dishes when possible.
2. Western cuisine
Much like Thai food, Western cuisine is also expected to be simpler and more relevant in 2018. It comprises of dishes like steak, soups and stews, fried potatoes (hash browns, fries, etc.), pizzas, pastas, burgers, mac and cheese, meatloaf, chicken pot pie, and grilled cheese, among others. In 2018, the trend is moving towards combining these Western dishes with Thai ingredients to create local dishes with a Western twist.
One Western dish that never goes out of style is steak. This year, add dry-aged steaks to your menu. They’re just as juicy, and have the benefit of added spices and seasoning to create unmatched flavour. Steaks can be cooked according to customers’ tastes, and you can also cut the steak into slices to be shared amongst friends.
3. Asian cuisine
For 2018’s Asian food trend, Chinese cuisine is predicted to be one of the biggest attractions. Many hotels have at least a handful of Chinese dishes on the menu to cater to Chinese tourists – especially those aged 40 and over – and often incorporate special dishes during festive periods.
If you plan to add Chinese dishes to your hotel menu, here are 3 suggestions:
- Dim sum, both fried and steamed.
- Popular and ready-to-eat a la carte dishes that use high-quality ingredients.
- Grilled and roasted meats such as barbecued suckling pig, crispy pork and roasted duck. You can try experimenting with different spices such as mala for a unique burst of flavour.
4. Vegetarian cuisine
There are 3 words for 2018’s vegetarian food trend: healthy, healthy, healthy. Vegetarian food is becoming more popular in Thailand thanks to international tourists, especially from India where a large percentage of the population is vegan or vegetarian. Your hotel should prepare healthy dishes that cater to vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free as well as health-conscious diners. They may be in the minority, but they have high purchasing power and catering to their needs can boost your revenue.
This year, focus combining Eastern and Western ingredients with different countries’ preparation styles. The top 4 highlighted ingredients are mushroom, seaweed, bean curd, and cheese, in addition to the usual grains like white beans, red beans, millets, taro and yams, among others. Mix these ingredients with various cooking styles to create beancurd masala, tandoori mushrooms, or even phoenix mushroom fritters mixed with spices.
These food trends give you an opportunity to update and revamp your hotel menu to keep up with customers’ ever-evolving tastes. Use this information to come up with new, unique dishes that satisfy both Thai and international customers to create a successful restaurant that diners would love to come back to.