You probably know that crowd-sourced review forum Yelp is a great place to check out a business before you pay for the products or services that they provide. As it turns out, it’s also a goldmine of data on public opinions that can be used to predict future trends. Now the platform has analysed its own information to predict the food crazes that will be as popular as playing at an online casino is in 2020. Hugely popular in other words!
By studying which keywords and phrases were used more in 2019 than in 2018, the Yelp team was able to create a report on what fads will continue their upward trajectory and catch the eyes of foodies this year. Naturally, the coolest people of all will be able to order these dishes when they’re out, or make them at home for themselves. For lesser mortals, the restaurant versions will more than suffice!
To find out what you need to be eating if you want to stay in vogue, read on.
The spike in Yelp users’ interest in Korean food and barbecue was first noted around the middle of 2019, and since that time it has continued to gain traction. There’s no reason why this increase won’t continue to January 2020 and beyond, with a particular shout out to spicy and savoury fried rice cakes known as Tteokbokki.
Seriously Impressive Desserts
If you have a sweet tooth and always save room for dessert, you’ve got some real treats coming your way. There will be a serious upping of the dessert game in terms of clever plays on ingredients and all-out extravagance.
The Japanese penchant for tongue-in-cheek twists, such as the fish-shaped Taiyaki, a pastry filled with red been paste and served in an ice cream cone, and the Nutella-filled brick toast will continue to find favour with adventurous eaters. Monster shakes and anything with the shape or colour of a unicorn will stay popular too.
Pineapple buns are a Cantonese delicacy, and the sweet pastries can be served for breakfast or as dim sum side dishes. Found in Chinatowns around the world, they don’t actually contain any pieces of the yellow fruit.
Their name refers to their shape and the criss-cross pattern that makes them look like pineapples made of dough. The most Yelp searches for the buns came from Jacksonville, Florida and San Francisco, Canada in 2019, but the trend is catching on in the rest of the United States.
The fermented tea is already popular among hipsters and new-agers alike, but it’s really going to level up this year. In fact, Yelp found that it had the greatest jump in number of mentions by its users. The phrase was used 377% more times in 2019 reviews than 2018 reviews, and adding alcohol to the mix should only increase its popularity. Boozy kombucha is especially popular with the Yelp community in San Diego, California, which is not totally surprising.
Nashville Hot Chicken
Who doesn’t love some fried chicken? There are plenty of regional varieties, and it seems that Nashville’s hot chicken interpretation is the USA’s current countrywide favourite. The deep-fried crust is flavoured with cayenne pepper, and the chicken is traditionally served on a slice of white bread with frankly irresistible pickle chips.
Yelp searches for Music City’s favourite dish were highest in Champagne-Urbana, Illinois (even Midwesterners are powerless against its Southern charms), Louisville, Kentucky and Birmingham, Alabama. Recently, restaurant super franchise Ruby Tuesday even added it to their menu.
Replacing Snacks with Healthy Food Substitutes
The modern version of having your cake and eating it too? Eating a healthy, cake-like substitute, of course!
Cauliflower pizza bases, zoodles (as zucchini noodles are called by those in the know), cauliflower mashed potatoes and other comfort food replacements were all the rage in 2019, and are expected to stay that way this year.
Ube in Desserts
As already mentioned, restaurants’ 2020 dessert game is going to have to be strong. The unusual ingredient movement that has been so widespread in the past few years is still in full swing, and is now focused on Ube, a purple sweet potato originally found in the Philippines. Already quite common as an ice cream flavour, Ube is now finding its way into adventurous chefs’ doughnuts and pies too. The sky is the proverbial limit; the new year could well bring Ube waffles, pancakes and even flavoured pastries.
Floral-Infused Food and Drinks
As we continue to think about the environment and going as natural as possible, the craze for floral-infused beverages and foods will gain momentum. Yelp says that bartenders are increasingly using chrysanthemum in their drinks along with the charmingly named butterfly pea tea, an extract of the Asian pigeonwings plant. This is becoming especially common with gin and gin-based drinks, and foodies have started specifically looking for these ingredients on restaurant and bar menus.
Mocktails for everyone! Non-alcoholic cocktails are as trendy as flower-infused liquor, and you should soon see them as the highlight not only of drinks menus, but also of happy hours. An increasing awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving, and an upswing in teetotallers, is one of the main reasons for this new craze and it is definitely spreading fast. In addition to mixed mocktails, which require as much creativity and flair as cocktails do, zero-proof juice drinks will also be offered more and more.
Well, it is the most important meal of the day. Why not make it the best meal too? Chocolate chip pancakes and blueberry muffins just are not going to cut it as we enter a new decade. Think cinnamon swirl pancakes, banana bread French toast, and other creative delights, and you’ll have a good idea what the it-venues will be serving for breakfast and brunch.
With soufflé pancakes (another Japanese delicacy) and red velvet waffles, the impressive dessert concept can also be part of an elevated breakfast. Hit 2 massive foodie trends at once, and colour yourself fashionable! Just don’t forget to post it on Instagram with the appropriate hashtags.