Some of America’s new regional favorites are international cuisine: Cooking shows, magazines, social media, cookbooks and popular restaurants abound with dishes offering a wider expansion of Asian food (particularly Korean cuisine), regional Mexican specialties and Middle Eastern staples.
Here’s a look at three current trends, and a peek at some upcoming ones:
Due to its huge popularity, sriracha sauce can be found in everything from sushi, potato chips and popcorn, among others. Denny’s has a Sriracha Spicy Super Chick’n, Taco Bell offers a Sriracha Quesarito and even Rachael Ray has raved about this chile-and-garlic-based hot sauce on her show.
Sriracha is very versatile; it can be blended into cheese spreads, pates, beans, soups and mayonnaise, to name a few.
The sauce is American-made (from locally grown ingredients), but its origins are Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai (David Tran, who started making his own sauce after emigrating to the U.S. from Vietnam, is of Chinese descent; Sriracha is named after Sri Racha, Thailand). From humble beginnings selling the sauce from a food truck in Los Angeles, Tran’s company, Huy Fong Foods, has grown tremendously: 2014 revenue totaled almost $60 million; more than 20 million bottles of sriracha (including other products) have been sold. Currently, there are 90 full-time employees and 70-100 seasonal ones.
Sriracha has become a worldwide sensation!
The fermented veggies that look a bit like red sauerkraut is a mixture of several taste sensations-salty, spicy-hot, sweet-and-sour is a longtime food staple in Korea. It’s not just an appetizer; kimchi can be applied to not just red meat and grilled chicken, but also hot dogs and burgers. It’s available in a variety of bottled versions. There’s also kimchi-flavored tortilla chips and beef jerky (among other items; for example, TGIF restaurants feature a kimchi-type slaw with their Korean steak tacos).
It’s a Middle Eastern staple that’s been taking the U.S. (and other countries) by storm. Humus is not only available in its usual format; it’s also featured in potato chips, sandwiches, snack crackers (such as Triscuit) and even deviled eggs- as a simple addition to the yolk filling, like Sabra’s Lemon Twist Hummus (a blend of lemon, fresh chickpeas, a touch of garlic and tahini).
Source: “What America Eats-Why We Love Global Flavors” by Mimi Sheraton-Parade magazine, May 17, 2015, Culture/Business Unusual section and “Hot hot heat” by Margaret Littman-Entrepreneur magazine, July 2015
Here’s the recipe!
Hummus Deviled Eggs
One-third cup, plus 1 tablespoon Sabra hummus
2 tablespoons olive oil
One-fourth teaspoon freshly ground pepper
One-fourth teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons relish
Paprika for garnish
Place eggs in pot and cover with cold water.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
Turn off heat and let sit for 14 minutes.
Remove with slotted spoon and run cold water over eggs.
Cool eggs for 10 minutes.
Remove shells when cool.
Cut in half and scoop out yolk and reserve in bowl of food processor.
Repeat with the remaining 5 eggs.
Add hummus, olive oil, pepper, and salt to yolks; puree in food processor.
Add relish and pulse 3 to 5 times to incorporate.
Put the yolk mixture in piping bag (use a tall glass and fold edges of piping bag over glass to make it easier to transfer mixture).
Pipe about a teaspoon of mixture into each egg white half and sprinkle with paprika.
Makes: 12 servings
Prep and Assembly: 40 minutes
For info on Sabra’s other varieties and recipes, visit www.sabra.com and www.sabra.com/recipes.
Source: “Take unique approach to freshen up your summer party”-Family Features-The Vindicator, June 24, 2015
Upcoming Flavor Blends
Crave something hotter than sriracha? Piri-piri (or peri-peri) is now available in the U.S. This chile sauce can be used for marinades and basting grilled meats, like chicken. It can also be added to soups, eggs, stews and sauces.
John Manion of Chicago’s La Sirena Clandestine believes that the next trend will be more pickled foods like kimchi: “Years ago, people were violently against pickled foods, but now they are seeking it out.”
For example, Mexican pickled vegetables are a “hot” item that’s been turning up on many American tables (it’s a mix of chiles with a healthy dose of garlic; a jar may contain one vegetable, or a colorful mixture of onions, jalapenos and another veggie, flavored with lemon juice, spices and seasonings). This product is often a fusion of traditional Mexican and Southeast Asian dishes (the two cultures share several common ingredients).
According to Jet Tila (Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen judge and Chopped All-Stars contestant), Gochujang (a very hot Korean fermented paste that’s made with dried red chile peppers, sweet rice powder and soybean paste. It’s thicker and stronger than sriracha. It can be used as a sauce base or to add sweet heat to chicken, meat and rice dishes) is the next big thing: “I know it’s going to be the next sriracha.”
Josh Habiger, of Nashville’s Pinewood Social, also agrees about gochujang in particular and Korean cuisine in general: “Gochujang is awesome and completely underappreciated (probably because it’s hard to say). It’s the perfect blend of sweetness and spiciness with a ton of umami that just isn’t there with sriracha,” he points out. It’s great in everything-dressings, marinades, sauces, etc. I have even used it in a Bloody Mary.”
Dale Talde (chef and co-owner of restaurants in New York and New Jersey-and soon opening Talde in Miami Beach) agrees, citing his “great tofu soup with a gochujang base.”
Source: “The Next Big Taste?” sidebar by Margaret Littman-Entrepreneur magazine, July 2015
When ordering ethnic cuisine, 76% of Americans opt for Chinese; 74% order Mexican; and 71% eat Italian.