Entree Trends: International accents bring excitement to the plate

Keep guests excited about your menu by staying on top of flavor trends and even setting some new ones.

Looking for the next flavors and menu ideas that will kill it with your customers? We have a few ideas to help you go boldly and flavorfully into the rest of year and keep your tables turning.

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As anyone who has watched the restaurant industry will tell you, the preparation, seasoning and presentation of familiar proteins (chicken, beef and pork) has radically changed. The reason: consumers like to shake it up when it comes to flavor. Information from the restaurant data experts at Technomic, Inc., shed some light on this topic. In a recent consumer study, 37 percent of respondents said “new flavors” have inspired them to try a new menu item. Even more people–41 percent–indicated that new flavors can influence their decision to try a new restaurant.

Favorite flavors on restaurant menus often come from abroad, and ethnic foods and flavors always have the ability to engage guests. In addition to current favorite dishes and flavors, such as Italian, Chinese, Mexican and Thai, experts predict that new ethnic flavors expected will capture Americans’ imaginations in the near future.

In particular, restaurant guests still seem to like bold, spicy flavors. In recent months, Nashville Hot Chicken, Tikka Masala and other hot entrees have popped up on mainstream menus. Technomic reports 54% of consumers regularly say “yes” to spice.

Serving up spicy new flavors (or any new or exotic offering) can be risky. Sauces and condiments are a great way to introduce new flavors. Such presentations are less expensive for the guest and allow operators to showcase the quality and beauty of premium cuts of meat.

Guests who embraced sriracha over the last few years are ready for the next big spicy thing. Step ahead of your competitors and consider introducing North African flavors to your menu. Harissa is poised to be the next spicy sauce. Although it’s most often prepared or purchased as a paste made from hot, smoked chilis, garlic, olive oil, cumin, coriander, caraway and mint, operators can create a spicy, bright red sauce or condiment that pairs beautifully with grilled meats. Guests who love spicy fiery Latin, Indian or Asian flavors will be eager to try this new flavor.

Your heat-seeking patrons might also love Zhug, which is popping up on Mediterranean menus. This Israeli-Yemenite condiment that pairs well with meats or grilled vegetables gets its bright green hue from cilantro, green chilis and cardamom. It’s spicy, saucy and refreshing.

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Finally, Filipino flavors are also expected to enter the mainstream. While this island cuisine relies heavily on fish and pickling, a more approachable way to introduce these bright, acidic flavors is with this traditional dish: Meats such as pork or beef, as well as seafood or indigenous vegetables, are braised in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar along with aromatics such as garlic, onions, peppercorns, and bay leaves.

At Clemens, we see ourselves as your menu planning partner. As pork experts, our innovative chefs can help keep you on trend with a variety of creative, craveable recipes, such as Korean Style Pork Tacos with Kimchi Slaw, our Thai-style Pork Saigon Sandwich and more. Contact Clemens today to find out how Farm Promise can drive traffic and deliver profits for your operation.

Topics: Farm Promise