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How Pork Can Power Your Global Menu

December 19, 2023


Pork is one of the most loved proteins in the world. Visit any country and you’ll find pork on the menu.1 Whether you’re in Latin America, China, Europe, or right here in America, it’s hard to deny the versatility and flavor that pork adds to a recipe.

Pork Parmesan

Elevate the classic chicken Parmesan by substituting the chicken with Premium Reserve® Pork Flat Iron.

Bone-In Pork Chop Schnitzel with a Lemon and Caper Sauce

Feature a classic application of a bone-in pork chop by making it into a German-style schnitzel.

Char Siu Pork Belly With Sesame-Celery Salad With Bao Buns

These tender morsels make for a perfect appetizer or shareable dish, featuring savory char siu pork belly with soft bao buns.

Peach, Watermelon and Jalapeno Salsa Served on Pulled Pork Street Tacos

Barbecue meets Mexican in these street tacos with pulled pork and a refreshing sweet-and-spicy salsa.

Bulgogi-Marinated Pork Loin Lettuce Wraps

A sweet and salty marinade tenderizes thinly sliced pork, making a flavorful filling for crispy lettuce wraps.

Global flavors have become more popular over the past few years, too, with 27% of consumers reporting that they’re consuming more unique global foods and beverages than they did pre-pandemic.2 

In fact, chefs and members of the American Culinary Federation identified international tastes as a key trend to watch. An increase in travel has helped spur this movement, with consumers aspiring to continue their culinary adventures closer to home. From smoky al pastor tacos to crispy Japanese katsu, the recipe possibilities with pork are almost as endless as the delicious flavors.

Now is the time to embrace a global approach to flavor on your menu, and it’s easier than ever thanks to access to international ingredients and versatile proteins like pork. Start small with a global classic, introduce new flavors and then create your own menu mashups. You’ll capture the attention of adventurous eaters, create buzz on social media with visually stunning dishes and stand out from the competition. 

A Visit to Latin America

Foods from Latin America are some of the most widely recognized and enjoyed menu items in America. And there are many pork-based dishes you can add to the menu that utilize the smoky, spicy flavors in Latin American cuisine. Consider Mexican adobada, al pastor or carnitas. Trending pork dishes include barbacoa, churrasco, longaniza and pernil, while growing Latin American pork flavors include mojo, salsa verde and achiote.3

Technomic listed al pastor as a menu item that’s trending.2 Meanwhile, simple seasonings like Tajin, a blend of sea salt, chile peppers and lime, continue to grow as consumers seek out the elusive trio of salt, acid and heat.

Adding Asian to the Menu

Pork is a go-to ingredient in Asian culture, too, according to Clemens Foodservice Chef Jen Moyer Murphy. “Asian dishes incorporating pork are really popular,” Moyer Murphy says. “Think noodle bowls, pot stickers, char siu—there are so many different applications for pork.” 

Some of the fastest-growing Asian pork dishes are pork spring roll4, pork chow fun4, pork wonton5, char siu6 and pork katsu.3 In Chinese cuisine, favorites include sweet and sour pork, char siu and pork belly bao buns. Tonkatsu (crispy fried pork cutlet) and ramen (with pork belly, bacon) are among the trendiest Japanese pork dishes.

Other popular Asian pork dishes include lap cheong, vindaloo, chashu and sisig, while pork flavors trending in Asian cuisine feature hunan, hoisin, curry and miso.3

European Vacation

“Pork is prevalent on menus throughout Europe,” says Moyer Murphy. “Consider Germany’s pork schnitzel or Spain’s Iberico pork and Italy’s pancetta.” Pork can be used as a chicken or veal substitute in classic European dishes such as a pork marsala, and bacon is always a welcome addition to pasta dishes that could benefit from a bit of smoky protein.

According to Datassential, over the past four years, schnitzel has experienced 397% menu penetration growth.5 Other trending pork dishes include croque madame, tourtiere (French Canadian), schweinshaxe, rillette, porchetta and linguica, with pork flavors such as marsala and au poivre becoming more popular.3

Barbecue Goes Global

Barbecue has always been a fan favorite with Americans, who enjoy a wide range of regional styles and flavors. Today, global barbecue flavors have been shaking up traditional barbecue, introducing consumers to rubs and sauces that are hotter, sweeter, drier, stickier and tastier.

Trending global barbecue flavors include Korean barbecue, jerk, asado, yakitori and tandoori. Interesting global-inspired sauces, different types of woods and international flavor profiles can stoke your creativity and help inspire new menu items.

Mixing Things Up

When done right, global flavor mashups and fusions are fun and flavorful. Try substituting pork in recipes that call for other proteins or swapping out a traditional tomato sauce for salsa verde or curry. Familiar formats filled with less familiar ingredients or flavors or, conversely, familiar flavors within new formats can often make global cuisines more approachable to consumers.6

“One Italian dish I like to change up is chicken Parmesan. I make it with our Premium Reserve Ribeye or Sirloin Chop, says Moyer Murphy. “I pound out the protein and bread it to create a beautiful presentation that covers the plate. Another example is swapping in pork in a traditional chicken marsala.”

Want to show your customers just how creative you can get? Discover 2024’s latest pork and bacon trends in our new infographic.



  1. 50 Best Rated Pork Dishes in the World,” Taste Atlas, Nov. 15, 2023
  2. Emerging Eats - 50 Menu Trends to Watch - Q3 2023, Technomic
  3. The World of Pork, Datassential
  4. State of the Menu 2023, Datassential
  5. Menu Trends: What’s New, Datassential
  6. The World of Global, Datassential, 2023


Topics: recipe and ingredients innovation, formats, cuisines, Global influences

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