Here are the food trends that got you hooked this 2018

Dec 31, 2018

Food, like fashion, operate on what's currently hip: sometimes it's a person, sometimes it's a dish, sometimes it's a style. From what we've seen (and ate!), 2018 was a year of experimentation, convenience, comebacks, cakes in a can.

Collaboration Dinners

IMAGE: Kai Huang

Chefs logging in major miles just to cook a dinner or two isn't a new concept, but it kicked into high gear in the Philippines this 2018. From the country's up-and-coming chefs coming together for a wild 10-hands feast to the world's major culinary players challenging the skills of our local prodigies, the Filipino dining public was definitely spoiled for choice. Some of the globe-trotting chefs who wowed us with their gastronomic stylings include Hiroyasu Kawate (Florilege) and Yusuki Namai (Ode).

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The recently inaugurated and hopefully annual Asian Culinary Exchange also welcomed the likes of Vicky Cheng (VEA), Rishi Naleendra (Cheek by Jowl), Bryan Koh (Chalk Farm), Keirin Buck (Le Bon Funk), and more. Meanwhile, Philippine favorite Chele Gonzalez also launched his Serie Kulinarya. The award-winning Spanish chef also buckled up with Asia's Best Gaggan Anand, who announced that it would be his last trip to the Philippines before he closes down his top-rated eponymous restaurant.


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In the same vein as temporary collaboration dinners, pop-up dinners have been prominent in this year's food scene. From up-and-coming chefs looking to stretch their muscles to promising concepts that are looking for the right venue and timing to generous chefs doing some savvy socal contribution, kitchens for rent had a busy 2018.

One major pop-up was Boracay's famous Sunny Side group making their beachside hits available to us city folk when the island was on hiatus.

Cakes in a can

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Brown bread in a can is a sensational ready-to-eat version of a New England classic dish, but cakes in a can? Unheard of! Until, that is, until Le Sucre Lab. Le Sucre Lab, owned by Marvin Bagube, infiltrated everyone's feeds with his Chocolate Dreamcake. On the gram, it looked like a mouthwatering cake so creamy, rich, and decadent that you had no choice but to eat it with a spoon. In reality, it's part chocolate cake, part ganache, part chocolate custard, and part more chocolate-a culmination of various techniques-resembling a mousse-like cake or, perhaps, a cake-like mousse. With Le Sucre Lab going over time making more than a thousand of these babies every day, people quickly followed in suit.

Established bakers soon came up with their own version, from Aperitif to Christa Manila to Love Lots Cakes to Hiraya Bakery and more. Easy to store and hard to share, it's a good friend to have in your fridge in case of emergencies.

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Mango Float

One enterprising Pinoy Big Brother alum got busy and decided to make the next big thing: mango float in a cup for the mango float lover on the go. It's an easy enough idea to replicate. Local gelateria Manila Creamery have come up with their own version featuring gelato and mango jam.

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Fancy Goto

Rice porridge would be predictably ubiquitous in a country where rice is the staple food, but 2018 is the year of the tripe-laden goto, which has deservedly stolen the spotlight from the more popular arroz caldo and congee. Goto has been around for ever, but it's never headlined any menu, until the likes of Goto Tendon, Goto Believe, and Goto Monster-all of which knew that to draw in everyone's attention was to make everything bigger and bolder and make sure that nobody could resist.

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Coco Tea

The milk tea craze hit the Philippines in 2011/2012. Coco Tea, the largest milk tea company in the world, opened its first local outlet in 2014-very much late to the boba party. This year, however, Coco Tea suddenly ignited a resurgence in refreshing milk+tea mixtures, bringing along a new slew of milk tea outlets in this next wave. If you can't get past the hours-long lines of Coco Tea, try Yi Fang or bunk over at the recently opened Tiger Sugar.

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Quick Slow Food and Food Delivery Services

We're not just talking about fast-food takeout. The hellish Manila traffic has made many people realize that they don't want to spend a quarter of their lives stuck inside a car. Lives are planned based on how near necessities are (like walking distance) and if they can purchase things with just a few taps on a smartphone. Because of this demand, more and more couriers have extended their services to deliver. Grab and Honestbee have been aggressive with their restaurant delivery campaigns and even Food Panda is stepping up.

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Chefs like Jeremy Slagle and Happy Ongpauco have also launched quick but good meals to match the swiftness of today's lifestyle.

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