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Top Ten Ethnic Cuisine Trends for 2017-2018

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(Gerry Furth-Sides)  Our 2017  predictions based on  2016 had the theme: rediscovered classics that are thoughtfully revived and re-created.    We present our 2018 predictions from the best of this list.


(1) authentic ethnic food pop ups (2) breads from India (3) meatballs (4) bone broth   (5) exquisite ethnic desserts; (6)  whole fish – ok I’m still hoping for this one (7) Eastern European cuisines  (why?) – (8) more new global produce hatch chilies  (9)  delivery of healthy dinner ingredients with recipes extreme health cookbooks (10) Authentic food festivals (we a)re doing one.

(1) Pop-ups with ethnic food:  Kura’s Korean chef Daniel Son heads the list again, adding to his reverence for the Japanese tradition.  This past fall, Chef Son introduced his favorite Japanese street food “sando” with a pop-up.  The comforting yet bracing Eurasian sandwich contrasta snap of Asian spices with a pillowy brioche.  Watch for ube bao pop-ups at Izakaya By Slowfish.

Kura Sushi’s New Traditional Yōshoku Katsu Sandwich Pop-up


(2) Authentic Indian breads and street food snacks always popular at Southern Indian restaurants, are hitting their stride  on their own. http://(http://localfoodeater.com/famous-indian-snack-recipes-award-winning-mayura-restaurant).

Abhiruchi Grill in LA: “Delicious” in Indian (or any language)

(3) Exquisite updated Asian desserts.  Chefs Alex Susuki and Kennen Navarro at IzakayaBySlowfish in West Hollywood created a Mango Ice Cream Cake made in house layers ice cream, cake and candied nuts with a fresh flower and a cannelle of ube cream.   

Hojicha Pudding layers frozen strawberry, pear and yuzu shaved ice.

Below is Kura’s version of the popular Korean Taiyaki, red bean paste and custard-filled batter mold fish cookies.  The chef adds to it Black Sesame ice cream with black sesame crumble for a fusion Korean, Japanese and American dessert .

Herb infused lollipops from Melville Candy- our North American ethnic find, along with Stonebridge’s Chocolate Covered Montmorency Cherries (which only grow in one latitude around the world) http://localfoodeater.com/tag/montmorency-cherries/and American Heritage Chocolate. (http://localfoodeater.com/historic-celebrations-new-american-regional-chocolate-recipes/)

New Sweet AND Savory Lollipops from Melville Candy Company


(4) Classic whole fish, whole fish – ok I’m still hoping for this Historically considered a good luck dish for Asian holidays Visually stunning and natural,  the fish just breaks apart and the major bone is left on the table, making it easy to eat.

The whole fish idea is becoming more popular, even with the head on.   This year we loved the luxurious Fig & Olive’s New World version of branzino.

Fig + Olive’s New World Whole Branzino Feast

An add-on trend is making healthy, sustainable fish accessible for home delivery.  Greensbury is one such company that probably has the same price as a high end market.

Greensbury Salmon: the Best, Healthiest – and the most PC

(5) Eastern European cuisines.  A Georgian wines tasting, Village Inn meal and even kohlrabi at Melissa’s Produce this year were indications of Eastern European comfort food coming into its own.  “Comfort” is the key word.

Astonishing Georgian Wines Keep “Georgia on My Mind”


All after Ekaterina Leziak sought us out at a Georgian wine tasting to “show us” how local Russian restaurants have evolved into entire evenings of very high energy and very lavish eating, dancing and drinking.  She proved that authentic high-end Russian dining is very  much alive and thriving with one of our most exciting and authentic experiences of the year at Premier Restauranthttp://localfoodeater.com/premier-restaurant-bar-makes-old-traditions-new-russia/


(6) Bonebroth.  We love it and it loves us – one bowl is so healthy and satisfying it makes a complete meal even on the go, now available in restaurants and boxes to save 18 hours of home cooking time.

New Kettle & Fire Bone Broth Smoothies for Summer


Nona Lim On-The-Go Global Bone Broth Soups

(7) New global produce, such as hatch chilies, Enjoya (stripy peppers), which can also be home-delivered or purchased from companies like Melissa’s Produce, along with complete meals with recipe cards. And no need to continue to blame the Romans for domesticating kale, cabbage’s great-great-great grandmother or grandfather.  We are thrilled that according to the Hotel Chef Association, “kale is out for 2018.”

New Pangea Nutrition Brings Mediterranean Diet to USA

Melissa’s Produce Turns Global Gift Baskets into Local

 (8)  Healthy ethnic cookbooks, such as Deepa Thomas’ “Deepa’s Secrets” with recipes and information about how to prepare Indian food in a contemporary, “low carb” way.

“DEEPA’S SECRETS ” Earns Best Ethnic Book 2017

(9) Meatballs –

New “Primitive Feast”. Paleo. Perfect.

10. Authentic Ethnic Food Festivals (we are doing one!)







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Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.