13 Food Trends To Eat & Drink Your Way Through In 2019

Even more vegetables. Improved gut bacteria. Fancy juice instead of wine. The predictions are in about what we’ll eat and drink in 2019 — best taken with a grain of kelp salt...


Find modern Korean at Parnell's Han. Photo / Fiona Goodall

1. THE ‘IT’ CUISINE OF THE YEAR
The jury’s still out. Overseas, restaurant experts have their money on Mediterranean nations like Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria, as well as the “Stans” — Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan — becoming popular. Whole Foods are betting on flavours from the Pacific Rim such as guava, shrimp paste and fresh aromatics. We’ve seen a spike in more exotic cuisines presented in sophisticated dining formats here — Asian fusion at Hello Beasty, brilliant modern Korean at Han (pictured above), and a first taste of Filipino at Nanam — with plenty of room to celebrate others.

2. INSTAGRAMMABLE INTERIORS 
Punters are being lured in with more than just menus these days, with restaurants going big, bold and ‘Instagrammable’ with interiors. Think hand-painted murals, elaborately tiled floors, and gaudy neon sings — are we over this already?

Gypsy Caravan has upped its vegan offering. Photo / Supplied

3. PLANT-BASED DISHES 
Plant-based dishes reign supreme in 2019, with good chefs lavishing up the humble vege to the status of proteins, instead of the limp-y side acts of a decade ago. This year we’re likely to see the opening of more eateries devoted to plant offerings like Kind in Morningside, where knobbly jackfruit imitates pulled pork, and zucchini is slurped like spaghetti. Restaurants will offer vegetarian menus, like Culprit’s trolley service which can be tweaked (on request) to replace meat with seasonal plant-based bites. For vegans, Gypsy Caravan, where beetroot is worshipped like beef, has upped its vegan dishes (pictured above) and offers vegan tasting menus and vegan dinner events monthly. 

Mushroom coffee is just one of the mushroom-related products popping up. Photo / Supplied

4. VEGETABLE OF THE YEAR...
We’re going to take a punt on a tie between the mighty mushroom — exotic varieties are turning up in tea, coffee, chocolate, and face creams claiming to increase energy and improve brain function — and seaweed. More than 100 varieties of the slimy superfood are found on our shores and are encroaching on to the food scene, with kelp noodles, tempura nori and karengo butter on the menu. Whole Foods has picked seaweed as a top food trend, so expect more dried sea snack products in health and speciality food stores. Kelp jerky anyone?

5. WHAT WE DON'T WANT TO TRY

  • Hummus ice cream
  • Fake fruit meat
  • Pea milk
  • Cheese tea

6. TRADING KETO FOR PEGAN
Move over keto, there's a new eating regimen "pegan" taking hold. The cross between paleo and vegan will have you munching mostly plants, good fats, and nuts and seeds. Dairy is limited, no sugar or gluten, and meat is treated as a mere condiment.

Batchwell Kombucha at Billy Cafe. Photo / Supplied

7. KOMBUCHA, KIMCHI & KEFIR 
No longer just a homemade drink for hippies, kombucha has become the fizz du jour on the supermarket shelf. The fermented tea drink is popular with health-conscious millennials preferring to party sober and coincides with the mainstream rise of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir, all promising a big health fix for your gut bacteria.

Dishes at Sid at The French Cafe are created with produce from local suppliers. Photo / Supplied

8. A NEW FOUND FOCUS ON ORIGIN
More menus will serve ethically grown meat, free range eggs, and organic produce mostly sourced from New Zealand this year, as provenance is prioritised in the industry. Sid Sahrawat uses community gardens, niche suppliers and even his home garden, to plate up seasonal perfection at his award-winning Auckland restaurants. He says it’s the only way to know exact origins and makes for a much tastier result. “Chefs are able to collaborate more with local producers. We can ask a grower for a particular size of radish or herb and they can cater to the small needs of restaurants like us.” He’s just teamed up with Blenheim-based wild game farmers Premium Game Meats and says to expect wild goat at Cassia and Sidart, and wild pork at Sid at the French Cafe.

9. WHAT WE WANT TO BRING BACK
• Home-cooked meals — around the table, without phones, with conversation.
• When dining out meant three hours with elbow room and no time limits.

Clooney is one of several restaurants offering a non-alcoholic beverage pairing. Photo / Supplied

10. SAYING GOODBYE TO BOOZE 
Ditch the wine pairing; it’s all about taking your dinner with juice now. Parnell’s six-seat restaurant Pasture led the charge with its house-fermented and, at times challenging, juice pairing. Clooney introduced a juice and kombucha pairing last May and owner Tony Stewart says demand for non-alcoholic options in fine-dining restaurants is on the rise. A typical Clooney match includes a course of Pekin duck with capsicum, with a juice of tomato, pomegranate and burnt honey. “It’s a really unusual combination that’s fresh, while balancing the richness of the dish,” says Tony. Other restaurants such as Masu and The Engine Room offer non-alcoholic options, with Seedlip (a non-alcoholic distilled spirit) mocktails and Amano, and other Hip Group eateries have house-made sodas and juices.

Head to GoodFor Wholefoods Refillery to buy ingredients in bulk. Photo / Supplied

11. TAKING A STAND AGAINST WASTE
With plastic out of fashion, the pressure will be on eateries to ditch the straws and soy sauce containers and offer eco-friendly takeaways options. And as learnt last week, don’t dare ask for a takeaway cup when dining in at certain coffee establishments. Orphans Kitchen owner Tom Hishon says restaurants should buy locally and in large quantities to reduce packaging waste. At Pt Chevalier Bakery, Daily Bread, two commercial composting units are set up to compost all green waste from Orphans and Daily Bread.

12. THANK YOU, NEXT TO THESE TRENDS

  • Un-adjustable shared plates for groups — can we please just pay for one more?
  • Salad from a bag — always just a little bit limp and smelly.
  • Food served on germ-thriving wooden boards.
  • Big, oversized creamy doughnuts — who really needs these?
  • Poke Bowls — or anything just more average when deconstructed.

Eco-friendly takeaway container from Innocent Packaging. Photo / Supplied

13. DIY-ING TO SAVE DOSH
With food prices rocketing in New Zealand, consumers might find themselves getting savvy in their own kitchens and making home-made nut butter, cheese, yoghurt, pickled vegetables, and bread. It’s surprisingly easy, and as well as saving weekly dosh, creates less waste — and you know exactly where your food came from and what’s in it. GoodFor Wholefoods Refillery is a good place to get started and buy ingredients in bulk.

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