Now that 2017 is well on its way, people are full of anticipation, hoping that 2017 will bring better things than 2016 did for most. For the movie-goers expectations are high for upcoming franchises like another new chapter of Star Wars and for movie-addicts who also happen to be comics nerds – a Wonder Woman solo feature-film (finally!) and Marvel’s new Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2. The Oscars, of course, and for couch politicians or, strike that, for everyone, the presidential inauguration. And for us foodies, the most exciting thought is about what will be the new food trend in 2017.
We had already mentioned Filipino cuisine as one to watch, and here are our thoughts on what else to expect from 2017 food-wise and whether it will hit Dubai!
Virtual Reality experience beats everything when playing video games, visiting different attractions which adopt VR Technology etc.. But what are VR Restaurants exactly?
No, it does not mean that you eat real food while wearing a VR Headset, and instead of a VR rifle in your hand you have a fork and knife. Not for now at least, however Samsung Gear VR is on it, undoubtedly.
VR Restaurants are really about enhancing delivery meals, with variations depending on the exclusivity of the restaurant. For example, restaurants will deliver not only the food right to your door, but will also provide boxes with products and recipes from the Chefs themselves, so you have the ultimate culinary experience. You can wear the VR Headset while you eat to bring the Chef to your living room.
Tastes differ, especially when it comes to Virtual Reality. There are already three restaurants, Ebony and Virtual Worlds in Dubai and iCafe in Abu-Dhabi, that both have interactive tables where diners can order, then watch the chefs prepare their food, share posts to social media channels and order a taxi to get them home afterwards. Interactive tables are a real revolution in the restaurant business and hopefully in 2017 it will go beyond the fact that VR only constitutes the interactive touchpad screens.
Veggies and Vegans
Vegan masterminds are really on the path to convert every meat-eater out there by fooling them with the ultimate impossible blood burgers, made of plants but sizzling, browning and oozing fat when grilled. They were a real hit in 2016, and it seems that it won’t stop there in 2017.
To fool a meat-eater with a veggie instead of a juicy chunk of meat takes lots of creativity, and the bloody burger was just getting things starter. More meat imitations are expected to come this year.
But what about Dubai? Well, those exact burgers are only available in the US for now, coming from Silicon Valley in a shroud of complete secrecy. However, in Dubai you have decent choices when it comes to veggie burgers. Burger Fuel with its unbelievable pumpkin, carrot, chickpea and ginger 100% vegan ‘’V-Dub Vege’’ burger will definitely win over a carnivore’s heart. There is also the ‘’Verger’’ from the Brunswick Sports Club, which is all about roasted sweet potato, capsicum jam, grilled onions, avocado salsa and veggie chips that are so bloody healthy, as well as being delicious. But the real war on your meat-taste receptors is won by the town’s best “Veggie Burger” at Cheesecake Factory which is made with love first, of course, and with brown rice, faro and chopped vegetables.
Overall though, eating healthy with more vegetables will continue to be at least as trendy as it was in 2016. Cauliflower is predicted to be the new kale and no main is complete without brussels sprouts.
A related trend you need to at least be aware of comes from the bible of trends for women – Pinterest. Buddha Bowls incorporate Japanese and Chinese health principles and should include raw or roasted vegetables, beans, grains and in some cases fish. And of course condiments such as nuts and seeds and maybe a spicy dressing if it’s healthy enough.
In Dubai, Comptoir 102 in Jumeirah is a great place to experiment with everything that falls into a V category, as well as Bestro at Galeries Lafayette in Dubai Mall. Other places in Dubai that offer a good selection of vegan and/or vegetarian options are Tom & Serg in Al Quoz, The Farm at Al Barari, Signatures at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, Tribeca at JA Ocean View Hotel in JBR, Tashas at Galleria Mall, The Sum of Us on Sheikh Zayed and Common Grounds at MoE.
Root to Leaf, Head to Toe and Nose to Tail
The Root To Leaf or Head To Toe way of preparing food means that you don’t throw away something that you can’t use for this particular dish, but could use with another one. It’s of course better for the environment because we waste less, and encourages people to experiment more with every bit of your favorite vegetable.
The Root To Leaf way of cooking comes from the name of the same book by Steven Satterfield, who has left his customers speechless with his authentic vegetable dishes, capturing the essence of fresh produce through a simple, home-made cooking style. His colleagues April Bloomfield along with Fergus Henderson use a different approach for carnivores which is the Nose To Tail way.
Dubai’s culinary scene is exquisite and Chefs tend to jump on trend-wagons to ensure they attract new customers all the time. When ordering look out for Root to Leaf and Nose to Tail dishes such as ‘’Kale Stems with Caramelized Onions and Bacon’’ or ‘’Shaved Broccoli-Stem Salad with Chicken & Lemon-Avocado Dressing’’. The first place to offer Nose to Tail dining in Dubai is Boulevard Kitchen at Manzil Downtown.
Root to Leaf and Head to Toe are part of a bigger trend around sustainable food – focusing on balancing food demands with food production. In Europe and the US there are already lots of restaurants that buy leftover stocks from supermarkets or other outlets and use that to create a menu for diners. In the UAE this concept hasn’t landed yet, rather it has been announced that food waste will now be collected and provided to those in need.
Remember when you were little, and you used to have these delicious meals and desserts? Things like rice pudding may make your nostalgic and may make you reminisce your childhood memories. Keep that in mind and find yourself at a place that now whips up the good old dishes with new flavors.
Places like Seven Sands and Rice Creamery at Al Safa Road in Dubai will make you re-visit some of your best childhood cuisine experiences but with a bunch of new flavors to be explored. As long as it still tastes like childhood! For tips on other places that serve retro-desserts take a look at our blog on the topic!
While ramen noodles have won an award for the all-time favorite student meal recently, it’s originally an ancient meal created by the Chinese. This simple, cheap and tasty dish is served widely across the UAE, and there are more than 15 places to eat it in different ways. As I was once a student, ramen noodles were great not only because they were cheap and easy to cook, but because there are endless variations to the toppings and broth flavouring.
Noodle Factory at the Wafi Mall is the most creative noodle place you will find in Dubai. Using only the best fresh ingredients noodle-ninjas create lightly sauced dishes that allow natural flavors to emerge and stimulate the senses. More venues with a good selection of noodles, including ramen, are listed in our blog on the Japanese kitchen.
Now that we have every possible something-free diet thoroughly explained and explored, and people have restricted themselves to these something-free diets, they’ve realized it gets boring quickly. So why not be a bit more flexible and eat, say paleo, only on weekdays. Or maybe be vegan only from when you wake up until 6pm. It’s called flexitarian, and it will become more mainstream and acceptable in 2017 to be a part time something-freeer.
New Pasta Types
Think pasta but made of all the new trendy ingredients that are in your salad for lunch nowadays: lentil rigatoni and quinoa spaghetti are the new bomb. This links back to the no/less carbs trend, so now you can eat gluten free and carb free dinners and still have your pasta!
Who else thought, like me, that putting avocado on your hamburger was the best thing since the snickers ice cream bars? Well it’s going to get even better – what if the avocado was your bun? Yup, you read that right. Omnia at the Fishing Harbour has it on the menu!
Did you see that picture of the rainbow bagels from Brooklyn that went viral? It was a sign of the times – technicolour, unicorn, rainbow, funfetti, sprinkles, pearls and anything else you could throw on a cake, macaron or dessert that is, by the way, also multi-coloured, unicorn and technicolour is the latest fad to hit our sweet teeth. The Australians claimed they invented fairy bread which is something the Dutch of course have done since they existed – eat your sprinkles on your bread for breakfast and lunch. The sprinkles just happen to be rainbow coloured now. I don’t think we need to mention where to go for these treats…
Mix It Up And Spice It Up
Either you’re the type of person who tries something new every day when it comes to food (or anything in life really!), or maybe you’ve been eating the same cereal with your milk every morning (like me) for the last twenty years and you feel like it’s time for something new. Now is the time to try, if you won’t try – you’ll never know.
This may also be a good time to mention the last culinary trend we spotted for 2017 – Arabic food. No need to dwell on that, we’re sure you know your shakshuka and hummus like the back of your hand!