Top Trend: Authentic Ethnic Cuisine

At No. 12 on the list, “authentic ethnic cuisine” continues as a perennial trend year-over-year, but some chefs and restaurants can get even more specific and regionally-focused. It’s not just Mexican cuisine, it’s Oaxacan. It’s not just South American cuisine, it’s Peruvian or even Macanese. It’s not just Chinese cuisine, it’s Szechuan.

African and Middle Eastern cuisine in particular have jumped ahead in popularity, according to the survey. As No. 1 on the Movers & Shakers list for 2016, African flavors saw a 20 percent increase in hot trend points, while Middle Eastern flavors saw an 11 percent increase. Ethiopian and Moroccan cuisine in particular seems to have grown in popularity, namely in major market cities.

Ethnic-inspired condiments and spices and ethnic-inspired breakfast also made the hot list this year, likely as Sriracha, Moroccan harissa and Latin-inspired breakfast burritos becomes more mainstream on menus nationwide.

Design & Equipment Implications: More equipment sourcing from overseas or customization of equipment for authentic ethnic cooking pieces like woks, vertical rotisseries, tandoor ovens and even clay cooking vessels. Flexible equipment like planchas, flat-tops and combi as well as plug-and-play configurations can also accommodate a broader variety of menu items and save space. Expanded range space and more efficient ovens can accommodate more African-inspired, braised dishes.