From gigantic soup dumplings to chicken waffle cones, there were plenty of viral foods to try in 2017. As the year comes to a close, we took a look ahead to see what food trends will shape 2018. Using reports released from Whole Foods, The National Restaurant Association, and more, we identified the foods you'll be seeing on menus everywhere in the coming year.
According to Whole Foods' 2018 trend report, Americans will be indulging in authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in the coming year.
"Things like hummus, pita, and falafel were tasty entry points, but now consumers are ready to explore the deep traditions, regional nuances, and classic ingredients of Middle Eastern cultures, with Persian, Moroccan, Syrian, and Lebanese influences rising to the top," Whole Foods said. Spices and ingredients such as harissa, cardamom, za'atar, pomegranate, eggplant, parsley, and tahini will become more common on restaurant menus across the country.
Gone are the days of chocolate-glazed doughnuts. Boutique doughnut shops have been popping up all over the world, serving up unique flavors and fillings, like LA-based Cafe Dulce, which stuffs their doughnuts with Snickers bars. Australia's Donut Papi offers treats filled with custard, and NYC-based Du's Donuts come in flavors like banana malt, pear clove, and espresso cardamom. The National Restaurant Association named doughnuts with non-traditional fillings one of the 10 trends that are heating up for 2018.
Poké — a raw fish salad native to Hawaii — first made its way to mainland America by way of California. Soon after, the trend went bicoastal and spread to New York City, where the dish is now served at a number of fast-casual restaurants that allow diners to customize their poké bowls with things like kale noodles, avocado, and seaweed salad. There are still plenty of large cities like London who haven't been hit by the poké craze just yet though, and BBC predicts that will change in the coming year. According to Eater, the number of Hawaiian restaurants on Foursquare doubled from 342 to 700 from 2014 to 2016; by 2020, that number could reach over 1,000.
Dessert mastermind Tosi also says that laminated dough— the dough used to make pastries such as croissants — will become a staple for bakeries in 2018. This trend isn't completely new either. NYC-based restaurant Union Fare burst onto the hybrid food scene last year when they started selling a birthday cake croissant stuffed with with a creamy, Funfetti-flavored filling. Their other croissant flavors include matcha and red velvet.
Tosi cited soft serve as another dessert trend that will continue to grow in the coming year. Plenty of funky flavors started to make their way into the viral food sphere this year. There was watermelon and corn soft serve at Dominique Ansel Bakery in Tokyo, and flavors like green tea matcha, black sesame, and purple ube at Soft Swerve in NYC.
Originally from Thailand, this unique style of ice cream has become popular around the world, thanks to the intriguing method behind its preparation. Liquid ice cream is poured onto a cold slate, which causes it to freeze; meanwhile, it's chopped and rolled by hand and then served in a cup with various toppings. The National Restaurant Association named rolled ice cream one of the top 15 trends for 2018.