The Next Big Hipster Food Trends You'll Be So Over in a Year
Though the word "hipster" is basically a final fart from the dying corpse of '00s culture, it's frankly the best adjective to describe foods like locally sourced Sriracha-soaked kale in artisanal Mason jars served on reclaimed-wood plates with post-ironic sporks.
These are the trends (some pictured in glorious Instagram form, the preferred communication method of hipsters everywhere) that people will be labeling "new" and "trendy" and "hipster" in the following months before a fast-casual restaurant adopts them and the internet turns on its fire gaze. A few are already well established in places like NYC and Portland, but this is for the hipsters in the country who are only now catching on that tuna poke isn't a porn sub-genre.
Bear with us. This list is like a preview of everything you'll see in Season 9 of Girls which hopefully you won't watch anyway. Get informed before it's too late!!
Spam is nothing new -- it's literally only nine years younger than the sliced bread it normally sits on. But the mystery meat is having a moment right now. Spam musubi is a popular Hawaiian snack (basically, Spam sushi) that's steadily appearing on menus at high-end joints like New York Sushi Ko, while others, like the ever-trendy Manila Social Club in Brooklyn, are serving up Spam fries. And, like any food trend worth its proverbial salt, there's a lumbering food truck out there, serving out mobile Spam to the masses.
This can be filed under the "Amazing New Superfood" category. Purple bread was invented by a food scientist at the National University of Singapore, and is digested 20% slower than regular white bread, because it's pumped up with antioxidants extracted from black rice -- which gives it that unnatural purple hue. The slower rate of digestion is aimed at cutting down the spikes in blood sugar that occur after eating regular breads. This food is still in the development stage, and isn't being sold yet. YET.
Continuing the purple trend, ube is a tubular root, popular in Filipino cuisine, that has a funny, sweet taste. It's now being used in lieu of traditional food dye in snacks like donuts, ice cream, pudding, and icing in America's hippest bakeries and restaurants. And, since it's technically a vegetable, it has to be healthy... right? At any rate, purple is definitely THE hottest color in food moving forward, so keep that in mind while shopping.
This isn't a direct food trend, but more a movement in the restaurant industry as a whole. Americans waste almost 40% of their food. Chef and restaurateur Dan Barber made a cannonball-sized splash in the food world when for 19 days, he exclusively served dishes made of food waste, at the pop-up outpost out of his renowned West Village eatery Blue Hill. This opened the floodgates for other chefs to dip their spatulas into the high-end leftover game. Don't be surprised if you start to see these crop up all over.
Poke, pronounced like "poh-kay," is another Hawaiian staple that is hitting the mainland's trendiest food spots and simultaneously making Hawaiian chefs feel slight levels of cultural appropriation, which is always a sign of a big food trend. Basically, it's a blend of raw fish, veggies, fruits, and spices served in a big ol' bowl, or sometimes a wrap, like a mega-sushi smorgasbord, sans rice. It's fresh, it's healthy, and it's fast. It's already reached peak hype in SoCal, and NYC even has it's own "fast-casual" poke joint, Wisefish.
Like almost every other stateside food trend, this one has an international foundation. There's been a constituency against tipping for decades, often with pretty valid points. The not-even-just-the-tip bar was raised even higher late last year, when Danny Meyer took a no-tipping stance at several of his eateries, and Joe's Crab Shack became the first major chain to implement a no-tipping system.
Your eyes do not deceive you. This really is just white bread topped with sprinkles. Some love the stuff but others vehemently disagree. In the past few months, fairy bread has sprouted wings and flown away from its native Australia, where it's long been a snack for kids at tea time, and exploded all over the internet. It's the kind of stupid, colorful novelty people love. Expect to see it decking the pastry case of your local coffee shop in the not-too-distant future. Maybe.
Basically, cauliflower anything could make this list -- as it's becoming an increasingly viable alternative to dough, rice, and everything else chock-full o' gluten-stuff. The interwebs are currently bursting at the seams with recipes you can make at home. This is for those who hate gluten but love mashing vegetables into new forms that resemble other foods.
Just look at that! Swiss/French raclette is a cow's milk cheese that's traditionally melted at the table and poured over veggies, charcuterie, and potatoes. This is probably the best thing on this list. There's even a totally hip NYC spot dedicated to the cheese. It's like an inverse fondue -- so pretend you are your parents in the '70s, get some raclette and a fishbowl, and let the night take you to cheesy, sexually liberated places you've never experienced before.
This has already taken off in places like New York, Portland, and San Francisco, where people will also tell you that Blitzen Trapper is too mainstream. Basically, it's "toast." Like, bread. But toasted. Usually in a wood oven, because that's how you do things artisanally. Then you add stuff like artisan jams and compote or maybe cheese. Sometimes an egg and bacon. Maybe some marmalade or toasted kale. One key ingredient is an "elevated" price tag and a line to get it. Your mom might go ahead and call it "an open-face sandwich" or "a ripoff." But your mom also still has no idea who Blitzen Trapper is.
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Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. He's never once peed on a busboy, but once he threw up on a horse. Follow him: @wilfulton.