The start of a new year brings endless possibilities. It’s a chance to determine what we will leave behind and what we will welcome with open arms. And for most of us in Baton Rouge, it’s the food trends we’re most ready to welcome.
So, what’s the next big thing? We did some digging in national reports and got some help from chefs around the Capital City to figure out what that means here at home.
1. Bye, carbs. Hello, veggies.
More restaurants will be swapping traditional starches for veggies, according to the The National Restaurant Association. Whether it’s dietary restrictions or personal choices, chefs and diners alike are starting to favor guilt-free alternatives to the fill-you-up traditional pasta and bread. Don’t expect this craze to slow anytime soon.
Where to try it in Baton Rouge: Lit Pizza offers a cauliflower crust, made with finely ground cauliflower, eggs and cheese. Restaurants like Ruffino’s serve up zoodles (noodles made by spiralizing zucchini or other vegetables.) For at-home cooking, you can find ingredients like cauliflower rice in more and more grocery stores, and try your hand at cooking with veggie noodles at home with these recipes from 225‘s January issue.
2. Tea will reign supreme.
“2019 will be the year of tea,” predicts Austin Wong, chef at Chow Main. And we’re not just talking loose-leaf tea—although you can get plenty of that around town too. Think fun, colorful grab-and-go teas from local shops.
Where to try it in Baton Rouge: Wong points to the many milk-tea places opening around the city in the past year, like Vivi Bubble Tea and Vanilla Sweet House. Even Prince Donuts has joined the trend, adding Geaux Boba to its shop and offering great-quality bubble teas. And while 2018 did see a lot of new tea joints, 2019 already has more lined up, like Momo Tea, specializing in cheese tea.
3. The new breakfast offers global flavors.
Ethnic flavors have become more common around town for lunch and dinner, between new international restaurants opening up and older businesses offering inventive fusions of flavors. And according to The National Restaurant Association, that trend is spreading to breakfast.
Where to try it in Baton Rouge: There are already a few places locally that have jumped on the trend early, like Cocha, which serves globally inspired dishes like Venezuelan corn pancakes and a Bombay burrito made with curried potatoes, chickpeas and cilantro-mint chutney.
4. Asian-inspired flavors are hot in Louisiana.
Where to try it in Baton Rouge: While we cannot wait for more places serving up this type of fusion, there are already a few restaurants giving it a go. Poke Loa, Southfin Southern Poké and countless other new eateries serve up poke, bowls of raw fish with Pacific flavors. Southfin dishes it up with a Cajun twist, naturally, adding options like crawfish, corn and Louisiana spices to its menu. There were also several new Asian-inspired eateries that opened in Baton Rouge last year. Or, you could always go with an old mainstay, like Tsunami, which serves multiple Asian-style dishes with nods to Louisiana, like its Ragin Cajun Roll, complete with panko alligator.
5. Local ingredients and local talent are still priorities.
Both chefs and the National Restaurant Association agree—local ingredients will remain popular in the 2019 food scene. Varnedoe adds that the farm-to-table, locally sourced mantra will continue to be strong at Juban’s and around the city. He also thinks new takes on classic dishes will make a splash in the new year. “I’m also of the thought of what is old will now be new. Taking a classic and putting a spin on it—it’s certainly what I’ll be doing a lot of at Juban’s,” he says.
Where to try it in Baton Rouge: Plenty of other local chefs concur with this mantra. Chef Ryan André of Soji Modern Asian predicts more chef-driven restaurants where they can truly flex their adventurous cooking styles—just as he does at Soji. Wong not only agrees with the idea of a twist on traditional dishes, but has already begun implementing it at Chow Main with his Spicy Chicken Salad, made with red Szechuan peppercorn, green peppercorn and house chili oil.
Regardless of whether the National Restaurant Association or our local chefs get it right with their predictions, we are pretty positive we are in for another year of yummy food and inventive new dishes.
What are some food trends you hope to see in Baton Rouge this year? Let us know in the comments!