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Global hunger issue, water supply problem. Hands holding a paper sheet with world map in a plate with knife and fork icon over market shelves background. International craving and starvation metaphor.

Menu mentions this year have been dominated by the cuisines of equatorial regions and countries such as West Africa, Japan, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Indonesia. Typically hotter with greater biodiversity, these areas tend to use more ingredients, including fresh produce, herbs, and spices. Which is your favorite?

  • West Africa: Dishes from the Atlantic side of this continent have popped up on North American menus recently with great success. Ingredients like collard greens, ginger, turmeric, plantains, sweet potatoes, cassava, okra, and peanuts are blended with smaller portions of meat and dairy. Look for dishes like jollof rice, suya, and fufu to continue their upward trend.
  • The Caribbean: Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican foods combine sweet and savory ingredients with a hint of heat. Favorite ingredients to add to your mashups include plantains, jerk spice pastes, okra, chile pepper, onions—and plenty of seafood!
  • The Middle East: Spice blends such as baharat, za’atar, dukkah, and sumac are becoming familiar names as are dishes like fattoush, tabbouleh, and hummus, using regional staples, including garlic, lemons, eggplant, tomatoes, mint, parsley, sesame, honey, dates, and olives.
  • The Phillipines: Filipino cuisine has exploded in popularity with its combination of sweet, sour, and salty flavor combinations. The country’s colonial history has made this food a melting pot with influences from Spain, Mexico, China, and Southeast Asia. Modern American menus are now exploring dishes like lumpia, adobo, pancit, and halo halo using cabbage, garlic, ube, and mild peppers.

Diners are increasingly hyper-focused on high-protein and plant-based foods. Alongside all of the new-fangled, lab-based, cell-cultured options out there is the humble bean. A staple food for millenia, beans are being re-examined as a healthy, versatile ingredient worthy of menu inclusion.

  • Retro and heirloom recipes—like Southern succotash, French cassoulet, and Cajun red beans and rice—fit the bill for those in search of authenticity.
  • Most world cuisines incorporate some type of bean in their classic dishes. Think feijoada in Brazil, black beans and rice with plantains in Puerto Rico, and garbanzo beans in Israel. Modern interpretations of these recipes are packed with produce and herbs.
  • The creamy texture of mung beans is proving an ideal substitute for those that are eliminating soy from their diets.