Top 10 Projected Food Trends for 2014 in Houston

Coming to America: Korean food.
Coming to America: Korean food.
Photo by speedyop

Looking back at 2013, the foods that really stick out in our minds are the trendy ones: Cronuts. Sriracha. Pretzel buns. Kale. These dominated the discussions on food blogs, in culinary magazines and on morning talk shows.

So with 2014 approaching, we thought we'd get ahead of the game by predicting what epicurean themes will emerge in the new year. Will Dominique Ansel invent another amazing pastry hybrid? (Probably not.) Will pretzel buns be usurped by something better? (God, we hope so.) Will the world end when we run out of Sriracha? (Entirely possible.)

We'll revisit these predictions at the end of next year to see how spot on or way off we were. Some of the 2014 trends have already begin taking shape, but we expect them to really explode during the next 12 months. Of course, no one can predict how big an impact a simple breakfast item or hot sauce will have. But we like to think we're pretty clever.

Here are our picks for the top food trends of 2014.

10. Korean food Houston is already on top of this one with the recent opening of Donald Chang's Nara, an upscale Korean and Japanese restaurant in West Ave. We expect to see Korean flavors in everything from hamburgers to grilled cheese to ice cream next year, particularly thanks to the growing popularity of kimchi and gochujang hot sauce. Not only will Korean food inundate the food truck and fast casual realm, but we'll also start seeing more upscale takes on Korean cuisine, as at Nara.

9. Bycatch and invasive species at upscale restaurants Local fishmonger PJ Stoops has been selling bycatch to local restaurants for years, but we see this trend catching on in the rest of the country as well this year. Bycatch is an industry term for fish caught unintentionally when fishermen are trying to catch other specific species. But rather than throw back or throw out these fish, chefs are finding new ways to incorporate lesser-known species into their menus. The same goes for invasive species. What better way to keep our waters from being overrun with lionfish, Asian carp and the northern snakehead fish?

8. Heirloom vegetables We all know that heirloom tomatoes are beautiful and delicious, but farmers are starting to cultivate much more than tomatoes. The designation "heirloom" refers to old cultivars that were grown prior to the industrialization of agriculture. When we started growing crops commercially, we picked just a few that had the qualities we were looking for, leaving some of the tastiest and more unique plants to the family farms that have been keeping these heirloom varieties growing in spite of a lack of interest from the general population. Now people are getting more interested, though, in everything from heirloom corn and peas to okra and watermelon.

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