Incredible Breakfast Trends

A Perfect Culinary Storm

There would be little argument with the statement, Americans really like their food. But it may be more appropriate to say that we really like everyone’s food. We embrace it, often adjust it, and then make it our own.

Foreign cuisines have become a national obsession. We follow tweets from the top Thai brunch place in town and stream all Food Channel shows on regional Peruvian cooking. We know the weekly schedule of our favorite fusion cuisine breakfast truck and Instagram every item we order at the Korean burger place just opened by that celebrity chef.

The flavor industry tells us to look for increased heat and bold flavors from Indonesian Sambal, Korean gochujang, and African harissa paste and peri-peri sauce. Some also expect our improving relationship with Cuba to increase interest in green olive, guava and sofrito.

Millennials comprise 25 percent of our population, are the most diverse demographic in history, and have an intense interest in food as it relates to wellness, social responsibility and social interaction.

According to the National Restaurant Association, 90 percent of foodservice operators say consumers have grown more knowledgeable about food and pay more attention to food quality than just two years ago. But that fact hardly seems remarkable given the points outlined in the paragraphs above. All points show a population with great interest in food.

People automatically see Mexican when thinking of ethnic cuisines at breakfast and it’s well represented by breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros and chilaquiles like the Peking duck with fried eggs, pickled onion, guajillo salsa, cotija, crema and corn tortilla at Zengo in Washington D.C. A Cuban connection is found in Denver at Snooze Eatery in Havana Daydreaming, made with free-range pork, shaved ham, Gruyere, homemade pickles and sunny-side egg with Dijon hollandaise.

Going more exotic, we see harissa-braised kale with applewood-smoked lamb bacon and fried eggs at The Breslin in NYC, and The Kenwood’s Korean-style shrimp and grits with ramps, shiitakes, poached egg and K-mama sauce in Minneapolis. Italian shows up as a Benedict with poached eggs on grilled focaccia with prosciutto and pesto sauce at Thornton’s Restaurant & Café in Boston, and Caribbean style comes from Miss Lilly’s in Soho, with eggs over easy, plantains, stew peas and Scotch bonnet pepper.

If dining out is not an option, we fill our freezers with choices for a quick, satisfying breakfast. GFA Brands offers gluten-free morning burritos under the Udi’s label. Uncured meats are available through lines from both Good Foods Made Simple and Phil’s Fresh Foods’ evol line, including a Spicy Bacon & Egg Burrito with jalapeños. Ruiz Foods’ El Monterey Signature Egg Burritos use ingredients like seasoned pork sausage, applewood-smoked bacon, real scrambled eggs and fresh-baked tortillas. And if it’s hearty food that’s wanted, Hormel’s Chi-Chi’s brand, includes the Triple Play burritos made with three kinds of meat, three cheeses and hash browns.

It’s interesting that with the wide variety of ingredients available, eggs are surprisingly common in diverse cuisines throughout the world. Western-style eggs are even topping morning rice in Japan and fava beans in India, contrary to local traditions.

So where will the next huevos rancheros or breakfast burrito come from, and in what form? We need only look at traditional breakfasts that have made small inroads onto U.S. menus to make predictions:

  • Shakshuka: Already in spotty distribution throughout the country, this dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and onions, often spiced with cumin seems poised to take off in 2016. (Israel and northern Africa)
  • Migas: Already enjoying popularity in selected areas; needs wider distribution to gain momentum. Should be as popular as huevos rancheros, even at non-Hispanic operations. One example is found at Café Brazil in Dallas, made with homemade chorizo, onions, bell peppers and sliced jalapeños tossed with scrambled eggs and crisp tortilla strips. (Mexico)
  • Jian Bing: Found in a few spots including The Flying Pig food truck in NYC and Bing Mi! truck in Portland, Ore. This Chinese crepe is a breakfast street food, including egg, pickled vegetables, and a fried cracker smothered in hoisin and chili sauce, enveloped in a wheat and mung bean flour pancake. (China)
  • Congee: Already enjoying popularity among Millennials and in a growth mode per Technomic; needs more mainstream trial. One example is the Organic Rice Congee with farm egg, crispy pork belly or shrimp, peanuts and cilantro at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley. (East Asia)

So it’s true: Americans really do like everybody’s food. We discover it, embrace it, then make it our own.


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