Five F&B experts share their food trend predictions for 2018

Restauranteurs predict this year's biggest food trends – here's what's shaking Singapore's dining scene in 2018.
By Nicole-Marie Ng |
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In 2017, we saw many trends come and go. We queued for castella cakes, scouted out the most Instagrammable desserts and went gluten-free – all in the name of keeping up with the latest food fad. To stay ahead of the curve this year, we speak to five F&B professionals about their predictions on what’s going to be big in the culinary scene in 2018.

Photo by: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Restaurants, French

Going green

icon-location-pin Raffles Place

Chef Emmanuel Stroobant
Emmanuel Stroobant Group

“We’ve noticed that more people are choosing to go vegetarian or vegan when they dine at Saint Pierre – even non-vegetarians are willing to order the vegetarian menu if it’s done well. The shift to a more plant-based diet is easier in 2018 as there are more vegetable products in the market such as ‘meat’ made from carrots and tomatoes, vegan juice that use roasted onions and nut-based dairy products. These innovations are a far cry from the mock meat and other bland vegetarian products that have traditionally been available. With an increased emphasis on healthier eating around the world, with public and private entities educating the younger generation to eat better, these new products will continue to be on the rise this year.”

Photo by: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Bars and pubs

Little touches

icon-location-pin City Hall

Head bartender Yugnes Susela
Smoke and Mirrors

“All the bars in Singapore are pushing the boundaries in terms of marrying different flavours together and using top techniques. The next step is to make our drinks more presentable and garnishes play a big part in this. Bartending isn’t just a job, it’s a craft and we’re constantly looking to the kitchen for inspiration. My favourite restaurants are Alinea in Chicago and Mugaritz in Spain – I always stalk their Instagram accounts before I sleep. I’m also a fan of bars like The Gibson in London which takes presentation seriously. Trends in gastronomy play a big role in dictating the future of cocktails. One thing I can see happening next year is the use of curing for elements in a cocktail – be it in the garnish or incorporating a salty flavour to the liquid.”

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Photo by: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Restaurants

Hawkerpreneurs unite

icon-location-pin City Hall

Chef Violet Oon
Violet Oon Singapore

“I think the next big thing in local food is young chefs venturing out and starting their own businesses in hawker stalls. Young and dynamic hawkerpreneurs are putting new spins on old-school recipes and this evolution should be celebrated. Many of us lament the dying off of the old breed of hawkers but more often than not, these older people offer cookie cutter stalls that serve the same old thing – do we really need five chicken rice or bak chor mee stalls in one hawker centre? The young ones present interesting alternatives and incorporate current trends and tastes. Take for example Nixon Low’s new place, Jiak Pa Lang. Our precious and much loved favourite hawker dishes should still be part of our culinary culture – but maybe we only need the best of the best to enjoy the true genuine tastes and textures. The next challenge and focus is to see how to keep best of the best alive.”

Photo by: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Restaurants, Cafés

Au naturale

icon-location-pin Outram

Chef Lena Chan
Mad About Sucre

“To keep the dining experience fun, there needs to be more consumer involvement in the final presentation of the dessert. Experiential desserts involve engaging with the customer. For example, at Mad About Sucre, guests break the rum chocolate box to get to the chocolate orb and in the United States, a restaurant called Catch LA makes customers smash their cake with a hammer. I also think artificial flavour and additive-laced desserts such as rainbow and unicorn cakes are on the way out. The movement of using all-natural ingredients is gaining momentum and it’s only a matter of time before place customers want desserts that are less sweet, with no artificial flavours and additives, and use natural ingredients.”

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Photo by: Ahmad Iskandar Photography
Things to do

All about sustainability

icon-location-pin Marina Bay

Vice President of Food and Beverage Christine Kaelbel-Sheares
Marina Bay Sands

“Consumers today are savvy, knowledgeable, and increasingly concerned with what goes into their meal. They are the ones driving food trends to a great extent. Some trends to watch in 2018 include zero-waste cooking, as well as sustainable and responsible sourcing. At Marina Bay Sands, we source for sustainable ingredients from responsible farmers locally and in the region. Rise Restaurant uses recycled or sustainable materials in its table settings – from placemats to herb trimmings used as table centrepieces. Today’s consumers are increasingly more aware of their health and are much more keenly conscious of what they put in their bodies. When they dine out, they continue to seek out food that is both visually and holistically good for them. Renku, our newest bar and lounge, offers an afternoon tea programme with a strong focus on tea and well-being. Its extensive selection of tea blends is mixed with fresh botanicals from our own herb garden."

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