Biggest Food Fads of 2018

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Entertainment dining

Dining is now often combined with entertainment and technology. You don’t have to choose between dinner and a movie, when you can have both at the same time in cinemas that offer food and drink served right in the auditorium. You can also eat while playing games like billiards, bowling, or golf. Experiential restaurants like Heart, a collaboration between Cirque de Soleil and legendary Spanish avant-garde chefs the Adrià brothers on the Mediterranean vacation island of Ibiza, or Ultraviolet, French chef Paul Pairet’s multi-sensory dining experience in Shanghai, take the concept even further.

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Ghost restaurants

Ghost restaurants — virtual or delivery-only restaurants, often operating out of full-service places, using underutilized space or personnel — are sometimes called the hottest trend in food service today. More and more people order take-out food, especially through apps, and physical visits to sit-down eateries is on the downturn. Nine out of 10 people surveyed say that ordering in makes their lives easier, according to a 2016 report.

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Korean condiments

Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, Tabasco, and even sriracha don’t cut it anymore. Korean condiments, both fermented and unfermented, are replacing them. Among these new favorites, besides the ubiquitous kimchi (salted, fermented cabbage or other vegetables), are gochujang (red chile sauce or paste), doenjang (soybean paste), and eoganjang (fish sauce). Look for them on tables — even non-Korean ones — near you.

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“New” cuts of meat

Every culture butchers meat differently, and American butchers and chefs are starting to discover “new” cuts as a result. Secreto (pork brisket), shoulder tenders (a small muscle in the beef shoulder), bavette or sirloin flap (a popular cut in French bistros), and baseball cut steaks (the upper part of top sirloin), are gaining popularity. A survey of 700 professional chefs identified such meats as the most popular current food trend.

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No-alcohol cocktails

People who are looking to cut back on alcohol consumptions have it easy. High-end no-alcohol drinks, also known as mocktails, are everywhere — from tequila-less watermelon and other fruit margaritas to cheations like the chocolate mint mojito (chocolate-flavored coconut water, Sprite Zero, mojito mix, and a lime wedge and sprig of mint). Increasingly, upscale restaurants and craft-cocktail bars, like Cassia in Los Angeles, and The Dead Rabbit in New York City, are offering good selections of such drinks