If you fancy yourself as a fashionable foodie get the lowdown on the hottest foodie trends sweeping the globe in 2012.
Similar trends are showing up from China to Australia. Eating local will play an even bigger role in 2012, so food choices will depend on where you are.
Food offerings in 2012 will be geared toward the health of the individual, the community and the planet. So you can eat fantastic food across the world knowing that you are having a positive impact.
Get to grip with the hottest food trends sweeping across the international food scene and follow these 10 tips to be a fashionable foodie in 2012.
1) Head to Peru
Chicharrón de pescado is a popular Peruvian dish. Photo by morrissey.
Wondering where to go to try a new cuisine that you might not have come across before?
Then test out Peruvian food, which is set to be the next big ethnic cuisine on the horizon in the United States and Europe.
Prepare your taste buds for flavors influenced by the Incans, Spanish, African, Chinese-Cantonese, Japanese and Italians, including seafood, potatoes and the aji pepper.
Be sure to enjoy the Huacatay, or Peruvian black mint, which makes its way into many Peruvian dishes.
2) Enjoy a pop-up meal
Pop-up restaurants offer world-class cuisine in an environmentally-friendly package. Photo by jenny8lee.
Though New York City has already seen its share of pop-up restaurants in 2011, including the eco-friendly Snackbox, more cities and smaller towns throughout the world will enjoy these cardboard cut-out dining options.
Not only do these restaurants provide lower start-up costs for chefs, but they are often mobile and creative in their food offerings.
They provide quick, but tasty and filling, snack options when you’re busy sightseeing.
3) Check in with social media to find the best spots
Using social media can get you to the best food. Photo by David Berkowitz.
Social media continues to make finding the restaurant—and the type of food—you love without resorting to scouring reviews on the Internet, asking the hotel or hostel clerk, or questioning the guy sitting next to you at the bar.
If you already follow people who live around the world, it’s easy to put a call out for underground places to eat in Barcelona or Vancouver on Twitter or Facebook.
Quick searches on social media platforms can easily take you beyond your circle and open up wider foodie options.
4) Join the Slow Food movement
Slow Food makes its way around the world. Photo by happymealy.
Though the Slow Food movement began over 25 years ago in Rome, it has only gained international momentum over the last several years.
The movement to dissuade people from eating at fast food restaurants and instead take in meals that are prepared carefully, usually with locally-sourced and natural ingredients, will continue to infiltrate smaller towns in 2012.
5) Go gluten-free
Even yummy cupcakes can be gluten-free. Photo by REL Waldman.
After several years of a gradual buildup, the gluten-free movement is set to take the world by storm in 2012.
Even in small towns in the United States and Europe, gluten-free food options will become staples in stores, restaurants and bars.
Local breweries will even begin to offer gluten-free beers.
Since awareness around gluten and wheat intolerance has become a part of the mainstream, chefs and bakers have begun to adapt their foods to this dietary and lifestyle choice.
6) Head out for beer and posh snacks
Have a gourmet burger with a cheap beer. Photo by convex02l.
Cheese fries and nachos are out, while pistachio-encrusted scallops and polenta fries are in.
Unless you’re parking yourself at the diviest expat bar in Thailand, the bar menu in locales throughout the world will be more upper crust while restaurant fare will go more lowbrow.
So enjoy that beet carpaccio as you sip on a Guinness or PBR.
7) Know where your dinner comes from
Meeting local farmers can be a part of the food and travel experience. Photo by e pants.
It’s become fashionable over the last couple of years for chefs to list on menus which farms meats and cheeses come from, particularly at upscale restaurants.
In 2012, you will begin to see all ingredients in dishes listed with their sources alongside.
This is part of a movement of transparency in food, showcasing healthy food and often highlighting its local flavor.
The trend is trickling down from more expensive restaurants to cheaper fare establishments and has even been spotted in some chains.
8) Match your food to your mood
Raspberries and chocolate enhance your outlook. Photo by avlxyz.
Sure, oysters have long been used to “heighten” the mood, and chocolate enhances just about any situation.
But in 2012, herbs like lavender and rosemary may find their way into more main dishes, drinks and desserts since both enhance the mood.
Don’t forget staples like salmon, with mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, and turkey, which contains the depression-fighter tryptophan.
9) Go back to the butcher
More butcher shops will be available in 2012. Photo by DavidMartynHunt.
Though many parts of the world continue to offer local butchers as a way to purchase meat, urban areas that previously sold meat only in grocery stores will see the return of the butcher shop.
If that’s not possible, direct connections to local, free-range farmers not too far out of the city will become more popular.
This is just another evolution in the farm-to-table movement that got into full swing in 2011.
10) Change your menu with your underpants
Check the restaurant menu in the morning to find out your food options that day. Photo by morrissey.
Sure, many of us have gotten used to seasonal dishes in restaurants ranging from Mexican joints to raw food restaurants.
But 2012 will offer more of what became standard in a few restaurants in 2011—menus that change daily. It’s time to give up looking at the menu online because set menus will be thrown out the window.
Have you come across any of these foodie trends? Let me know in the comments below.
If you liked this, you might also like: How to Make a Pad Thai in 5 Minutes.
Main image: Local ingredients will make their way to restaurants across the world in 2012. Photo by williamcho.