Last Updated on 6th April 2023 by Ainsley Harriott
The heat is on, and summer is here! Summer food trends always tend to be more experimental than most, which is why you can always count on hearing about the new “it” food of upcoming years during this time of year.
So, what’s hot in the kitchen during the hottest season of the year? We took a look at the newest seasonal cooking trends that chefs and foodies swear by.
#1 Exotic Fruit
Did you start to see an uptick in exotic fruits in your supermarket recently? You’re not alone. There is a massive increase in interest regarding all types of exotic fruits.
Currently, the most popular exotic fruits finding their ways onto restaurant menus, fruit stands, and smoothie recipes include dragonfruit, lychee, and starfruit. Considering how healthy this trend is, it’s safe to say that it will probably continue.
#2 Grilled Seafood And Classic Shellfish
If you live on the East Coast, you may have noticed that people are increasingly leaning towards classic New England seafood recipes. Clambakes, grilled shrimp with a dash of lemon juice, oysters on the half shell…It’s all trending once more.
For traditionalists, this is a great thing. Most of these dishes are easy to do and taste great. Unfortunately, they can get on the pricey side.
#3 Plant-Based Foods
It’s not your imagination. People are becoming vegetarian at a faster rate than ever before, and that means that the demand for meat is plummeting. Plant-based meat substitutes, on the other hand, are skyrocketing in popularity.
Whether it’s an Impossible Burger or Tofurky deli slices doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s all plant-based and can be an eco-friendly way to dine.
#4 Korean Food
In recent years, Korean food has seen a massive increase in fans. During the summer, it seems like people have started to line up for tons of K-pop-inspired treats as well as more traditional Korean meals.
To a point, it makes sense. Korean food is extremely flavorful, but often tends to be fairly light fare. It’s also hard to beat a boba tea in the hot, hot heat of summer.
#5 Sweet n’ Spicy Flavors
Blame it on the bulgogi from seasonal food trend #4 or blame it on the increase of hot honey, but people are getting increasingly interested in foods that are both sweet and spicy.
There are several types of food that have gotten the majority of the “swicy” treatment, including hot wings, porkchops, and candy. However, almost every single dish seems to be getting into this sweet heat trend—even cocktails!
#6 Cooking For A Cause
After the repeal of Roe v. Wade, culinary companies across the country started to fundraise using their skills. It’s not unusual to see Pride cakes, cookies being sold to support women’s healthcare, as well as entire dinner nights dedicated to fundraising for causes that support civil rights.
While there is a partial backlash against these fundraisers, the overall response has been fairly positive. It’s quite likely that this trend will continue to grow during these tough times.
#7 Smoothie Bowls
Are you tired of having to whip out the blender to enjoy a smoothie? You’re not alone. It used to mean that smoothies were a treat relegated to mall stands, but that’s no longer the case. Companies are now making blender-free smoothie cubes and smoothie bowls.
Smoothie bowls are basically a chilled soup that tastes like a smoothie. This trend started off with the acai bowl fad of yesteryear, but it’s taken on new life in recent months. It’s delicious and nutritious.
#8 Exotic (And Sustainable) Mushrooms
Out of all the veggies to get a sudden boost in popularity, mushrooms might be one of the most surprising ones. As it turns out, people are tired of portobellos and button mushrooms. Chefs and foodies alike want to see more biodiversity in the world of food.
A recent uptick in foraging for wild mushrooms started to catch on—and farmers have started to watch this demand. More farms than ever before are starting to work on creating sustainable mushroom supplies for rarer breeds like Chicken of the Woods or Oyster mushrooms.
#9 Street Tacos
It is hard, if not impossible, to say no to a taco. This is especially true when you’re talking about street tacos—a more traditional take on the universally-loved concept of a taco. Street tacos involve simple meats, chopped onion, and cilantro on top of smaller corn tortillas.
A recent study from Grubhub showed that shredded pork tacos (a classic street taco choice) had searches skyrocket by over 300 percent. That alone says everything we need to know as far as demand goes.
# 10 Hibiscus
Among foodies who have a flair for the tropical, hibiscus has been a major staple. This beautiful blossom is famous for smelling good, being high in Vitamin C, and for having a deliciously sweet-tart flavor it imparts. Most people know it as a great tea flavor.
Today, we’re starting to see hibiscus included in a wider range of food. Teas, smoothies, and even cakes are beginning to include hibiscus in large quantities. Yum!
# 11 Buddha Bowls
The food bowl trend kicked off sometime around the 2010s, but it’s become even more common across the board since 2020. Buddha bowls are one of the newer incarnations of this concept—and as the name suggests, there is a “good karma” aspect to this.
Buddha bowls are simple in concept. They’re vegetarian (good karma!) bowls that feature tons of grains, beans, and vegetables. The toppings you choose are up to you, but as long as it’s veggie-centric, you’re good to go.
# 12 Cloud Eggs
In the brunch world, poached eggs and fried eggs are staples. After all, it’s not like you can have Eggs Benedict without poached eggs. However, there is a new (old) contender when it comes to the best way to prep eggs: cloud eggs.
This egg preparation method was once a favorite during the turn of last century, and it’s come back in style. It’s fluffy, whipped egg whites with a slightly runny yolk in the middle. The end result? Fluffier eggs than ever before.
# 13 Turn Up The Heat
Though the sweet-spicy flavor sensation started to ripple through the culinary world, the truth is that spices of all types are starting to gain favor. Gojuchang sauce, curries from India, Thai chilies…It’s all part of a greater trend.
It seems like this year is when spicy foods are king. This is doubly true when you are talking about fusion foods. If you’re looking to feel the burn, you’ll be able to more often than ever.
# 14 CBD Mocktails And Food
With the federal legalization of cannabis on the table, it comes as no surprise that chefs across the country have started to perfect their techniques with hemp. The biggest trend among hemp-based food is to infuse cannabidiol into cocktails and food.
Cannabidiol is a healthy supplement that is non-psychoactive and legal. It’s mostly known for calming people down and improving joint health. And now? It’s being found in gummies, teas, mocktails, and more.
# 15 Exotic Potato Chips
This almost sounds like a FNAF reference (“exotic butters!”) but it’s a legitimate trend that stemmed from Asia. In Japan, Thailand, and China, potato chips aren’t just potato chips. Those thin slices of spud are a carrier for all sorts of different flavors.
This summer food trend started off thanks to K-pop and anime fans. However, it didn’t stop there. People are trying potato chips with flavors like churro, crab, spicy seaweed, and more. And honestly? Many of those flavors are surprisingly tasty.
# 16 Euphorics
In recent years, drinking stopped being as cool as it once was. People are starting to be more open about its addictive properties. Even so, they’re still looking for a buzz—ideally one that’s healthier and acts as a functional beverage. That’s what euphorics are.
Euphorics are cocktails that are meant to offer a subtle mood enhancement without the drunken stupor. They may include ingredients that help you focus or sleep, such as kava root. Most of these are sold in health food stores, but some bars are starting to pick them up.
# 17 Canned Cocktails
Though drinking isn’t always hot, the truth is that alcohol is not going away any time soon. The latest trend in the bartending aspect of dining is to make it easier to enjoy your favorite drinks. In short, manufacturers are starting to cut out the work of mixing or hiring a bartender.
Instead, you can get premixed cocktails for a cheaper price. Unlike premixed cocktails of yore, these have high-end materials, aren’t cloyingly sweet, and also come in classic mixes. In other words, it tastes like you just visited an upscale bar.
# 18 Matcha
It’s no secret that green tea has been a trendy beverage for at least 30 years. This isn’t going to stop being the case anytime soon. With that said, one particular style of green tea has become de rigeur in recent months: matcha powdered green tea.
Matcha powder remains popular as a mix-in ingredient for pastries, iced coffees, lattes, and even ice cream. If you’re a fan of green tea, it’s a good time to be alive.
#19 Charcuterie Boards
This is a trend that has been continually gaining momentum for the past five years or so, but it seems to have gotten to a fever pitch in recent months. Charcuterie boards are simply shareable platters of meat, cheese, and fruits.
The entire concept of a charcuterie board is to make a plate that makes wine matching ease. It’s classy, upscale, and easy to put together. There are literally thousands of ways to make a charcuterie board work.
# 20 Frugal Meal Planning
While it’s nice to think that trendy foods are always going to be luxurious, but recent trends in grocery prices changed things up. Food prices are now becoming increasingly steep, causing millions of people to rethink their meal planning.
Needless to say, anything that involves planning a meal that saves money is popular right now. In some cases, it’s a trend that comes with a community of its own.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is a hyper-prolific writer who covers everything from LGBTQIA+ rights to food. As an avid foodie, they are always researching the hottest trends in all things culinary. You can find examples of her other work on Mashed, Kitchenseer & Food and Drink Magazine.
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