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7 Food And Dining Trends We Can’t Wait For In 2018

1. The return of private dining

More adventurous than ever before, the new style of private dining will see chefs unleashing their creativity in exciting new ways. Josh Boutwood takes the lead with two exciting concepts: Savage, where he’ll create his superfine menus using preindustrial grilling techniques (no gas or electricity in his kitchen!) and Helm, where the dining experience will center around the chef's 12-course tasting menu with one-on-one interaction between the kitchen and the guest. Here, dining becomes theater, an interactive form of performance art. Meanwhile, the Underground Supper Club will continue holding its French-inspired popup dinners (the first of the year will be on January 27), and we eagerly await The Private Dining Room by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu. 

Josh Boutwood photo by Jar Concengco


2. Bread is exciting again

Richie Manapat takes the ordinary pandesal to new heights in the newly-opened Panaderya Toyo—but he’s not the only one. We’re happy to discover Miguel Santiago’s excellent croissants and brioches that he makes in 28 Derby Bakery and Cafe, his little bakery in a quiet corner of White Plains. And Clean Eats Manila just launched a new line of fluffy kamote pandesal. Bread is definitely an interesting product to watch this year.


3. More award-winning international restaurants will open in Manila

We’ve barely recovered from the fantastic ramen at Tsuta, the world’s first Michelin-starred ramen restaurant which recently opened a branch in BGC, and that’s only the start. This year, we’ll be welcoming Kam’s Roast Goose, Hawker Chan and more award-winning restaurants. It will be fun watching how dynamic the restaurant scene will be. Diners will literally be spoilt for choice.


4. Downscale dining without losing quality

Driven by the devalued peso, value for money will be a major issue. Downscaling will be sensible, for both the diners and the restaurants, but this doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing quality. You’ll see more and more chefs serving casual food items in food halls like the Food District Signatures (slated to open in BGC) and The Grid (opening at the new wing of Power Plant Mall). 


5. Gin is still in, but so are cocktails made with unlikely ingredients

Craft gin was very much the spirit of 2017, but it’s not going away any time soon. We’ll see more gin lounges opening, beginning with The Gillarmi Lounge at Discovery Primea that has one of our favorite G&T happy hours. Plus, mixologists have a lot of new stuff to play with. Mexican liquors like mezcal and tepache (rare in Manila) are hot. And check your drink for interesting ingredients, like sandalwood, bergamot, truffles and more.


6. Foodies discover new destinations far and wide

Well-traveled food lovers have already hit the big culinary capitals of the world, whether it’s Paris, San Sebastian, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok. Now they’re searching for even more fascinating culinary adventures in countries near and far. Currently on the radar are destinations like Taiwan for its famous street food, Portugal for its seafood and egg tarts, New Zealand for its stellar wines and fresh produce, Peru for its amazing food biodiversity. Closer to home, surfer locales like La Union, Siargao, Baler have thriving food communities that cater to the young and adventurous, while provincial cities like Iloilo and Davao continue to develop their own vibrant food scenes.


7. Healthy food goes local

We all know the health food trend is here to stay. From all-natural “junk” food and gluten-free treats, to superfood powders to mix into your smoothies, many new products are now produced in the country, using mostly local, organic ingredients—coconut, adlai, cacao, moringa, and more—providing much-needed livelihood for our farmers. Pili nuts, in particular, have even made inroads in the United States as a powerhouse protein used, for example, in trendy plant-based yogurt brand Lavva. For local health food products, visit shops and restaurants like ECHOstore, Real Food, and The Wholesome Table.

Local cacao photo by Pat Mateo