The Halal Dining Club’s Top 10 halal food trends for 2018
In 2017 we saw the emergence of freakshakes and bubble waffles that had people queuing for hours and of course the continuation of the gourmet burger obsession. It’s certainly been an exciting year for food in the halal dining scene and we cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store for us. Along with halal food becoming more part of mainstream market, here’s our pick of the Top 10 Halal food trends for 2018.
1) Single dish spots and hero ingredients
We have seen a little bit of this in 2017 with the likes of Dum Biryani House , Oli Baba’s Halloumi Fries and Hip Chips but we think 2018 may just be the year that single dish spots come into full force from cheese toast to dosa’s and perhaps even the humble potato.
2) Korean Fried Chicken & Bingsu
Korean food is already huge in Singapore and other parts of Asia and we think this is going to become more widespread in the UK, the US and Canada. We cant get enough of Korean food and hope there’ll be more restaurants serving up Korean Fried Chicken (will that be the new KFC?!?) and Bingsu.
3) Rise in veggie centric and ethical food sourcing
Whilst the mainstream market has for sometime being witnessing the rise of veganism and ethical and locally sourced ingredients which reduce our impact on the planet, we think that 2018 will be the time for this to be one of the key halal food trends. Whilst there is no denying that halal diners are on the lookout for halal meat options when they dine out and don’t want to be stuck with the vegetarian option only, we hear more and more voices questioning whether this overconsumption of meat we are seeing is actually in line with the principles of Halal and Tayyeb. The Prophetic traditions suggest an occasional consumption of meat and practices such as battery farming of chicken certainly don’t seem in keeping with the doctrines of Halal and Tayyeb. More halal restaurants are sourcing ethically sourced and organic meat but it would be great to see them take this a step further by having vegetarian and vegan specials.
4) Japanese food beyond sushi
Say Japanese food and everyone immediately thinks of beautifully presented sushi. However, food typically served in Japanese Izakaya’s (the equivalent of gastropubs) such as Kushiyaki (skewers of chicken or wagyu beef) hold huge appeal. Curries are another big part of Japanese cuisine as is the theatre of Teppinyaki. The UK has already seen a number of entrants but alcohol and pork based ingredients feature quite largely through the menu making it difficult to be enjoyed by halal diners. We think that may change in 2018 and predict Japanese food besides sushi will amongst the most popular halal food trends.
Hararu Izakaya – first halal certified Izakaya in Singapore
5) Air-fried food
Earlier this year at the Halal Food Festival we got a taste of fried but not fried chicken wings by Selekt Chicken. Instead of deep-frying things in vegetable or canola oil, air fryers use hot air to produce anything from french fries to chicken wings with a perfectly crisp, “fried” outer layer. We reckon we’ll see quite a few new ‘fried’ food joints pop up.
6) Dry bars
As more and more people in the mainstream market are making a conscious decision to step away from alcohol, we hope to see more dry bars that halal diners can enjoy too. Most dry-bars are actually dry-friendly in the sense that a full alcohol menu is also served but there is choice for teetotals. Only a handful of dry-bars are completely dry in the UK but we think more restaurants will have a dry bar with a proper mixologist – no fizzy lemonade and grenadine syrup pretending to be a Strawberry Mojito!
Rumah Rasa – Three Eyed Raven Mocktail
7) More high end international buffets
Halal international buffets are a rarity in the UK, North America and Australia and the best we have seen are those in Asia, particularly Singapore. What’s not to like about buffets – even the most fussy eaters have something to please their palates and you can try a small sample of a variety of cuisines. Whilst some buffets can suffer from huge queues to food that has been sitting out for a while, the best buffets have live cooking stations with food cooked to order and guest chefs showcasing their skills on special event nights. We predict a rise in demand for high end international halal buffets in 2018.
8) Experiential dining
Dining experiences will become a bigger feature in the halal market. Not just eating in a themed restaurant in terms of matching decor and food but where families and friends can be immersed into the dining experience. Steaks cooked on your own hot rocks or make your own pancakes at the table, dining will become more immersive and theatrical in 2018. One of our favourites are the Bearded Bakers from Australia. These guys have a delicious Kunafah (or Knafeh as they call it) recipe that they made a little lighter and as they have people queuing to get their hands on the delicious, warm dessert, they are entertained by the Bearded Bakers. They have pop ups in Sydney and now Melbourne but were also recently spotted in New York and Washington. We hope they make their way over to Europe and Asia too.
Credit: Bearded Bakers Australia
9) Indian three ways – modern, street and regional
Indian cuisine is hugely popular across the world. Of late, we have seen a rise in regional Indian cuisine as chefs pay homage to their cultural roots and celebrate the uniqueness of individual regional cuisine from Royal Mughal to the streets of Bombay. In 2018 amongst the other halal food trends, we think the boundaries will be pushed with celebrating of cooking techniques such as barbecues, grills and showcasing interpretations of curries from around the world. We also think Indian street food will become much more mainstream and be more widely available in casual dining restaurants of all kinds.
10) More gourmet burgers and steaks
There has been an explosion of gourmet burger and steak places that are halal in every city that Halal Dining Club covers! We don’t see an end to possibly the biggest of halal food trends just yet. However, we do have an observation. On the one hand, it is great to have variety and choice of burgers near you but for 2018 it would be nice to see restauranteurs try to offer something unique. We saw a fried chicken pizza in Singapore in 2017, could there be a halal pizza burger in our future or create your own burger experience?
Which trends would you like to see next year and what do you want to see more of?