8 Food Fads That Filipinos Absolutely Loved In 2016
For Pinoy foodies, 2016 has been an amazing year of new discoveries and crazy food fads. The trends range from foreign desserts breaking into the Filipino market to well-loved local flavors finally making its way to the international scene.
Here’s a rundown of our favorite food fads from an eventful 2016.
From ice cream to Kit-Kat to cheesecake to Oreos, everything instantly tastes better when it’s in matcha (green tea) flavor. It all started with the once elusive matcha-flavored Kit-Kat from Japan, but easily accessible thanks to Family Mart. Next thing we knew, matcha-flavored everything started cropping up.
Local restaurants are joining in the trend by putting a spin to classic desserts by bringing matcha into the mix. It might require an acquired taste for some to like it, but this trend is here to stay.
Must-Try: Matcha Sesame Cookie from Scout’s Honor, Matcha Soufflé Pancake from Le Petit Soufflé, Thick Toast Green Tea Nutella from UCC Clockwork, Matcha Milkshake from Kumori Café
From time to time, a franchise debuts in the country, and everybody goes crazy. This year, Pablo opened at Robinsons Place Manila and produced lines that went on for hours. It’s not the first café that offered the dessert, but no other shop managed to go viral and had everyone lining up. Unlike the New York cheesecake we are used to, Japan’s version of it is soft and light. It tastes and feels like a combination of cheesecake and sponge cake. Even non-dessert lovers would like this because it’s not too sweet.
But of course, it’s not just Pablo that offers the fluffy, heavenly, and delicious Japanese cheesecake. Other Japanese cafés have their own version of the dessert, and they’re all worth a try.
Must-Try: Pablo Cheese Tart, Uncle Tetsu Cheese Cake, Yamato Bakery Café, Kumori, Green Cheese
Take your usual milkshake, put it in a pretty mason jar, top it with pretzels, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cookies, candies, and all the imaginable sweets you can think of, and you have in your hands a monster milkshake.
It’s bad for your health, and a single serving of a monster milkshake can contain up to eight days’ worth of sugar. But it looks and tastes sinfully good, and it will probably take a lot of sheer power not to order it once seeing it on the menu. No matter how bad it may be for your health, numerous cafés are now offering this over-the-top dessert. You can call it outrageous, but we’ll definitely see more of this crazy food fad.
Must-Try: Amo Yamie Crib, Diner on 16th, Kumori, The Lost Bread, Scout’s Honor, Crisp on 28th, Milkbox, Sweet Nothing
Ube (purple yam) has been ever present in Filipino gatherings since time immemorial, but now, it doesn’t just grace the dining table in every Noche Buena or town fiesta. It was predicted to be one of the food fads of 2016, and it’s not just in the Philippines that our local pride is finding its way in cafés and restaurants stylized as a classy dessert.
This is not surprising, though, because ube-flavored anything almost always tastes good. From ube ice cream to ube roll cakes, we can now have a taste of ube pancakes and even ube lattes.
Must-Try: Honest Ube Cake at Wildflour Cafe + Bakery, Ube Mille Crepe at Craft Coffee Greenhills, Purple Potato Latte at Subspace Coffee House, Ube Tres Leche at Kabila Filipino Bistro
5Cold Brew Coffee
It was in 2015 when cold brew coffee started popping up in cafés around the metro, but it was only this year that more and more cafés welcomed this yummy invention on their inventory. While some people love their coffee piping hot, some prefer it chilled. Cold brew coffee is different from your typical caffeine fix as the process it went through toned down the bitterness and acidity.
Coffee chains are now carrying their own take on the product. Specialty coffee shops are, of course, joining in on one of the biggest food fads of the year.
Must-Try: Starbucks Reserve, Yardstick Coffee, Toby’s Estate, Magnum Opus Fine Coffees, Iskoffee
Aside from Descendants of the Sun and Train to Busan overtaking our Facebook timelines this year, South Korea’s bingsoo also has a sudden rise in popularity. Bingsoo is a Korean shaved ice dessert reminiscent of halo-halo, but with a more conservative amount of sweet toppings and finer shaved ice. Usually, it’s topped with condensed milk, fruit syrup, seasonal fruits, or azuki beans.
Aside from Korea’s bingsoo, it’s Asian cousins like the snow ice from Taiwan and the kakigori from Japan are making waves in the local coffee shop scene, too.
Must-Try: Caffe Bene, Café Seolhwa Bingsu, Ice Flower Café, Magpie Café, Hobing Korean Dessert Café, Ikigai Kakigori Café, Noonsaram Korean Dessert Café, Seol and Bean
It’s about time itlog na maalat (salted egg) takes the culinary center stage. Paired with just plain tomatoes or mixed in with ensaladang mangga, salted egg has that special charm that makes every dish taste better.
No wonder salted egg chips are so addicting. You won’t be able to stop yourself from devouring more than one bag! Local restaurants have found a way to highlight this flavor on their menus as well. From shrimps to pasta to chicken, 2016 is all about salted-egg-flavored everything. To know where to get your fix of this addicting craze, check out our salted egg foodie guide.
Must-Try: Salted Egg Pasta at Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza, Salty Eggsperience at The Shrimp Bucket, Salted Egg Fried Chicken at Wangfu Chinese Bistro
Filipinos are definitely one of the biggest foodies, so it’s only natural that food parks would have an awakening in the country. In fact, it’s even surprising that it took this long for the trend to rise. It’s obviously one of the biggest food fads this year because it takes more than two hands to count the number of food parks that opened in 2016.
We no longer have to wait for a Mercato or Banchetto night to have a full foodie experience, jumping from one booth to another and trying everything. There’s now a food park in every major foodie spot in the metro. It won’t be reaching to say that we can only expect more of these gastronomic parks to open next year.
Must-Try: The Yard at Xavierville, Gastropark in Kapitolyo, Adventure Food Park at Aurora Blvd., Pazar Food Park in Fairview, StrEat: Maginhawa Food Park
It’s difficult to foresee what’s in store for the local food scene in 2017, but we’re happy to think that the food fads of 2016 will carry over to the next year. Thankfully so, because we’re not yet ready to say goodbye to outrageous desserts and laidback food parks.