Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




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I was in Japan this year, and the two dishes that made the biggest impression on me were hiyashi chuka (cold ramen) and zaru soba (chilled soba noodles with dipping sauce). In the sweltering heat and humidity of Japan’s high summer, these chilled dishes really hit the spot!

The cold ramen broth was perfectly clarified, with a touch of vinegar and served with traditional ramen accompaniments. The soba noodles were the epitome of perfected simplicity—chewy and not starchy nor sticky—while the dipping sauce offered the balanced, nuanced flavors of fortified dashi, soy sauce, mirin and sake. The zaru soba was the most memorable dish of my trip, capturing the philosophical essence of Japanese cuisine: quality ingredients, tightly focused execution and harmony of flavors. It was mind-blowingly good.

—Quinn Adkins, former Director of Menu Development, Culver Franchising System, based in Prairie du Sac, Wis.

In the second half of a two-part Flavor Discovery series, chefs share unique ingredients and concepts inspiring their culinary creativity.

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