By Rob Corliss
April 4, 2023
Bar snacks make a crucial impression, serving up sociable fun to all hours of dining, delivering signature flavor experiences and working in concert with cold beverages. A look across the modern foodservice landscape reveals how chefs are packing a fiery punch, pairing it with comforting warm intensity, across a range of trend-forward bar snacks.
Here are four strategic approaches that harness the power of heat, transforming bar snacks into signature menu must-haves.
Classic snacks redefined with distinctive heat and spice never go out of style.
- Candied Kettle Corn: Brisket burnt ends, togarashi, sea salt — Loro, Houston
- Pork & Collard Spring Rolls, served with blackberry-habanero barbecue sauce — Local Cue, Greenville, S.C.
- Not Your Mom’s Popcorn: Fresh popped kernels with either garlic and Parmesan, hot and spicy or lemon cayenne — Legends, Long Beach, Calif.
- Flaming Elote Fries: Cotija cheese, sautéed corn kernels, Parm/garlic powder, lime crema, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, over french fries — Bar Code Burgers, Las Vegas
2 THINK YOUNG
Plant-centric snacks infused with heat-centric modern touches appeal to younger consumers.
- Tempura Kimchi, served with chipotle aïoli dipping sauce — Shaku Bar, Portland, Ore.
- Nashville Hot Cauliflower: Chicken-fried cauliflower, hot honey sauce, pickle dip — Alley Twenty Six, Durham, N.C.
- Za ‘atar Roasted Squash: Labneh, pomegranate, jalapeño-herb oil — Plum, Portland, Ore.
- Kabocha Pumpkin Tempura with vadouvan curry, Serrano ponzu, yuzu aïoli — Hazie’s, San Francisco
3 GO GLOBAL
Satiating snacks enriched by bold global heat stylings offer new flavor adventure.
- Whipped Feta: Hatch chile harissa, house everything spice, grilled bread — Lulu’s Wine Garden, Washington, D.C.
- Iberico Ham Croquettes with harissa aïoli — Fire At Will, Scottsdale, Ariz.
- Jalapeño-Bacon Wrapped Dates: Blue cheese-stuffed, Calabrian chile relish, whole grain mostarda — Elm City Social, New Haven, Conn.
- Arancini with avocado crema, togarashi, dashi — Scotch Lodge, Portland, Ore.
4 RAISE EXPECTATIONS
Seafood and meat snacks enveloped with substantial heat offer premium, memorable experiences.
- Jumbo Tiger Shrimp: Three jumbo lemon-herb poached shrimp, wasabi cho-gochujang — Karne Korean Steakhouse, Houston
- Korean Sticky Pork Ribs with a sticky glaze, Thai chiles, Serrano peppers, sesame, toasted coconut shavings — Bostonia Public House, Boston
- Sichuan Hot Chicken on Taiwanese Buns with mala spice, scallion salad, “tiger” aïoli — Pig and Tiger, Boulder, Colo.
From the 2023 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & The Menu, for chefs and menu developers. Read full issue online.