Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu Contributors
January 13, 2021

I love the idea of leveraging Chinese ingredients in new ways—soy sauce or hoisin used as a marinade for proteins instead of a traditional salt brine in barbecue, or classic sandwich builds leaning into Chinese sauces to drive umami in unexpected ways.

There is already an established acceptance of Chinese-American fare. It is authentic in its inauthenticity, as consumers have fallen in love with these interpreted flavors. The affinity lies in these items being relatable, recognizable and non-polarizing. Consider looking at Chinese-American offerings through a comfort lens versus a more cutting-edge approach. The strategy of amplifying comfort in global mash-ups is a smart play for operators in today’s landscape.

This trend gives U.S. chefs more permission to explore the savory pancake revolution that began with the jianbing. From crêpes and pancakes to waffles, quickbreads and steamed buns of all varieties, tying comfort baking
to comfort Chinese is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

With the recent shift to off-premise dining/takeout, one of the most recognizable global cuisines across the U.S. is Chinese food. Leverage the familiarity and popularity of this cuisine by layering it on other favorite formats, including waffles, burgers and wings.