Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
February 9, 2023

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Porridge is a comforting dish gaining broader traction on breakfast menus, thanks to inspired, modern offerings. Key factors driving the trend are Southeast Asian flavors, the appeal of healthful breakfast bowls and a consumer appreciation for new experiences.

Two standouts today are oatmeal and Asian congee. Both provide a canvas for flavor building. The comforting allure lies in constructing a naturally creamy mouthfeel paired with textural contrasts and doctored with flavor infusions from innumerable toppings. Experiment with grains (cuts of oats, rice varieties, fonio, barley, farro, sorghum, corn, or blends thereof), dip into savory porridge, or expand current breakfast bowls by moving dinner flavors into breakfast. Maya Congee Café in Brooklyn, N.Y., menus a great example with its Pork Congee: a rice porridge blend of jasmine rice, quinoa, brown rice and dates, all slow cooked in ginger, garlic and jalapeños.

Here are 10 fresh takes to inspire your operation’s menu development and make a statement with deeply rich, warming flavors.



Hot or cold, oatmeal transforms from basic to irresistible with trending Asian ingredients, especially with spiced and savory flavors.

  • Overnight Matcha Bubble Oats: Chilled rolled oats + coconut milk + matcha + honey-gingered black tapioca pearls (topper)
  • Savory Sunrise Oatmeal: Hot rolled oats (chicken bone broth) + scrambled eggs + thick soy sauce drizzle + furikake sprinkle
  • Hot Honey Ube Oatmeal: Hot steel-cut oats + ube powder + fresh blueberries + gochujang-honey drizzle
  • Flossed Apple Oatmeal: Hot rolled oats + sautéed Chinese five-spice-brown sugar apples + pork floss
  • Red Eye Oatmeal: Hot rolled oats + shaved griddled ham steak + Chinese red bean (paste) red eye gravy + black sesame seeds


Congee serves up a wonderful (and warm) foundation for introducing Asian stylings and adapting American breakfast flavors, providing an easy way to blend contemporary with traditional.

  • Bacon and Egg Porridge: Red rice congee + crispy chopped smoked bacon + poached egg + chile crunch + deep-fried maple dough strips on the side
  • Forbidden Steak and Egg Porridge: Forbidden rice congee + chopped peppered sirloin steak + fried egg + crispy shallots
  • Biscuit Porridge Pot Pie: Roasted long-grain rice congee + breakfast sausage crumbles + grated white cheddar + golden biscuit top
  • Loco Moco Porridge: Short-grain white rice and garlic congee + grilled hamburger chunks + brown gravy + fried egg
  • Spicy Butternut Porridge: Jasmine rice congee + cubed roasted butternut squash + seared ground chorizo

FEATURED RECIPE: Brunch Fried Rice

Credit: Smithfield Culinary

While congee is finding its way onto menus, fried rice is more familiar to American diners. This Brunch Fried Rice transforms the classic dish into a breakfast item with the addition of Smithfield Breakfast Sausage. Sambal, tamari, ginger and garlic keep the flavors big and bold.

GET THE RECIPE FOR Brunch Fried Rice

About The Author

Rob Corliss

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.