Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Rice Trend Insights Insights into the rice trend from our panel of experts

PHOTO CREDIT: Robert Danhi

This low-cost grain can easily become a center-of-the-plate star to capture the most value. Here are a few easy global adaptations:

  • Global fried rice can be a platform with flavor profiles and rice varieties that go far beyond the Chinese standard.
  • Rice balls: The Loco Moco Ball (pictured above) served at Hawaiian Fresh Farms on Oahu is an innovative version ready for customization.
  • Crispy rice: For multi-dimensional flavor, try a crispy rice salad with lime, ginger and charred peanuts. Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas serves one of the best versions I’ve tasted.
  • New hybrids like the Thai riceberry are more tender and versatile in recipes. Try a crispy Thai riceberry salad with sausage, charred peanuts, ginger, Thai fish sauce-lime dressing.

Robert Danhi

To boost craveability in rice, sauté the grains with aromatics before adding flavorful liquid—it will up the entire flavor of the dish. Play off of the varying textures of rice by serving the dish in its cooking vessel, allowing the bottom grains to crisp and caramelize.
Charlie Baggs

Rice Reimagined – fueled by a number of significant drivers, chefs are taking rice to the next level, making it one of our top 10 flavor trends for 2019.

The rebirth of rice is a continuation of knowing food origins and the desire to enjoy what is known in a new way. As jasmine and basmati have become mainstream, we are now turning to black pearl rice, Wehani, red rice and rice blends. Rice bowls are the perfect canvas for any chef’s creativity.
Bev Shaffer

The expansion of gluten-free options in dining, along with the consumer’s eagerness to explore ancient and heirloom grains, are two drivers of this trend.
Rosalyn Darling

Replacing the water with coconut milk or a rich broth can transform a long-grain or jasmine rice to a flavorful side dish of its own. New formats like puffed rice expand applications for crunchy salad additions and breakfast options.
Chris Casson

Chefs know that rice is both a stable platform for flavor and can satiate the appetite. Looking forward, expect to see an increased interest in specific rice varieties, blends and even the infusion of flavor into the rice itself, rather than just on it.
Mike Buononato

From the Jan/Feb 2019 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.



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