Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By robcorliss
May 23, 2023

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Asian flavors captivate consumer imagination with new global flavor discovery. Chefs wanting to elevate flavor experiences can look to Asian-style pork skewers as a jumping off point for inspiration.

Here, we utilize fresh pork’s blank canvas (ground, sliced, cubed) as the featured ingredient for culinary creativity with skewer-style creations, zeroing in on seven areas where Asian influences produce next-level, on-trend tastes that generate menu excitement.



Glazing or spritzing a pork skewer during cooking, with trend-forward Asian profiles, produces a caramelized, textured stickiness—along with enticing hues and charred bits—which create delectable, heightened mouthfeel.

  • Tamarind + galangal + turmeric + orange juice + fish sauce + honey glaze
  • Okinawan black sugar + soy sauce-caramel glaze
  • Tropical fruit-gastrique spritz



Rolling a cooked pork skewer in a signature Asian-infused dry spice blend imparts an immediate pop of external flavor to complement every succulent savory bite.

  • Star anise + cinnamon + clove + coriander + cracked black pepper + dried scallion
  • Matcha sea salt + black sesame seeds + red chile
  • Black garlic + onion + Sichuan peppercorns + sugar + flaked salt



Applying a housemade Asian-centric schmear to one side of the pork skewer right before service creates an impactful and highly visual punch of flavor.

  • Togarashi Gremolata (cilantro, shiso leaf, lime zest, gingerroot, togarashi, oil)
  • Malay “Romesco” (red chiles, roasted tomato, garlic, roasted peanuts, ginger, lemongrass, pandan, mirin, oil)
  • Thai Chermoula (Thai basil, mint, cilantro, lime, coconut flakes, chili paste, shallot, cumin, salt, oil)



Basting a pork skewer during cooking with bold Asian-flavored whipped butter (or unsweetened coconut cream) creates nuanced, rich flavors ideal for complementing pork’s versatility.

  • Sriracha + yuzu + butter
  • Sambal oelek + kaya + butter
  • Miso + coconut sugar + butter



Accentuate patrons’ love of pork further with a distinctive Asian-flavored dipping sauce that evokes a memorable pork skewer experience.

  • Spicy peanut sauce
  • Gochujang barbecue sauce
  • Soju tare sauce



Utilizing a natural element with Asian cues as the skewer or serving vessel imparts subtle flavor into the pork and can communicate ancillary story lines.

  • Lemongrass or sugar cane stalk skewer
  • Bamboo skewer
  • Banana leaf as a handheld serving vessel



Imparting identifiable flavor on a pork skewer via specific cooking materials/surfaces provides an additional way to shape flavor and story from various Asian regions.

  • Binchotan charcoal (authentic Japanese)—known for thermal conductivity, low smoke point, long burn and odorless smoke
  • Thaan charcoal (Thai)—budget- and environmentally friendly
  • Konro grill (Japanese)—ceramic grill with wire rack

FEATURED RECIPE: Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Sausage Skewers

Photo Credit: Smithfield Culinary

In these Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Sausage Skewers, a few simple moves take smoked sausage into the Southeast Asian trend. A nuoc mam dipping sauce introduces funky, spicy and sweet flavors.

Get the recipe



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