Flavor & The Menu current issue
Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By robcorliss
May 23, 2023

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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