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Culinary Predictions for 2019

What our tables have in store


By Gene Gonzales

Every year I am asked to give my culinary predictions for the next year on the general feel of our gastronomic environment in the year to come and what world trends will be adopted by the eating public and foodies in our country.

With the presence of K-pop and Korean teleseryes, the Korean presence was very strong the past years to the point where samgyupsal and bulgogi fever was the choice of the dining public and the Millennial market. This was rather timely as our Scoville or heat tolerance to chili and peppers are ever increasing as a nation. The burn associated with eating kimchi and food laden with gochuchang and semi-dry chili flakes seem to be an ordinary level of chili heat now.

Worldwide we already perceive a trend of mixing chilies especially in dried form with Szechuan peppercorns that is prevalently mainland Chinese. Mala and hotpot flavors with their light toasty, smokey characters together with the floral and fragrant wood characters of Szechuan peppercorns a.k.a. prickly ash or fagara will dominate noodle, meat, and even junk food flavors.

There is that Korean presence now but because Japan also did its strategies as a boost for tourism, a renewed burst of interest came not only through the ramen craze (that has trickled down to the mass market) but also to the traveler, and to the country’s penchance for quality. Differences can be seen in their meats, though the Wagyu breed may be an expression of technique emanating from different areas and islands.


Aside from their meats appearing on Western style recipes, Japanese techniques and styles on pastry such as cheesecakes and rich flavored pastries are being adopted by many chefs who, in one way or the other, may possess or aspire to own a handmade Japanese knife. Confections from the different Kitkat variants, to Nama chocolates, and new styles of nutraceutical candies and gums such as those that prevent dementia will also become popular.

Other new things to discover are the wines that follow a good standard of quality such as the whiskies that became so popular during the early 21st century and have now become spirits for collectors, especially the dated ones that now have prohibitive prices. I have sampled an absolutely delicious Rose made from their native kyoho grape.

The finest examples of artisanal methods were displayed in their late harvest and ice wine styles. The fruit and botrytis characters made these dessert wines world class. These just have to be paired with not only Japanese desserts but it can also be employed in a lot of Western and Asian food pairings. The Japanese example of their kombini stores was a decent meal or palatable snacks that gave dignity to the person who needed inexpensive food during breaks or when the working staff had to go back home.This will be a challenge to our own convenience stores that serve sterile, probably cardboard tasting fare.

Another cuisine that will stand out over the different Chinese regional cuisines will be Taiwanese. Taiwan, which spurred the milk tea concept, will themselves be surprised at the developments of milk tea. Aside from desserts that you can drink, milk tea will go beyond just the normal floaters of chewy black pearls and nata de coco but will have more variants such as rice noodles, mini mochis, chewy agar, and starch gels.


Delicate aerated textures such as souffles and fluffy, airy pancakes, and cakes will come in to the scene. Fruit shakes that are stabilized and acquire sorbet consistency will enter the scene.

Texture has a lot to do with taste and a lot of chocolate lovers will take a second look at milk or creamy chocolate.

In fact, some companies in the past decade started with limited versions of dark milk chocolate. Now that flavor has been well-improved by research and technology, texture has become a next concern to those that expect true chocolate smoothness.

A revision of all manuals or sources for chocolate knowledge will come as science has genetically discovered at least 10 strains of chocolate from the existing three varieties that are published.This means more interesting tastings and more single origin variations for chocolate available worldwide.

By mid to the end of 2019, more exotic fruits will be available as provided by small growers. Fresh fruits like figs, peanut butter fruit, abiu, gumihan, mamey, exotic bananas, cempedak, and cape gooseberries, mentioning only a few of what are being grown nowadays.

In terms of beverage, people will also take a second look at white wines ,although red will always be most preferred.

Many of the fragrant Rieslings, Gewurtztraminers, and Sauvignon blancs that pair well with Asian cooking
will be favored among the whites.

For Filipino food, lechon fever will start midyear on the national scene and by year end will invade the foreign markets. Lechon products will also hit it big.

Whatever trends there may be for the coming year, let us hope for more blessings and pleasure on our tables. Have a delicious 2019!

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