It’s that time of year when trend experts look into their crystal balls and predict what we’re going to eat over the next 12 months.
Will candy bars go out of fashion and be replaced by dehydrated carrots? Probably not.
Or will restaurant front desk staff be replaced by robots? Hopefully not for at least 10 years.
Trend experts from Food People and Waitrose have come up with some ideas for the biggest food trends of 2022 and here’s how you can try them out in Wales.
Read more: The restaurants of Wales recommended in the Michelin Guide
Seaweed has been hailed as one of the next big ingredients because it is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including iodine and vitamin B12, as well as a source of protein and polyunsaturated fat.
A great way to incorporate seaweed into your diet is to make a traditional Welsh breakfast with lots of white bread. Alternatively, the Pembrokeshire Beach Food company produces a range of unique forage seaweed products, including Welsh Seaweed Butter, Seaweed Pesto, and Seaweed Kelp.
2. Mexican cuisine
From ancho and guajillo peppers to birria and al pastor tacos, people are becoming aware of the great variety and complexity of Mexican cuisine.
In Barry, Bab Haus Mex serves some of the best Mexican street food in Wales. Dishes on offer include prime rib smoked for 18 hours and beef cheek birria tacos. Reminiscent of a quesadilla, they’re absolutely stuffed with shreds of intensely smoked meat, golden rind cheese, tangy sour cream, and punchy salsa roja.
3. Meat reduction
It is undeniable that reducing our meat consumption will only become more important. In fact, a recent study found that the amount of meat consumed in the UK has declined by almost a fifth over the past decade.
Fortunately, the growing range of plant-based food options on offer means that reducing our meat intake has never been easier. Take, for example, In Cafe in Cardiff which serves incredible vegan crispy chili beef or Nonna’s Deliciously Different in Swansea Market which makes indulgent vegan donuts and waffles. There are tons of places to try in Swansea and Cardiff.
4. Lose the formality
Sure, people love to go out for a fancy meal, but the sweltering formality of fine dining quickly falls out of favor. Who wants to speak in a low voice and feel pressured to put on a stylish jacket?
Among those bringing an informal attitude to high-end cuisine was Cardiff’s Lee Skeet, whose pop-up restaurant 40 Days, 40 Nights was accompanied by a hip-hop soundtrack. At the Michelin-starred Ynyshir near Machynlleth, Gareth Ward has a philosophy of ‘fun dining, not fine dining’.
5. Korean cuisine
Cult TV shows like Squid Game and global superstar groups like BTS have made Korean culture more and more mainstream in the UK.
If you want to experience delicious Korean cuisine, head to award-winning Janet’s at Pontypridd Market or Cardiff’s Kimchi. Alternatively, if you want to try cooking your own beef bulgogi or Korean fried chicken, check out the Welsh food blogger’s collection of recipes. Korean food Cardiff.
There is nothing quite like taking a trip down memory lane to relive the experiences of your childhood, whether that is taking a trip to Oakwood or watching a reboot of the Karate Kid.
This of course extends to food and drink. NQ64, a retro-gaming bar where you can play Pac Man and Mario Kart, opened in Cardiff in November. Plus, Cardiff Market Franks Hot Dogs serve deliciously retro free-range Frankfurters with a wide range of toppings.
7. TikTok Recipes
Social media continues to have a huge influence on what younger generations choose to eat, with TikTok and Instagram being a major source of culinary inspiration.
Videos of TikTok recipes like tortillas, feta pasta, and pesto eggs have become global sensations over the past 12 months. Why not have fun with the kids and try the next big trend in TikTok recipes?
8. Sustainable restoration
With the planet’s climate crisis becoming an increasingly hot topic (no pun intended), the hospitality industry is setting up initiatives to try to become sustainable.
Pale Hall, a luxury hotel and restaurant in Denbighshire, has been awarded a Michelin Green Star as it is powered by its own hydroelectric power station and much of the restaurant’s produce is locally sourced. In Monmouthshire, The Whitebrook has phased out single-use plastics in the kitchen and is composting all of its food waste.
9. Flame Food
Naturally, with all the extra time we’ve spent at home over the past few years, one in five households has invested in a new barbecue during the lockdown, according to Waitrose.
So you might as well put this barbecue to good use by purchasing some top quality meat to go for it. In the Gower Meat Matters are at the forefront of Welsh butcher’s shop and their meat sells out in minutes. They feature beef from retired Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire dairy cows with cuts that include brisket, bone-in ribs and bone marrow canoes.
If you can’t bother to fire up your own barbecue, the Cardiff Kindle has an entire menu of open-fire food.
10. Flavors of the Middle East
People adore food that is colorful and full of Middle Eastern spices – from puffy flatbreads and fruity chili sauce to pittas stuffed with heartwarming shakshuka and falafel.
There are great examples to be enjoyed in Wales, from the gorgeous Turkish brunches at Longa on Whitchurch Road in Cardiff to the steakhouses on City Road including Saray, Amo’s and Shaam Nights.
If you want to receive the latest food and drink news, reviews, events and interviews straight to your inbox, sign up for our weekly food and drink newsletter here.