The flavors of Southeast Asia may be the latest flavor infusion chefs and restaurant operators have been looking for. Thai and Vietnamese cuisine have become popular, but Malaysia’s and the Philippines’ influence is growing as well.
Malaysian and other Southeast Asian cuisine is a top three trending flavor for 2014 according to the National Restaurant Association. In fact, in the Asian grocery category, dollar sales increased 10.2% from 2010 to 2012. The flavor is here to stay.
Malaysian cuisine’s growing popularity should be of little surprise as it features many of the same aromas, from ginger to citrus, U.S. diners have grown accustomed to. Spices like turmeric, cumin and coriander bring a strong flavor to dishes without being too spicy.
This emergent trend is entering a marketplace of consumers hungry for more exotic and fringe cuisines. These customers are embracing more unique and diverse flavor profiles, which offer businesses the opportunity to stand out with something unexpected. Restaurants in New York and Chicago have started to embrace the trend by providing Malaysian and even Filipino cuisine to customers. Early adopters in other markets have a chance to get ahead of their competitors.
These increasingly popular flavors do not require a menu overhaul. Recipes such as Mini Grilled Chicken and Red Pepper Skewers or Salmon Teriyaki with Sesame Scallion Soba Noodles allow you to stay true to what works today, while preparing for the expanding menu of tomorrow.