New food trends are constantly emerging around the globe. We went in search of the most exciting developments and found five strong food trends for 2021, which we would like to present to you. Today: #4 Japan reloaded.
The liberation of French haute cuisine from its traditional butter ballast has a lot to do with the benefits of Japanese cuisine. The concrete trigger was the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, for which top French chefs made several guest appearances in Japan. But instead of lessons in gastronomy, an unexpected culinary love affair with the opening country of the rising sun was unleashed. Michelin-starred chef Pierre Troisgros, for example, realized at the time that turbot can also be cooked to tenderness in just a few minutes. The instructive trip to the Far East left deep traces. A few years later, his restaurant was named the best in the world.
Initially, only the sushi concept made its way into everyday Western gastronomy. Since then, the inexhaustible variety of Japanese cuisine has spread to us. The myth is driven by the fact that the Japanese have a life expectancy several years higher than ours, partly due to their low-fat, low-calorie diet.
In the Healthy Food Age, interest is likely to reach a new peak this year, as the Olympic Games will return to Tokyo in July 2021. This time, however, it doesn’t catch us quite so unprepared, as Japanese kitchen classics have already conquered European gourmets. Mochis, small glutinous rice cakes filled with red bean paste (or ice cream!) have become a typical dessert for New Year’s Day. As a ready-made product, you can find them everywhere in retail stores, although they taste incomparably better homemade. Okonomiyaki is the name of the Japanese concept for a juicy cross between a pancake, a frittata, and a pizza with vegetables and okonomi sauce. In Germany, Stevan Paul introduced the dish, and now Tim Mälzer also lists it on his menu. Furikake is refined seaweed-miso-sesame-caramel crumbs, usually dressed with dried shrimp and smoked bonito flakes. The crunchy sprinkle seasoning is a perfect veggie booster but also pairs perfectly with rice and soba noodles or yakitori skewers.
So we’ll take any bet that the love affair with Japanese cuisine will continue this year. So long as the games don’t have to be postponed again due to the pandemic.
Hans Gerlach is an experienced chef, renowned food photographer, and successful food author. As a columnist, he works for the Süddeutsche Zeitung magazine, among others. One of the Munich native’s specialties is lovingly crafted stop-motion food films.