Thai food has been marginally trendy from coast to coast for decades, but these flavors have never been major influencers to the wider industry. Is 2016 the year this producecentric, bold-flavored cuisine rises in the ranks? Many predict that this is the breakout year for Thai-style preparations and sauces.
- The high notes in this cuisine tend to be either sweet and/or spicy. Think the boba tea craze, refreshing yet- fiery shaved papaya salads, and sweet/garlicky chili pastes.
- Fish sauce is one of the perfect forms of umami—a taste diners can’t seem to get enough of. Chefs are even using it in non-Thai preparations to add salty/ meaty-like notes to dips and gravies
- Creamy coconut milk allows chefs to serve vegan- and vegetarian-friendly dishes without cream. Produce items that pair well with this sweet, tropical flavor include bell peppers, bok choy, eggplant, Kabocha squash, pineapple chunks, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
- The strong presence of ginger, lemongrass, lime juice, and lime leaf adds balance to the hotter notes of chile peppers, garlic, and onions—together these unique combinations add dimension to beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables.
- Even when authentic Thai recipes don’t match the theme of menus, many chefs are borrowing the craveable ingredient combinations,creating new and exciting dishes.