Your 2017 Food Bucket List: Tastes to Try and Where to Buy
February 15, 2017

Your 2017 Food Bucket List: Tastes to Try and Where to Buy

By: Amy Fuentes, 
Fresno Food Expo Manager

From chicken and doughnuts to black bean noodles, 2017 is packing some punch with some fun food trends!

In 2016 gigantic ice cream creations called freakshakes ascended upon us from Australia, poke bowls made their way over from Hawaii, and sweet potato toast exploded on Instagram. Every year comes with exciting food trends to try and we’re already confident that 2017 will not disappoint.

While food trends pop up in different places all over the country, you can enjoy some of 2017’s tastiest food movements in Central California at local restaurants and fast, casual eateries. That being said, some you’ll have to travel for.

Even if you’ve already made (and broke!) a few New Year’s resolutions, it’s not too late to add these dishes to your 2017 bucket list:

1.     Korean inspired flavors
Have you tried bibimbap or kimchi yet? Korean inspired dishes have officially taken fast-casual and America’s restaurant scene by storm. A perfect example is California chain Koja Kitchen (now open in Fresno!) that offers Korean and Japanese fusion inspired dishes such as the chicken bowl with Korean barbeque chicken, kimchi, and spicy gochujang sauce.

The franchise started out as a food truck in 2011 that was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Now, it has a handful of brick and mortar locations in San Francisco, San Jose, and their newest location in Fresno, among others.

Manna Korean Cuisine in Turlock, dubbed the “best Korean Place in all of Northern California,” according to their yelp reviews, serves up Cucumber Kimchi and Beef Bulgogi that are said to be divine.

2.     Thai Rolled Ice Cream
Rolled ice cream is a popular treat in Thailand that started making an appearance in the states in 2015. The novelties of rolled ice cream lie in watching it being made and, of course, loading it with fresh fruit and cereal toppings. You may have seen photos and videos showing the process on social media, but basically, a creamy, liquid base is poured on a freezing cold metal surface (some places use dry ice to chill the surface, others run coolant underneath that plunges the temperature well below zero). It’s then manipulated and spread into a thin layer with sharp spatulas until solid enough to roll into cylinders.

The solid ice cream rolls are packed tightly into a cup and are then topped with various goodies. Rolled ice cream comes in traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla, but if you have the chance to try it, go for the green tea, Thai Tea, or mango. Rolled ice cream will probably become the next froyo, and we’re sure you’ll start to see it everywhere this year.

While we are still out and searching for a Thai rolled ice cream shop in the San Joaquin Valley, if you don’t mind taking a day trip, you can enjoy delicious Thai rolled ice cream at Icicles in San Jose.

3.     Doughnut Sandwiches
Over the last few years, one of the biggest trends in the foodie world has been the mashup of sometimes obvious, sometimes outrageous food combinations. Who said doughnuts can’t pair with fried chicken? If you ever find yourself in Washington, D.C., make sure to stop in Astro Donuts to indulge in a fried chicken doughnut sandwich (right). Yes, you read that right.

This trend seems like a natural evolution of southern-inspired chicken and waffles. Fried chicken’s moment is far from over, so we should definitely expect to see more creative takes on the comfort meal popping up all over the country.

Another notable fried chicken and doughnut spot is Streetcar Merchants in San Diego. They offer hot Nashville chicken (and only use free range chicken from our very own Mary’s Chickens) on a cinnamon sugar donut and more. Are you drooling yet? We are.

4.     Veggies as the Main Event
There’s no doubt about it, veggies have completed the transition from opening act to main event in restaurants all over the country. If you haven’t tried veggies as an entree yet, 2017 is the year to cross it off your food bucket list. Take for example, Rappit Up, a vegetarian food company ramping up here in Fresno. Owner, Janna Melkonian, who was raised a vegetarian, uses seasonal vegetables and homemade sauces to combine flavor, texture, color and nutrition in her offerings, which include an assortment of yummy tortilla wraps, rice bowls and salads. And let’s not forget about Loving Hut in Fresno for Asian-inspired vegan meals.

But veggies don’t stop there. Veggie “butcher” shops are opening up all around the nation, like The Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis and The Butcher’s Son in Berkeley, CA. Their menus feature “meat free meats” and cuts of beef made completely out of vegetables.

Finally, high quality vegetables are getting the attention they deserve. And don’t be surprised if you see kale being pushed to the side to make way for jackfruit, cauliflower, and seaweed—new “veggielutions” are happening!

5.     Boutique Sandwiches
Everyone loves a good BLT or a classic grilled cheese, but lately, things are starting to stir up in the sandwich world. Gone are the days of ham and American cheese on Wonder bread. Instead, artisanal sandwiches are sweeping the country. Sandwiches topped with remoulades, aioli, fruits, and new flavors are all the rage.

If you’re craving something between bread, head out to try one of these creations in the San Joaquin Valley:

  • The Mo-Town Philly at Crave Sandwiches in Modesto: Tender beef sirloin roasted and topped with onions and mushrooms, topped with blue cheese crumbles on flatbread with roasted garlic aioli
  • The Big Dipper at Sequoia Sandwich Company in Fresno: Tender roast beef and turkey, melted Swiss and cheddar on a soft grilled roll with a side of hot au jus for dipping.
  • The California Heartland from Fiori’s Deli in Lodi: Roasted turkey, artichoke marinade mix, provolone cheese, tomato, and sprouts or romaine on fresh baked herb focaccia.
  • Parma Prosciutto Sandwich from Luigi’s in Bakersfield: Prosciutto, Roasted Red Peppers, Fontina Cheese, Olive & Vinegar.

6.     Filipino Cuisine
We’ll probably never get tired of more varieties of Asian cuisines showing up in America’s restaurants, and, according to experts, we’ll start to see more Filipino dishes and restaurants this coming year.

Filipino cuisine has a mix of Chinese, Spanish, and Mexican influences. Popular dishes include garlic rice, lumpia rolls, pork belly cooked in adobo, and purple yams known as ube. Cross Filipino food off your bucket list by stopping by Moms Kitchen in Porterville, Papa Urb’s Grill in Stockton or Tracy, or if you’re craving something sweet, check out Fil Bake Shop in Delano.

Food trends are constantly evolving, and, luckily, this year is already proving to bring some promising creations and creative, delectable delights to the table. And whether you’re on the hunt for the next new trend, or just browsing for a good meal in the San Joaquin Valley, connect with us on social for all of the latest foodie news.

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