Last year, the F&B industry (and our social media feed) was dominated by mango floats, tin can cakes, Korean barbecue, and everything-milk tea. But food trends inevitably shifted as new concepts emerged and reappeared on menus and on our social media feeds.
Let’s look back at this year’s food trends, shall we?
It’s no surprise to anyone that ube is on the list, a big surprise is if it wasn’t included. It’s everyone’s favorite, and understandably so, it has deliciously sweet and earthy flavors accompanied often by a vibrant purple hue. This year we were graced by the comeback of Conti’s Ube Leche Flan Custard cake, Sebastian’s Ice Cream’s Ube Leche Flan Torte, Peach Boy’s Ube Lava Pancakes, 7-Eleven’s Ube Champorado, and Bellefleur’s Ube Tiramisu, just to name a few.
Cookies (lots and lots of it!)
Desserts with flavors from our childhood candies
Filipinos love sweet things, perhaps because it reminds them of a very sweet childhood. It’s no wonder that turning childhood candies into treats such as ice cream and smoothies quickly picked up. This year, we got to sample soft serve ice cream with flavors such as White Rabbit, Haw-Haw, Peter’s Butter Ball, and Choc-nut. M Bakery even released a limited edition Choc-nut banana pudding. Haw-haw flavor was also made available as a milkshake. If you’re looking for easily-accessible and extremely affordable candy-flavored shakes though, Ministop often offers a different-flavored shake ranging from Cloud Nine to Dynamite.
Did you also notice spongecake shops opened left and right? There’s Ah Mah, Grand Castella, and Jim’s Recipe that all opened this year. You can’t go wrong with these fluffy a la mamon cakes, especially when they are fluffy, tasty, melt in the mouth, and freshly baked on a daily basis.
Japanese Souffle Pancakes
Japanese fluffy pancakes are made of a souffle batter, producing thick but light, fluffy, jiggly pancakes like no other. It’s long been a classic in Japan, but it’s finally reached our shores. Japan’s Gram Café & Pancakes is opening in the Philippines soon, and Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory is soon opening a cafe serving the popular treats.
Brown Sugar Milk Tea
The milk tea trend has significantly quieted down, but it’s not quite the end. Brown Sugar Milk Tea, some iterations even omit the tea, have netizens wrapped around its silky, brown, sweet finger. Tiger Sugar has come in fairly recently while resident milk tea shops have updated their menus. The prevalence of using Grab Food, Lala Food, and Food Panda only bolstered the trend, as it eliminated the need to fall in line or even step out of the house or office to have a sweet cup of brown sugar syrup-sweetened drink. It’s no wonder too, that the trend quickly picked up in the Philippines, as the flavor of brown sugar syrup has always been our list of favorite flavors (think taho, guinumis, and gulaman!).
Mangoes and Avocados
We can’t emphasize this enough, but we Filipinos love our fruits, especially mangoes, strawberries, and avocado. This year, the sweet, yellow mangoes have graduated from last year’s trend of mango float to a diverse set of desserts like Hui Lau Shan’s mango sago, Le Sucre Lab’s Mango Dreamcake, and Bellfleur’s Mango Tres Leches Cake. Avocado fans were happy this year with Avocadoria soft serve and Dakasi milk tea.
Last year, there were multiple reports that predicted sourdough will be making a comeback this year—and it did. Made with nothing but flour, water, and patience, this type of bread made more and more appearances in cafes and restaurants this year. If we’re completely being honest, we don’t see it slowing down next year, either. For some really good sourdough, head on over to Panaderya Toyo, Tilde, and Grilled Cheesery.
The trend of Lechon in the metro began when Cebu’s Rico’s Lechon became available in Manila. You can now even buy Zubuchon at 7-11. The now-defunct Honestbee even offered services to deliver whole roasted pigs. Now, you can buy Lydia’s boxed lechon and canned lechon. Lechon has even made it into the menu of non-Filipino restaurants such as Gringo. It’s also become included in some buffets. It’s now officially broken out from the only-special-occasions mold. You can now even buy lechon butter. It’s a great year for lechon, as it was even featured on a Netflix show.
The bibingka cheesecake is a hybrid of the classic cheesecake dessert and the festive bibingka that can send anyone swooning with just a bite of its melt-in-your-mouth New York-style cheesecake but with the added quintessential salted egg of the bibingka. This year, there’s the Santa Cruz Bibingka Cheesecake from Ted’s Kitchen, while Max’s also brought their version of a Bibingka Cheesecake for the holidays.