Global food trends will play out in Ottawa in 2019 with fun flavours, and a few healthy twists too.
While lab-grown meats raised a few eyebrows in 2018, the big story for 2019 will be alternative protein sources. As many Canadians endeavour to limit the amount of meat they are eating, items such as the Beyond Meat burger, available at NOSH Glebe, are gaining favour. The first plant-based burger that looks, cooks and tastes like a fresh beef burger, is made from peas and beets and is gluten-free. The expansion of Raw Pulp and Grind to Westboro in 2018 and the imminent opening of Pure Kitchen’s fourth location are further proof that plant-powered meals are more than a passing fad.
Welcome back, bread
Facebook’s 2019 Topics and Trends report dedicates a whole page to bread, specifically the return to natural and traditional techniques versus mass production. With handcrafted bread in vogue again, we’re fortunate to have many great local bakeries in the Ottawa area. Hintonburg’s Bread By Us is dedicated to the art of artisanal sourdough; they also offer workshops so you can learn how to make delicious – and now apparently guilt-free – loaves at home.
Sour beers are taking off and proving to be surprisingly food-friendly. Kanata’s Small Pony Barrel Works specializes in barrel-aged sours. Kombucha – a flavoured, fermented tea-based beverage – is continuing to grow in popularity and there are new local makers springing up all the time. If you’re interested in learning how easy it is to make kombucha and other gut-friendly foods, check out the fermentation basics workshop from Radical Homestead which also covers kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles and more.
Move over, pho
Look for Asian food to be a shining star of the 2019 food scene. Pho and ramen will likely hold their own in the ‘bowls of deliciousness’ realm, but look for Taiwanese food to gain traction. Here in Ottawa you’ll find some of the best at Wang’s Noodle House. Hot pot’s also a rising trend; check out the trendy Morals Village (the world’s largest hot pot chain which has just expanded to Canada) or Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot for a tasty, interactive dining experience. Another new spot worth visiting is Le Mien for bowls of authentic hand-pulled noodles in rich broth. Last but not least, expect Peruvian cuisine to shine brightly – local favourite Petit Peru, which Ottawa At Home profiled in 2015, is sure to delight. Try the ceviche.
When cannabis-infused edible products become legal, anticipated to happen in October 2019, we’ll likely see a lot of new goodies on store shelves, and possibly on restaurant menus as well. One alliance that’s preparing to launch is a partnership between Smiths Fall’s Canopy Growth and Almonte’s Hummingbird Chocolate Maker, winner of the Academy of Chocolate’s 2016 Golden Bean Award for the world’s best bean-to-bar chocolate. For small businesses interested in learning more about producing and selling cannabis-infused edibles, a local food consultant is offering an upcoming workshop intended to provide lots of useful information.
Another trend that’s sure to appeal to some is pared-down restaurant menus. Rather than offering an exhaustive list of options, chefs may opt for a smaller selection of carefully-curated dishes. This is the philosophy behind Thali, Chef Joe Thottungal’s new Indian restaurant in downtown Ottawa; it’s also the approach that has been used very successfully at places like town and Citizen.