Last summer, I was fortunate to travel across the majority of Europe and some parts of Asia, trying many of their local cuisines. The way that other cultures treat and consume their food is quite different to Australians, so it was a great learning experience. It was during this trip that I started discovering food trends which were so prominent overseas, but not readily available in Australia.
But since I’ve returned to Oz, I have noticed the early stages of certain international food trends taking off here too. I’d like to share with you some things which I think that the Australian food industry could use and learn from overseas:
1. Food Carts/Trucks
One of the quickest and most convenient ways to enjoy freshly cooked food is from a food truck. They are mobile, cheap and let you enjoy small nibbles on the go without having to be seated at a restaurant. The foods on offer can range from hot drinks to snacks such as waffles, panini buns and dumplings. Recently, Sydney has seen some food trucks roaming the CBD including the Eat Art Truck, which provides night roamers a delicious feast before heading home.
2. Food Halls
Imagine a school hall or town centre filled with small food stalls and lots of hungry patrons. It is similar to a food court, but all stalls serve up gourmet style food instead of fast food. I’ve only ever seen food exhibitions in Sydney, but they always have a limited run; the ones in Europe are there perpetually. Great examples are the food halls at Madrid and Stockholm that feature many stalls offering small servings of local cuisine. You can sample multiple dishes all in one convenient location, which is great for picky eaters who can never decide what to choose!
3. Ready-to-eat food at supermarkets
Supermarkets overseas are extremely self-sufficient for all your food needs, especially when it comes to ready-to-eat foods. This includes a lot of sandwiches and sushi which are prepared freshly on the day with a variety of fillings. One particular supermarket in Switzerland offers rotating hot foods which change at breakfast, lunch and dinner times. A large variety of foods are available, such as hot soups, pastries, hot chips, quiches, fried calamari, and roast vegetables! It is an excellent option for those who need a quick bite but don’t want to wait in a restaurant.
4. Christmas Markets
If you ever head to Germany in December, Christmas Markets are a must-do for every traveller. Although prevalent in many European countries, the largest ones are in Germany and offer some wonderful foods such as mulled wine, bratwurst and currywurst – perfect to brave the winter chill. They provide a family-friendly experience and social environment to enjoy snacks. This idea would be easily adaptable for an Australian audience and I’d love to see some ‘Winter Markets’ here in the near future!
5. Recycling schemes at supermarkets
This final trend isn’t specifically a food trend, but a great environmental initiative. Many European supermarkets have a machine at their entrance which encourages people to return plastic bottles for a small monetary refund. This serves to instil recycling into your behaviour and is perfect for people who throw their recyclables in normal bins due to the lack of recyclable bins. Another great thing supermarkets are doing is charging for plastic bags. Although $0.50 doesn’t seem like a lot, it can accumulate over time and provides a financial incentive to bring a shopping bag or backpack on supermarket trips.
What strikes you on the food scene when you go travelling? What trend do you most wish Australians would adopt? Let us know in the comments below.