There is much innovation and influence being derived from global foods. As restaurants and foodservice operations look to develop next-gen foods to appeal to more discerning and experimental diners, they don’t have to look too far to be inspired. Grain and Bakery Innovation, a culinary research report from Packaged Facts, a well-respected research firm, is spotlighting several takes on foods that are emerging or still developing. These creative insights look promising for foodservice application, including south-of-the-border foods in the form of globally-inspired tacos, chilaquiles and migas.
Packaged Facts’ exploration into these foods and their corresponding menu sightings show that there is a lot to draw from the cuisine of Mexico that can take breakfast at restaurants, contract foodservice and catering to the next level. Tacos, in particular, are being fused with global dishes, blending ingredients from countries like India and Korea, and tacos are a good place to start.
Global, taco inspiration and ideation take diners beyond Taco Tuesday
“Tacos have become the ultimate shareable, mix-and-match, fun to customize food that suits these fine-casual times and experimental sensibilities.” Tacos’ menuing rating has surged to 26.6 percent, surpassing a seven-percent increase in just the last 10 years, according to data in the report (Datassential). “The tortilla is the perfect platform for all sorts of proteins, vegetables, salsas, slaws, sauces, marinades, cremas, herbs and more, in a constant profusion of seasonal and protein flux,” notes Packaged Facts.
One of the tacos that was highlighted in the report include Indian Fry Bread Taco with Bison chili. The medley of flavors combine with the familiarity and playfulness of the taco carrier, but molding it to reflect authentic Indian inspiration. Packaged Facts also spotlights a taco that draws inspiration from South Korea. In D.C., Korean tacos aren’t hard to find and the battle is on to be considered one of the best such eateries.
At Seoul Spice in Washington, D.C., the Korean tacos can be customized, but many opt for the house specialties. The Fresh Southwestern Taco pivots to Korean influence. The taco combines Kalbi-chicken, a Korean grilled-dish style, with corn, carrots, kale slaw, cilantro-lime ranch, crispy garlic, cilantro, scallions, to take on Southwestern influence. The eatery recommends to try the dish with avocado, pivoting back to a Southwest and Mexican framework. Packaged Facts provides additional menu sightings, from East to West.
Among many takeaways in the Grain and Bakery Innovation report is using tacos as a fun way to offer build-your-own taco bars to generate excitement and customization This goes beyond the typical Taco Tuesday and can work particularly well in Latin American concepts, but can also be utilized in American and American-fusion restaurants. Offering gluten-free soft tacos and taco shells is also an effective way to stay relevant, as more consumers adopt the gluten-free trend, notes Packaged Facts. Many experts consider gluten-free a dining trend that is here to stay, and the demand for gluten-free foods is still robust. A separate report from Packaged Facts noted a 36-percent sales increase in gluten-free foods from 2010 to 2015.
Going beyond the breakfast burrito: Chilaquiles and Migas
Chilaquiles are a popular dish in Mexico and are typically reserved for breakfast. Chilaquiles are made with softened tortilla strips that are bathed in red or green salsa or sauce, and then combined with fried eggs, meats—particularly chicken, fried or green onions, chilies and garnishment, and can be topped with cilantro, crema and queso fresco. The dish is said to have started as a way to preserve the previous night’s dinner tortillas and salsa. Traditionally, chilaquiles have been thought of as a hangover remedy.
As consumers look to experiment beyond the breakfast burrito, chilaquiles are an ideal dish worth exploring. The medley of ingredients that can be combined in the chilaquiles can create an explosion of flavor. Packaged Facts notes that chilaquiles have risen in menu mentions by more than four points over the last decade and now account for a 10.9-percent menuing rating (Datassential). Chilaquiles are ripe for use by quick-service chains as they are a creative way to present a speedy and interesting breakfast option. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts, in particular, can make the dishes their own. Regional attributes will often dictate the time the tortilla strips spend in sauce or salsa, and type of salsa or sauce used to soften them.
In its report, the research firm highlights the chilaquiles from First Watch, a national, casual-dining breakfast chain. The First Watch Chilaquiles are two sunny-side up cage-free eggs atop sautéed corn tortilla chips, all-natural chicken breast, fresh avocado, cilantro, red onion, feta cheese, and salsa verde, served with black beans. The Latin Mayan Cuisine in La Grange, Ky. also has a penchant for salsa verde in its Chilaquiles Verdes with shredded chicken, onions and cilantro.
Migas are a similar dish, centered around cut-up pan-fried tortillas that are topped with scrambled eggs, vegetables, salsa and meats. A menu sighting at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop reveals a few Migas dishes on the menu: The Migas combines two scrambled eggs, chorizo, pico de gallo, and tortilla strips, served with refried beans, Latin-fried potatoes, two flour tortillas, and salsa verde. Another example at Fuzzy’s is the Chicken Chilaquiles dish, combining two scrambled eggs, shredded chicken, tortilla strips. shredded cheese, and pico de gallo, served with refried beans.
The Packaged Facts report has several menu trend applications. Among the recommendations is serving these Mexican breakfast items in a black-iron pan or individual skillet for an eye-catching presentation. Diners are eager to explore spicier and unique takes on global preparation and seek out a deeper dive into regionally-influenced Mexican cuisine. Chilaquiles and migas represent creativity in bowl-less fashion that can be customized to up the ante on the breakfast experience, taking cues from preparations that are unique to certain cities and regions in Mexico, and then replicating them. These dishes may even spur new concept creation.
For more information about Grain and Bakery Innovation report, see the abstract PackagedFacts.com.
Author credit: Rick Zambrano
Photo credit: The Mayan Latin Cuisine, La Grange, Ky.