The 10 biggest food trends in Toronto from the past year
Food trends in Toronto this year were—unlike the ones from last year—less about eating for the 'gram and more about exploring food fads that are already hot overseas. The food scene in 2019 saw in influx in Japanese noodles, food served on sticks, and destinations for plant-based eats aplenty.
Here are some of memorable food trends in Toronto from this past year.
These delicate French confections have been highly popular in Korea for over decade, and now this Asian iteration (sometimes referred to as "fatcarons") have found a place in the Toronto market at spots like Dainties, Project Glyph and The Social Blend.
Exploding across the city this year was chuan'r: the BBQ skewer tradition hailing from the northwestern region of China. Restaurants like Roadside Picnic, Xiaobiandan, and Kungfu Hot Pot Skewer were just a few names to hit Toronto this year with menus of veggies, meat, and even insects on sticks.
It's been a trend in Korea for nearly five years at this point, but the fascinating food fad of sticky rice corn dogs only just landed in Toronto this year with the arrival of the massive chain Chung Chun and the North York restaurant Cheongnyun.
Apparently vending machines aren't just for Mars bars and bags of hickory chips anymore. Pizza Forno are basically 24-hour ATMs for pizza, and the lineups for vending machine cakes from Carlo's Bake Shop have been stretching through the path and been selling out daily.
Forget your almond, coconut, or soy milks: those non-dairy options pale in comparison to this creamy option that's seemingly become the preferred milk substitute of baristas and coffee-drinkers alike, so much so that one cafe even launched its own oat milk brand.
The L.A. brand has made a killing this year (not literally, they're meat-free remember) with some massive partnerships. The plant-based burger meat has expanded past A&W and now includes grocery stores, Tim Hortons, McDonalds across Ontario, and even empanadas, pasta sauce, and Indian food at local joints.
This underrate style of Japanese noodle has become sexy again thanks to the arrival of the sleek New York chain Raku, followed by big portions of Kansai-style bowls at Udon Kitanoya, followed by the Sanuki-style noodles Zen Sanuki in Scarborough.
The battle of the chicken sandwiches wasn't nearly as dramatic as the one happening in the States, but the contested arrival of Toronto's first Chick-Fil-A, coupled with the steady expansion of the Filipino chain Jollibee had deep-fried chicken top of mind pretty much all 2019.
One of the more interesting rivalries to happen this year was the appearance of two ramen restaurants on Queen West, both within walking distance of each other: Hakata Shoryuken and Hakata Ikkousha. Up to you to decide who does ramen from Fukuoka better.
Eating meat is evidently so passé, hence the burgeoning number of chic plant-based chains. The Montreal-based brand LOV and its expensive lattes was a big one, as were the fast casual veggie menus at by CHLOE., Heart Clean Eats, and Globally Local.
Fareen Karim of Dainties Macaron
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