Just like in fashion, trends come and go as well in food. Some trends are good, some can be bad. A lot of people follow the trend, but most of the times only the pioneers and the true believers remain after the trend is over. Remember when you can find at least four brands of authentic Taiwanese bubble tea in one mall? Yep, my blood sugar level did not agree with that one. Nevertheless, it’s always fun to observe the current trend and see how the market will look like for the season.
We’ve scoured the internet and chatted with a number of people, and here’s the result: Jakarta Food Trend Watching. Valid particularly during the third quarter of 2017, expected to last until at least early next year or even longer. We’ll see.
1. More international F&B brands are coming
Travel fairs and affordable airplane tickets not only encourage Indonesian people to travel overseas more, but also expose us to foreign cultures, including food. In the past few years, we’ve seen a steady increase of international F&B brands setting up shop in Jakarta, such as Grom from Italy and Uncle Tetsu from Japan. The owners of the franchise are not necessarily big companies, but rather a group of individuals who fall in love with the food and see a potential in bringing the brand home.
This especially rings true for Japanese brands, as traveling to Japan has been made easy by the visa waiver since three years ago. Besides Uncle Tetsu, there are also Yamatoten Abura Soba, Pablo, and many more. Speaking of cheese, BAKE Kinotoya is finally going to make its grand entrance. The source of reference for oh-so-many cheese tart in Indonesia is now open in Grand Indonesia.
2. Modernizing traditional food. Banana nugget, anyone?
At the end of the day, traditional food is what most people will come back to. It’s home. There’s a sense of familiarity that you don’t get tired of. It makes sense that a lot of brands are coming up with twists on traditional food even in their modern setting. For instance, AMKC Atelier is famous for its Teh Botol Cake, and Berrywell recently introduced Es Teler smoothies bowl. The trend extends to home industry too, with an example mentioned above: banana nugget, a hybrid of nugget and fried banana.
3. Indonesian food, elevated
While number two talks about twists on traditional food, this point emphasizes on authentic Indonesian food with carefully crafted recipes that result from long research and travel all across the archipelago. As we’ve talked about it previously here, there are people, groups, and restaurants who are on the mission to make Indonesian food achieve its long-overdue global recognition. Whether it started domestically like Nusa Gastronomy or internationally like KAUM, the aim is the same. This is definitely a trend we don’t mind seeing for a long time.
4. Online-specific food business
Can’t write an article about Jakarta Food Trend without mentioning this one. Let’s face it. Ojek online has changed the way we eat and how F&B runs a business. Open the mobile app and browse through the food section. You’ll see tons of home-based operations with no physical outlet where you can dine-in. It has created an opportunity to start a business without being dragged down by a huge capital for renting a space. Ojek online is also partly responsible for creating the Es Kopi Susu mania. We’ll see what trend it will generate next.
5. Food + DIY
The last Jakarta Food Trend is relatively new and a derivative of the previous point. There are a couple of online F&B business who leave the end process of creating a portion of food to the customer. For example, Buckmee offers pre-packaged noodles and meat. The customer has to boil the noodle for 20 seconds, mix everything, and add condiments. A similar concept goes with Just Blend, which delivers a cup filled with frozen fruits combination. In this case, the customer must add liquid and blend to make a glass of smoothies. By doing this, they get to create a longer shelf life and a more affordable product for the customer. It also caters to the DIY enthusiasts who like to be involved in the food-making process.
6. Making the basic complex and the complex basic
This reverse psychology principle is implemented by the likes of Sate Taichan and numerous Warung Indomie. Traditionally, sate is a complex dish that honors both the grilled meat and the rich peanut sauce, and is identical to charred brown color. Sate Taichan successfully breaks that image by serving chicken meat that is still white in color and sambal, no peanut sauce. The dish becomes simpler. On the other hand, the humble Indomie has been spruced up with salted egg, sambal matah, and even made into a birthday cake. Complicated or uncomplicated? Your choice.
Have you noticed any other food trend recently? Which trend are you most excited about? Please let us know in the comment below. Let’s chat!