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Another year, another set of hot new trends in the culinary world. And no, that doesn’t include Tide Pods (we do have some standards here at Chowhound). But you will find below an eclectic list of what kept the food world buzzing in 2018, including everything from familiar favorites that have been given new life to crazy new concoctions that you never would have anticipated, and even a hot-button environmental issue. Let’s reflect on what was cookin’ these last 12 months.

High-End Korean Dining

Atomix NYC

Way back in January, David Chang made his long-awaited Los Angeles debut with Majordōmo and he did not disappoint. The risk-taking chef eschewed his tried-and-true Momofuku standards for inventive Korean fare. That roll of the dice has certainly paid off–the restaurant earned near-universal praise and continues to be one of the city’s hottest dining destinations. Four months later in New York, husband-and-wife team Junghyun and Ellia Park opened Atomix, an intimate chef’s table experience. The multi-course tasting menu, which alternates between modern and classic Korean dishes, earned raves, including a glowing three-star review in The New York Times. Majordomo and Atomix weren’t the country’s first Korean dining destinations, but the runaway success of both restaurants makes it clear that they won’t be the last.

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Roman-Style Pizza

Bonci Chicago

The square Sicilian slice has long been a staple at pizza shops across the U.S. Finally, its Roman counterpart has gotten its due. Also known as pizza al taglio, these ethereal rectangles of crunchy, cheesy heaven sold by the ounce or slice are light and airy thanks to a three-day cold fermentation process. The best purveyors, such as Chicago’s Bonci and PQR in New York, always have multiple options on offer featuring an ever-changing rotation of topping combinations.

CBD-Infused Food and Drinks

Offering a myriad of potential health benefits and an ample dose of novelty, CBD is finding its way into an increasing number of food and beverage offerings. The use of the marijuana-derived cannabinoid is not limited to pre-packaged treats, it’s also become an additive-of-choice for freshly made preparations in bars, restaurants, coffee shops, juice bars, bakeries, and so on and so forth. Despite the fact that CBD isn’t a hallucinogen, it still falls under the same drug classification as weed. That means that it’s still illegal in most of the U.S., and even in the states where it is allowed, Food and Drug Administration regulations and local red tape aren’t making the production of CBD-infused products easy. But as legalization continues to spread across the country, so too will the CBD culinary craze.

Katsu Sando

SakaMai NYC

Though it’s pure kryptonite to keto adherents, the Japanese katsu sando proved to be a hit for those who don’t mind a little carb on carb action. The preparation is simple: pile panko-crusted cutlets of meat (pork is king but beef and chicken work too), a handful of chopped cabbage, and some sweet and tangy tonkatsu sauce on two slices of toasted, crustless white bread (ideally of the fluffy milk variety). Cut in half and enjoy! Just be sure to steer clear of the comically overpriced, viral wagyu versions unless you enjoy the taste of regret.

Brut IPA

New Belgium brut IPA

New Belgium

It took less than a year for brut IPA to go from brand-spanking new cult sensation to a craft beer mainstay. Retailers have devoted increasing shelf space to the style, with major breweries such as Stone and New Belgium getting in on the action. Bone-dry and effervescent with heavy hop presence and a pale appearance, it’s the perfect antidote to the ever-popular juicy hazy IPA.

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Marine Collagen

Vital Proteins

Wellness fads come and go, but this year, supplements derived from marine collagen made quite a splash with the Goop faithful. These powders may be extracted from the scales, skin, bones, and fins of salmon and cod but thankfully you wouldn’t know that from their taste–they come in a variety of non-fishy flavors such as strawberry and blueberry. While marine collagen packs in plenty of protein, whether it actually lives up to its billing as the key to healthier skin and relieving joint pain remains to be seen.

Cheese Tea

Little Fluffy Head Tea

This Taiwanese import sounds like a beverage only Steve Urkel would enjoy. But somehow the seemingly incongruous duo of cold tea topped with a frothy cloud of fromage actually works. The sweet and salty cheese provides an ideal pairing with the bitter and fruity notes of its leaf-based counterpart. One sip and you’ll be left perplexed though ultimately satisfied, and with a thick white moustache to boot.

Edible Glitter

Andy Leverett

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of dealing with a glitter bomb is well aware that once that explosion goes off, the little suckers find their way everywhere. The same can be said for the explosion of edible glitter. Those consumable flecks of color and shine became an internet sensation in 2017 and their popularity only grew in 2018, ending up in everything from chicken wings to beer.

Vegan Protein

Beyond Meat

It’s a great time to be a vegan, at least when it comes to eating. While lab-based alternative meat creations from companies like Impossible and Beyond have been game changers, the emergence of non-traditional protein sources such as peas and algae are gaining in market share. These all-natural options offer great flavor, plenty of health benefits, and sustainability, a winning combination in the vegan food world.

Anti-Plastic Straw Movement


There’s no question the planet has a plastics problem, and it’s only getting worse. As waste continues to rapidly accumulate, sustainable solutions have become a necessity. Enter California, where the state approved a bill to restrict the use of plastic straws. Though not an outright ban, the legislation helps pave the way for a shift to more environmentally-friendly methods of providing liquid to mouth transportation. The bill’s impact remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

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Related Video: 4 Expert-Approved Kitchen Trends to Try in 2019

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Header image courtesy of SakaMai.

David is a food and culture writer based in Los Angeles by way of New York City. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, CBS Local, Mashable, and Gawker.
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