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Korean tacos, tangy kimchi to innovative beverages: Culinary trends shaping summer menus in 2024

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 25, 2024 08:42 AM IST

Culinary trends of summer 2024 menus: Fusion of global flavours like Korean tacos/Szechuan-spiced Italian pasta to innovative beverages that quench your thirst

As we enter the dynamic culinary landscape of summer 2024, a blend of exciting trends is set to transform menus and dining experiences. Innovative plant-based creations are at the forefront, with chefs moving beyond basic meat substitutes to celebrate whole-food, plant-based dishes.

Korean tacos, tangy kimchi to innovative beverages: Culinary trends shaping summer menus in 2024(Photo by Sueseaqpi)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Chef Supreet Ghai, Director of Culinary at ibis and ibis Styles India, shared, “Jackfruit tacos, mushroom steaks and legume-based burgers are just a few examples of how natural flavours and textures are being highlighted, appealing not only to vegans but to anyone seeking healthier and more sustainable options. Additionally, the fusion of global flavours continues to captivate diners, breaking traditional culinary boundaries with unique combinations like Korean tacos and Szechuan-spiced Italian pasta, offering a flavorful journey around the world.”

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He added, “Fermentation is also making a strong comeback, with chefs using tangy kimchi, refreshing kombucha, and fiery fermented hot sauces to enhance dishes with rich and complex flavors. Sustainability remains a key focus, driving chefs to adopt eco-friendly cooking practices that maximize ingredient usage and minimise waste, resulting in creative and environmentally conscious dishes. Meanwhile, technology is revolutionizing dining experiences with augmented reality menus and AI-driven personalized culinary journeys. Nostalgic flavors are also making a return, as diners crave the comforting embrace of retro dishes reimagined for contemporary palates. Finally, the farm-to-table movement thrives, with a spotlight on locally sourced ingredients that ensure fresh, high-quality produce, reflecting the vibrant essence of the season.”

According to Harendra Singh Rautela, Culinary Entrepreneur and Founder of Agastya Cafe and Homestay, the unique geography and rich culture of Uttarakhand provide endless inspiration for dishes, allowing chefs to offer an authentic yet innovative dining experience. He revealed, “This summer, we’re focusing on fresh, local produce. Think juicy apricots, plums and leafy greens straight from Uttarakhand’s farms. Not only do these ingredients taste incredible, but they also support our local farmers and ensure our dishes are as fresh as they can be.”

Opting to go big on sustainability, he said, “We're doing our part by reducing food waste and using eco-friendly packaging. Our menu now features more plant-based options, inspired by traditional Gharwali and Kumaoni recipes but with a modern twist. These dishes are perfect for those looking for healthy and sustainable choices. One of the exciting trends we’re embracing is fusion cuisine. Our Pahadi Pizza, for example, combines the rich flavours of Pahadi cheese with the zest of Italian herbs. It’s a hit with our guests! Another favorite is our Himalayan Herb Infused Lemonade, which uses local herbs like buransh (rhododendron) for a refreshing summer drink.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Devanshi Tripathi, Founder of North Star Cafe at HSR Layout in Bengaluru, highlighted, “This year, we're seeing a huge trend toward innovative beverages that quench your thirst and tantalise your taste buds. We've taken classic favourites like coffee and tea and given them a summery twist. Not to mention that we have a Season Special Menu which changes every month according to the climate.”

Combining coffee tonic with the goodness of elderflower to create a light and floral drink that's perfect for a hot afternoon, Devanshi Tripathi said, “For those who crave a taste of something exotic, Vietnamese Styled Coffee offers a delicious mix of strong dark coffee and creamy condensed milk, transporting you straight to the streets of Hanoi. Cafes are also focusing on healthy and delicious light meals. Many cafes have ditched the deep fryers in favour of air frying and baking, resulting in lighter options that won't weigh their consumers down.”

She pointed out that salad bowls are a customer favourite with vibrant combinations like the Burrata Salad that features mixed greens, toasted nuts, a delightful mix of fresh and dried tomatoes and a tangy sherry vinaigrette with a touch of kokum glaze for a unique twist. She recommended Fruit Smoothie Bowl, Granola Bowl and Avocado Toast for fitness enthusiasts and for those seeking a post-meal treat, desserts are sure to hit the spot where The Lotus Biscoff croissant offers a delightful combination of flaky pastry and the irresistible flavour of Biscoff spread, while Banoffee Pie is a classic summer dessert that's always a crowd-pleaser.

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