Rising Stars: 5 New and Fresh Must-Haves on Your Dinner Table

Food trends come and go. Here at Pepper.ph, we like to stay ahead of the game. A big part of that involves bringing your tastebuds to places they’ve never gone before. The thing is, while the other side of the world is fan-girling over the ‘exotic’ durian, mangosteen, and jackfruit, those are all old news to us. What we’d like to bring to your attention are ingredients that we might consider exotic here. Whether or not they’re already available on Philippine shores, it’d be smart to keep a lookout for the ingredients and flavors listed in this fearless forecast.

1. Freekeh


What It Is

Before you make jokes about getting freaky in the kitchen, I’m gonna cut you off. It’s pronounced ‘FREE-kah’. Its taste is described as earthy and smoky, as well as a lot more complex than its more popular peer, couscous.

Why It’s the Next Best Thing

Although Freekeh has been around for centuries, an Oprah segment in 2010 is responsible for bringing it back in style. Quinoa’s gaining more and more ground as a superfood, but Freekeh’s another up and coming ancient grain that deserves its own spotlight. It’s not just healthy, but chefs around the world are falling all over themselves to praise it for its flavor and versatility.

Getting It on Your Dinner Table

Wouldn’t it be great to see Freekeh sinangag, or bagoong Freekeh?

2. Goat


What It Is

Here’s a video in case you don’t know what a goat is.

Why It’s the Next Best Thing

Nearly 70% of red meat consumed globally is goat. Surprised? We are, too. It’s slowly gaining ground as a substitute for meat. It’s getting popular for its by-products,too—cheese (called ‘chevre’), milk, and even yoghurt. The DOST’s even working on processing goat milk into powder form, because it’s healthier than cow’s milk.

Getting It on Your Dinner Table

While goat is quite popular in the Philippines, in dishes such as kalderetang kambing from your favorite carinderia, I’d like to see it used more creatively on upscale menus. How about using goat cheese for baked mac, or goat milk for mais con hielo?

3. Sumac

desperate sumac

What It Is

The tart spice sumac, a ground berry, gives dishes an unmistakably Middle Eastern flair. The berries are picked and crushed by hand, resulting in earthy and fruity notes that go well with almost any other flavor.

Why It’s the Next Best Thing

You can add it to anything from scrambled eggs to salad dressing to grilled meat or fish. It’s not that easy to find, but it’s so easy to use that it’s only a matter of time before it becomes mainstream.

Getting It on Your Dinner Table

Season some fresh seafood with Sumac and throw them on the grill for an elevated dampa-inspired experience. How about using it for a different kind of Sinigang?

4. Sunchoke


What It Is

Its flavor is described as a mix of potatoes and artichokes, with a hint of water chestnut. The Sunchoke is a root vegetable definitely ready for its time in the sun .

Why It’s the Next Best Thing

Also called Jerusalem artichokes, Sunchokes can be enjoyed raw, and you don’t even have to peel them. Whether cooked or not, they work best as a stand-in for potatoes. Imagine all the possibilities.

Getting It on Your Dinner Table

In theory, Sunchokes can take the place of potatoes in Filipino classics such as Afritada, Nilaga, or Giniling. They also go great with salads.

5. Kombucha


What It Is

Though growing your own yogurt cultures is getting more and more popular here in the Philippines, we’d like to keep you ahead of the game and turn your attention to growing your own tea cultures. That’s what Kombucha is—it’s sweetened green or black tea fermented by live yeast or bacteria.

Why It’s the Next Best Thing

Kombucha’s becoming a big deal among the acai-guzzling health-conscious crowd. It’s supposedly a healthier alternative to Red Bull and is chock-full of anti-oxidants.

Getting It on Your Dinner Table

As it turns out, we’ve been eating kombucha every summer during dessert. Kind of. The same type of bacteria is used to ferment coconut water for nata de coco. If you and your love ones already like the taste of nata, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t feel the same way for Kombucha.

[Images via: Onegreentomato, Togetherinfood, Hungerandthirstforlife, About.com, Dirtykitchensecrets]

[Thumbnail via: Wikipedia]

5 Responses

  1. goat cheese would probably go well with a Pinoy salad of pako, tomatoes, mango tidbits and a dash of dahon ng sibuyas. 🙂 we used to keep a pet goat, which also ended up as the main course (or courses) for one of my dad’s celebrations.

    1. Hi, i found sunchokes in S&R fort bonifacio last saturday. I’m not sure if it’s regular there though.

  2. Great article. We’ve been eating goat meat in our house for the past 20 years. People say it’s much healthier than pork because it has less cholesterol.

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