2017 trend: Street sense

tacos plate

Authenticity, global flavors and portability continue to be top menu drivers—and top customer demands—in every noncommercial segment. And street foods embody all three trends. Chefs’ Council members told us that many of their biggest successes in the past year were items including soft tacos, samosas, stuffed Chinese bao, banh mi and Middle Eastern gyros. They intend to dig deeper into the global street food scene for 2017 menu ideas, as cravings for these items continue to be strong. 

Tacos al pastor and Indian samosas

indian samosas

“I make tacos al pastor with rice, pineapple-corn relish and tomatillos, Pilsen [Chicago’s Mexican neighborhood] street-corner style. In the works are Indian samosas, and I’m exploring street foods from Sri Lanka and Singapore.”

—Iraj Fernando
Southern Foodservice Management

Pork-stuffed lotus root

sliced lotus root

“Pork-stuffed lotus root—a traditional Chinese street food—is a big hit.”

—Kurt Kwiatkowski
Michigan State University

Soft tacos

sushi soft tacos

“We launched soft tacos as a pop-up concept and were able to experiment with several flavor combos.”

—Shawn Dolan
UNC Health Care

Sabih

sabih

“The Sabih was inspired by a student recipe requested for a Saudi Night event. Ours is a wrap filled with romaine, seared eggplant seasoned with coriander chutney, diced vegetables and hard-boiled egg drizzled with tahini sauce.”

—Janna Traver
University of Kansas

Dim sum and char siu tofu bao

bao basket

“Dim sum and char siu tofu bao were introduced in our new family-style concept, where we deliver some items tableside and offer some on our hot line. The bao hits the trends of pickling and heat with the addition of pickled vegetable slaw and fresh-sliced chilies.”

—Carrie Anderson
University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign

Street tacos

street tacos

“The variety of flavor profiles we offer in our street tacos keeps them exciting and new.”

—William Brizzolara
North Carolina State University

Grilled chicken gyro

chicken gyros

“A grilled chicken fold-over sandwich with yogurt cucumber sauce is done in the style of a gyro. It embraces on-trend Mediterranean flavors.”

—Drew Patterson
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center 

Indian cuisine

chicken tikka masala

Authenticity is key when representing global cuisine. We just added an Indian cuisine station to our By Design area. We researched and developed our recipes from local sources, and time-tested each and every one. Next year: Korean.”

—Cameron Clegg
Parkhurst Dining

Halal chicken and rice

halal chicken rice

"Halal chicken and rice is simple to produce with minimal food cost, but customers find value in it because it’s authentic New York City street food.”

—Timothy Gee
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

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Students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be served student-grown produce from the campus farm at dining halls this fall, M Live reports.

The dining team received its first batch of produce from UM’s on-campus farm in June, after students received the proper USDA certification to grow, harvest and deliver food to campus dining halls. In order to figure out what produce is needed, students communicate with the dining department weekly, and Michigan Dining purchases items accordingly.

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From Ovention.

Today’s colleges and universities know they should offer more than a large selection of breakfast cereals in the morning and chicken tenders at lunch to appeal to students. When it comes to what’s trending on campuses, here’s a look at what directors can tune into to boost engagement.

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