4 global twists on flavorful chicken

Chicken Satay
iStock

From Pierce Chicken.

When someone repeats the oft-uttered phrase, “It tastes like chicken,” there’s a risk that they mean it’s bland, boring or lackluster. Given that 91% of consumers, however, report eating chicken at least once a week, according to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Poultry report, it’s clear that chicken is still a hot commodity.

Therefore, there’s no reason that a poultry entree should be considered the less-exciting protein option, particularly with the current uptick in interest in global flavors. According to the Poultry report, nearly half of consumers say that they think restaurants and other foodservice locations should offer more chicken options that feature ethnic ingredients or flavors, so take the chance and try out one of the myriad global options that not only star poultry, but also make the bird shine.

Asian flavors

Curry and peanut are two of the fastest-growing flavors for chicken dishes in noncommercial segments, growing 14.8% and 30.8% year-over-year, respectively, according to MenuMonitor. Thai cuisine features both trending flavors—chicken satay with peanut sauce and chicken coconut curries are both prevalent on menus.

Satay actually originated in Indonesia, but it’s familiar dish in a number of Southeast Asian cuisines, including Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean. The spice level in these dishes can easily be adjusted with the addition of Sriracha, another one of the fast-growing flavors in foodservice.

Middle Eastern options

While Middle Eastern cuisine might be known best for some of its vegetarian options, the flavors of cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon sticks and bay leaf can be used with chicken and rice, a favorite from the region that’s served over basmati rice. The National Restaurant Association lists Middle Eastern flavors as No. 38 on its top trends for 2018, meaning customers are pining for this flavor profile more and more.

European tastes

Across Western Europe, chicken is used in a plethora of tasty applications. In Spain, for example, chicken is often in included in mixed paella along with seafood. While the key ingredient for paella is saffron, the pricey but prized spice, the dish also relies heavily on garlic and onions.

A little farther north, France’s signature dish, coq au vin, melds chicken with red wine—usually Burgundy—button mushrooms, bacon and herbs, such as thyme, parsley and bay leaf. A small twist on this dish, coq au riesling, uses white wine and adds heavy cream at the end.

From the Americas

South of the United States lies a wealth of flavors that will call to customers. Guacamole is another ingredient that tops trending flavors, according to MenuMonitor, and it can be a deserving addition to chicken tinga tacos. These shredded chicken tacos are made with fire-roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, lots of garlic and a topping of cotija cheese.

Over in Cuba, fricase de pollo (Cuban-style chicken stew) draws flavor from alcaparrado, a mix of pimento-stuffed olives and capers, as well as a hint of sweetness from raisins. Additionally, Cuban-style arroz con pollo differs from the chicken-and-rice that you might see in Middle Eastern cuisine. Instead, the dish is flavored with spices such as oregano, cumin and annatto powder (an uncommon seasoning/herb, which the National Restaurant Association listed as a top 10 trend for 2018), as well as tomato sauce and peas.

Because consumers love both chicken and bold flavors, the time is right for operators to spread their wings with flavors in chicken dishes. Draw inspiration from around the world to keep diners interested in this popular protein.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
management team

Last week’s NACUFS National Conference proved to be a treasure trove of management and staffing takeaways. Here are a few we noted at the annual event , held this year in Providence, R.I.

1. Make it scalable

When explaining something new to staff, instead of asking, “You got it?” or “You with me?” have employees rate how well they understand the new material on a scale of 1 to 10, said Ron Paul, a senior consulting partner for Partners in Leadership, during a session on building accountability in the workplace. People are likely to say yes even when they don’t fully grasp what you’...

Ideas and Innovation
song break

Once per month in a daily huddle, we dedicate a few minutes for the staff to sing a short song. The staff has responded so positively to this. They now bring costumes and other props. It's a few short minutes, but the payoff has been tremendous.

Photo courtesy of iStock

Ideas and Innovation
plastic straws

An item about the size of a pencil has become the latest target in foodservice operators’ sustainability plans. Though small, plastic straws are said to have a large impact on the environment, with Americans using approximately 500 million straws each day, according to a release from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, which temporarily ditched plastic straws as part of an Earth Day promotion this year.

In recent months, a growing number of eateries and cities across the United States have scrapped plastic straws. In July, Seattle enacted a ban on plastic straws and utensils, requiring...

Industry News & Opinion

Medford High School in Medford, Mass., is looking to add an orchard to its campus, Wicked Local reports.

The idea for the orchard was brought forth by students looking to help combat food insecurity. They are working with the school’s nutritionist to make the orchard a reality.

If planted, the orchard would be located inside the school’s courtyard and would grow fruits such as apples, paw paws, blueberries, peaches and plums. It would also include an outdoor classroom space.

The school committee signed off on the project last year; however, some administrators are...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code