My fearless forecast for food trends in Manila this year looks like a hodgepodge of things to come. Here’s how I sense the food landscape will be in the Philippines this 2014.

Following the gourmet heels of the burger is a possible switch towards Pizza couture. With the onset of artisan bread and artisan ice cream, the pizza dough will most likely get entrapped in the artisan mode and get crazy with toppings, Expect toppings galore. No longer will pizza moguls be content with the usual pepperoni and cheese, there may be an explosion of new fangled flavors like peanut butter with cheese, or chocolate chicken mole or onion rings and egg.


After the Bourdain visit and Zimmerman’s flagrant exposure of so-called strange food like Balut, Crickets and Stuffed frogs, Philippine cuisine is finally catching on in the international market.
Halo-halo is making waves in the city that never sleeps. A lot of internationally acclaimed chefs with Filipino lineage have been deconstructing local favorites and creating myriads of dishes with fancy sounding names, thus inviting the adventurous foodies to try out our local fare. The bulalo with that cholesterol laden marrow is served on lovely platters for that magnificent uppity flair.

Philippine cuisine is finally leaving an indelible mark in the food scene. Expect Filipino restaurants to up the ante once again. Here’s hoping that a consolidated effort can be reached to attain a standard recipe for all our dishes, much like Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese food. With 7,000 islands and several languages and dishes that are the same yet have different names, this will be quite a tall order.


Perhaps every year for the past two or three years going organic and healthy goes on the trend list. Perhaps it is every trend watcher’s wish for foodies around the world to really go healthy, especially in the Philippines. Read a Pinoy menu and notice your arteries clog in an instant. There’s hardly any vegetable there except for Pinakbet which is still basically a meat dish. Gising gising although listed under vegetable dishes is still chock full of ground pork. Even Bicol Express when brought to Manila restaurants turns into a meat dish with some smattering of green chili. With cauliflower being touted as the next brussel sprout there might be something there for diet conscious people like me. For the past year and a half I have been a cauliflower rice advocate. Having rid myself of eating rice, caulirice has become my bestie with my protein choices. Here is a simple cauliflower rice recipe you can try out.

1 head cauliflower cut into florets
Water for boiling cauliflower
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bring water to a boil then add cauliflower florets. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain and then place in a food processor and blitz until grainy much like rice or couscous. In a frying pan, sauté garlic, add cauliflower then season with salt and pepper.


The Pinoy sweet tooth may not yet be over the cronuts and all other baked goodie twists. Cupcakes will still be around to let us see through many more flavors, combinations and wondrous colors of this treat. The cookie butter craze may be waning but those who took note of this only late last year may still be enamored by last year’s sudden superstar spread. Expect new chocolate spread entrants like Cadbury and Hershey’s to possibly steal the limelight with Nutella still in the lead though.


With the entry of Ikkoryu Fukuoka in BGC last year and Yushoken in the South of Manila, the ramen wars has not yet seen its end in the country. Rumor has it that Ippudo will also be brought to Manila soon. I tried Ippudo in Singapore and was amazed at the long and winding line just to get a bowl of their famous ramen. The richness of the full-bodied soup is pure heaven in a bowl. This is no fast food fare. What with about 12 hours or so of slow cooking the pork to extract its essence combined with the spices and seasonings they use, the exquisite flavor combination is worth the long wait.


The Pinoy longing for coffee has not been assuaged with the influx of Starbucks in practically every corner in Metro Manila nor the coming in of other coffee shops from UK or the brave entry of new players in the coffee lovers market. Artisan coffee will most likely come into the coffee lovers’ landscape this year.

Surprisingly with the invasion of milk tea in the market, tea places have also been catching on. TWG Tea Salon and Boutique although known to be pricey has been garnering a lot loyal patrons. Passed by one of their branches about two weeks ago and was struck by the number of guests. Whereas tea was not a much-loved Pinoy drink years back, the success of TWG is indeed quite astounding.


In the US, the cronuts craze is winding down. They project that ice cream sandwiches are the next big thing in the dessert market. Since the Philippines usually follows American trends, expect ice cream sandwiches to make a dent in our dessert consciousness. Actually, the fish-shaped ice cream sandwiches imported from Korea have already been here for quite some time.

Still under the dessert radar, perhaps 2014 is the year these very affordable ice cream bars will catch on. And since we are very good in improving what is already in the market, chances are a lot of innovative ice cream sandwich concoctions will be available locally in 2014.


While studying culinary some years back, I overheard talk that anyone with a strong culinary background will be looked down upon if found focusing their creativity on chicken. At the time, beef was considered as the elite meat in culinary circles.

This year, there is talk of that changing, it seems like the food trend prediction abroad is that the chicken will be the focus of many chefs. Here the chicken has often been in the limelight. Philippines cuisine after all has many dishes using the chicken. We have chicken relleno, chicken adobo and of course the all-time favorite chicken inasal.

They say chicken in a rotisserie will be the in thing in the U.S. Who knows we might be seeing a resurrection of the lechon manok in every corner this year.

That is if we adhere to this prediction.

What are you looking forward to eat this year? Share them in the Comments Section below.

Lorraine Timbol

Lorraine Timbol, also known as LT, former culinary consultant for Unilever and EIC of Appetite Magazine is a frustrated actress who managed to get into bit roles at the tender age of 40. She is now comfortably in her element as a freelance food stylist and food writer, teaching Cohen cooking on the side.

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