The beginning of every year I always research the latest and greatest upcoming food trends. Reading different survey results, industry journals, blogs, popular cooking magazines, and even thoughts from nutritionists have given me a lot of new ideas. Every year there is so much parody and this year is no different. We will explore new cuisines, spices, beverages, sweets, vegetables, and a few really weird things that just happen to catch the foodie’s eye. My 2016 food trends are broken down into five major areas. The hottest new cuisine: Filipino & Hawaiian Fast food “Jollibee” has global expansion on its mind as the word is spreading of the sweet, tangy and salty flavor combinations. Filipino food combines flavors from Chinese, Malaysian and Spanish into delightful combinations. Try a bowl of chicken asado stew, ensaymadas or Filipino sweet buns topped with creamed butter and sugar. Hawaiian is also in the mix with poke and beef tongue poppy seed steamed buns. The Pacific islands have already made their impacts felt on the West Coast and are invading the East coast. Poke, a Hawaiian main stay, is made with raw fish, rice, vegetable and herbs. People who are riding that sushi wave will soon be singing the praises of nutrient filled tsunami. Cucumber rule in 2016! As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, cucumbers are rich in source of triterpene phytonutrients called cucurbitacins. Cucurbitacins A, B, C, D and E are all contained in fresh cucumber. Chefs are using them for texture, freshness and their coolness. Demand for different varieties has risen and will continue to rise as cucumbers are “king” in 2016. Honorable mentions and the front-runners for the next top spot go to seaweed, aloe and medicinal mushrooms. The perennial favorite for 2017 is seaweed. Plus, there is seaweed that tastes like bacon, sign me up! Dying of thirst? 2016 will continue to push the boundaries of the beverage industry. Matcha tea, a stone ground powder made from green tea has been prized for being rich with vitamins and minerals. Drinks that are high in antioxidants and offer other health benefits are sure to please the hot beverage market. Also, we have more expanding flavor bottle waters, with cactus, maple, birch tree and even alkaline water that is black. Who knows what they will come up with next. Sweet 16 Ice Cream sandwiches make top our of sweets list. Forget the classic, ever tried a peanut butter and banana ice cream sandwich or the reuben (combining marble rye and pastrami ice cream)? Many shops are also allowing you to create your own masterpiece. Of course, there are some ingredients that are worthy of mentioning. Coconut flour is top on the gluten free options for flour, with legume, grass and nut flour also hitting the market place. Being “Green” As food prices steadily rise around the world, chef have spearheaded a new movement in utilizing refuse and discarded items. Belcampo, a chain in California, offers a $1 burger made with beef trim. They also change their menu daily, to utilize the leftovers from the day before. In addition, more recipes with broccoli stalks, kale stems, cabbage core, carrot peel will be transformed in to coleslaw and other delightful creations. This is not a one-year wonder and will be the wave of the future.