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What Is It That Makes Us So “Loco” for Latino Food?

Plantain Slices Lechon Blog

What Is It That Makes Us So “Loco” for Latino Food?

plantain rice and beans with pork and lime

Latino fare has catapulted to the forefront of the food industry, becoming a mainstay of grocery stores and restaurants alike.

This phenomenon is something we’ve documented well in our previous blogs. For example, we’ve explored the data driving national shifts toward Hispanic markets—from Are Hispanics the Next Baby Boomer Generation? to Hispanic Market Demographics: Differences Between Los Angeles and Miami’s Hispanic Markets but we haven’t really dove into what it is about Latino cuisine that makes it so agreeable, so in-demand. That “je ne sais quoi, as the saying goes—or that “yo no sé qué” rather.

There’s a defining characteristic of Latino fare that has helped set it apart from other ethnic approaches. One of the speakers from last year’s Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Leadership Symposium, an annual leadership event hosted by The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), put it this way: Latino cuisines have “one of the largest cultural ranges—meaning that they can assimilate into other cuisines and make use of local ingredients without losing flavor.”

The thing is, Latino cuisine honors both the dependability of staple foods and the excitement of exotic ingredients, all with a fresh, homemade heritage. This presents a unique opportunity for its foods and techniques to be appropriated and adapted the world over—where the Latin root vegetable yuca can upend traditional British potato based fare, or where South American chilies can enliven the already robust seasoning of Thai and Indian dishes.

This supports the NRA survey findings of the “What’s Hot Forecast” with ethnic-inspired items remaining a strong menu trend, and it’s an opportunity that chefs and restaurateurs across the country are taking advantage of in more mainstream varied menu restaurants. For example, Stan Frankenthaler, Chief Officer of Food & Beverage for Rock Bottom Restaurants plans to reference Peruvian, Brazilian and Colombian foods to pay tribute to the bold flavors and comfort foods of the Americas.

It’s clear that the desire for ethnic-inspired dishes is, and will continue to be one of the most important culinary trends shaping the food industry. MIC Food is proud to be part of this transformation. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about MIC Food, our diverse line of natural Caribbean products, and our involvement in the food and restaurant industry.

 

 



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