Creating a fun and memorable event menu needs to incorporate more than just great food, it should also provide a complete experience for the attendees. You want to serve food that fits with the trends of the day but also offers ample opportunities for even the pickiest and most traditional eaters to enjoy the event. Street food stations are a fun way to deliver a range of on-trend options in small snackable sizes perfectly designed to be eaten while walking, talking, and socializing.
“Craveable, portable, interesting builds dot the world map, often served from street carts, just waiting to be discovered and translated onto American menus.” – Eliza Amari, Flavor & The Menu
Global Flavor Experiences
Global foods and flavors are a top trend in restaurants and catering and are a great palette to work from for creating an event menu. The Middle East’s Levant region remains popular for 2020, and newer cuisine trends like Hawaiian, Indian and high-end Japanese are gaining traction on menus. For what components to select from these cuisines, Japanese umami flavors, Japanese tamari, Indian raita, and pan-Asian pork were called out in the What’s Hot 2020 Culinary Forecast, from the National Restaurant Association, as essential flavors and foods from these emerging regions.
International street foods or global handhelds are one of the most dynamic categories in foodservice due to their rapid rise to popularity with Americans and the potential that exists for further innovation and customization by chefs. Bao, kebabs, and falafel are just a few examples of top international handheld street foods that have been popping up on an increasing number of ethnic and mainstream menus. Incorporating these popular items onto an event menu is just the start of creating a complete on-trend event.
International street food stations are a convenient platform to accommodate a wide range of dietary needs. Address Halal requirements with an authentic Middle Eastern street food like Shawarma served as mini sandwiches or a Keto bowl option. Falafel, eggplant dishes, and seaweed wraps can address vegan and plant-forward options.
Build-your-own street bowls are another way to offer flexibility to dietary needs, plus they allow guests to customize and get interactive with the menu – also a trend for 2020. Today’s eaters love their bowls and often associates them with their healthier restaurant origins of grain bowls, power bowls, Acai bowls, and the list goes on. Using mini snack size bowls enables attendees to make multiple creations and try a wider variety of offerings.
Incorporate the Eco-Friendly Experience
Beyond just great food and a fun theme, higher expectations exist today for an overall eco-friendly event, with sustainability as a top catering trend for the year. The plant-based foods movement has ushered in a similar trend with eco-friendliness across food sourcing, ingredient selections, servingware, and packaging. Sustainable practices should be featured on your website and even at events on the appropriate menu identification cards. On-site communication of sustainability initiatives reflects positively both on your and on your host – so take the credit and let guests know they can feel good about the servingware or ingredients used.
Capture it all Online
Keep “the gram” in mind when planning themed station presentations and information cards. Guests and hosts crave that Instagram experience with events. Create beautiful and exciting settings with some buzz-worthy product information that will get you trending online. Provide interesting hashtags, photo frames, and backgrounds. Beyond just simple product identification cards, create food storyboards that highlights ingredient sourcing information or sustainability features.
An international street food station concept is an excellent platform for incorporating today’s hottest trends from global flavors, handheld snack foods, dietary needs, and even sustainability practices. Bring it all together with a great food story and a photogenic display to create a fun, entertaining, and engaging event.