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4 ways to add Korean flavor to food service menu items

Using the bold, spicy-sweet-acidic flavors of the Korean food playbook, onsite chefs from Centerplate, Aramark and Penn State University work in familiar formats like bowls, tacos, sandwiches and appetizers, infusing those menu items with serious trendsetting flavor.

For the first time, restaurant review site Yelp used its data to predict food trends for the coming year. From a list of words and phrases growing the fastest and most significantly between 2018 and 2019 with users, Yelp trend experts found Korean cuisine and Korean barbecue “seeing a surge in popularity and we expect it to be a top cuisine of 2020.”

While Korean barbecue could indeed be the gateway, onsite chefs are incorporating Korean ingredients like kimchi, dried seaweed, gochujang, sesame oil and more.

These Korean flavors are showing up paired with classics (hello, kimchi hot dogs and hamburgers with gochujang aioli), as attention-grabbing appetizers and even as part of mashups with other trends, such as Korean fried chicken and waffles. The flavors are bold, tangy, spicy, salty and sweet, hitting all the right notes to give customers’ taste buds a wakeup call. Here’s how onsite operators at Centerplate, Aramark and colleges are implementing the hot trend.

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