Everyone is on the qui vive for the next wildly inventive food fad. Who knows, maybe for the next fad even people living here around the global food blog’s mountain redoubt will get a chance to eat/see the exciting new thing. We can all hope.
Remember when there was no Cajun food outside of Louisiana? Probably not. You have to be kind of old to remember when Paul Prudhomme published his first cookbook and the country went crazy for all things Cajun. There was a surfeit of new Cajun restaurants in Chicago and non-Cajun restaurants all had “blackened something” on their menus.
No sooner had the excitement settled into a dull roar than the food press began talking about the “next Cajun.” Would it be Jamaican? Maybe Indian (still waiting). Could it be Middle Eastern? These days we’re thinking that maybe Peruvian could be it. The truth is that nothing has hit the food world quite like Cajun did in 1983 and 84. And don’t tell me Mexican; that just means you’re from the Northeast. And don’t tell me Thai; that predates Cajun in my food timeline.
Then the Cronut came along and, in its own way, became the next Cajun. Sorta. I’m pretty sure the words written about the Cronut out number the count of the people who ate the real thing by a factor of about 10. It spawned the phrase “the next Cronut.”
Speaking of the next Cronut, we’re getting ready to launch CREST Korea, our ongoing foodservice market research. We’ve already done a pilot to prepare for the launch and found that:
1. Koreans (like everyone) like their own food and their own brands. The fast food landscape is dominated by Korean chains.
2. Coffee and Cafes play a larger role in the Korean foodservice market than you might expect.
3. Bakeries? Who knew?…including Paris Baguette, which was recently identified by a US trade mag as being “French.” One look at the place, with the self service, the trays, and the tongs tells you this is Asian, not European.
4. Bulgogi is delightful. OK, that’s not the data talking. That’s me. But it is, 100%, a fact.
So now we and our CREST Korea clients are ready. Data collection will kick off on 1 January and will continue (as I tell everyone) until the end of time; just as is the case in any of the 12 countries where we have a CREST service. This spell of time before launch, no matter how far in advance we start, is always kind of frantic as we review build-after-build of the questionnaire until it’s just right…then we will translate it to Korean and start all over again.
Part of that process is to actually take the questionnaire over and over again to see if it breaks during any sequence of answers. It’s good to have an actual visit to a restaurant in mind when taking the questionnaire or a person can get lost. For the big chains, we present respondents with the chain’s actual menu to tell us what they had to eat or drink.
And, there on Burger King Korea’s menu, as I was testing the questionnaire, were the words “chicken doughnut.” Those two words, chicken and doughnut, together for the first time. You don’t need a good reason to go to Seoul. It’s lovely. And the Koreans do things with chicken that will make you smack your lips.
But if you want a shot at the next big thing? Chicken Doughnuts. ’Nuff said.