Americans are delving deeper than ever before into flavors from around the globe. According to the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot” 2018 list, nine out of the top 20 trends highlight ethnic flavors—including street foods, ethnic-inspired breakfasts, ethnic spices, condiments and more. 

Not surprisingly, foodservice operators and manufacturers are responding and expanding consumers’ palates by marrying ethnic flavors with comforting, familiar concepts. For example, consider kimchi fries, Korean barbecue and sushi burritos for example.

The ethnic aisle is no longer wide enough to contain the growing number of bold, globally-inspired simmer sauces, hot sauces, spice blends and ready-to-eat meal options available to consumers craving something new. Supermarket foodservice operations are adding distinguished ethnic cuisines to stand out from the competition.1

From an ingredient standpoint, it’s clear that hearty ingredients—including potatoes, legumes and poultry—are excellent carriers for ethnic flavors and offer Americans familiarity while exposing them to new spices.

Potatoes are a globally-inspired ingredient that are central to some of the hottest ethnic cuisines, from Indian to Latin to Asian and African.  A blank canvas for creativity, potatoes beautifully absorb flavorful sauces and curries. 

Here are just a few potato applications with global flavor appeal.

African, Middle Eastern Cuisine

North African Tamales: A classic Mexican dish gets a flavor makeover when filled with North African staple ingredients—collard greens, potatoes and farmer’s cheese—and topped with the peppery spice of harissa.

Street Food-Inspired Dishes

Miso Potato Pot Stickers (pictured): Potatoes and miso combine to create a velvety filling.  While inspired by street food, these pot stickers have a complex flavor profile thanks to a White Truffle Shoyu Dipping Sauce.

Ethnic-Inspired Breakfast Items

Okonomiyaki Flapjacks: A Japanese-style vegetable pancake with endless possibilities for creativity, the name loosely translates to “what you like, cooked.”  This version includes potatoes, scallions, eggs, bacon and more.

Peruvian Cuisine

Causa Morada: This classic Peruvian layered potato-and-chicken salad makes a beautiful lunch entrée for the prepared foods counter. Potatoes are a vehicle for trending ethnic flavors that can transport taste buds all across the globe. Visit at Potatoes USA for more details.

Originally appeared in the June, 2018 issue of Prepared Foods as Passport to Global Flavors.

1. Technomic, Inc. “Supermarket Foodservice 2020: The Next Generation of Fresh Prepared Foods.” March 2018.