What they ate this month: Mintel analysts’ food adventures (October 2018)

October 23, 2018
4 min read

In this series, Mintel analysts share their recent food adventures, highlighting the exciting, the delicious, the intriguing and the terrible food and drink they’ve experienced lately. This month they’ve gone through a real food safari, on the quest for authentic world cuisine.

The comfort of Malaysian Laksa

Ayisha Koyenikan, Global Food and Drink Analyst (London)

“I’ve finally tried authentic Malaysian Laksa at Sambal Shiok in London – after operating as a pop up for years, this is their first venture into bricks and mortar. The place has had rave reviews and has been overwhelmed by how many keen consumers want a taste of ‘The Real Thing’ when it comes to Laksa. Having only tried ready meal versions of Laksa that were a bit ‘lacking’, I was delighted by the complex layers of flavour that came through from the spicy broth. It looks really rich and creamy, but it isn’t at all fatty or heavy. I chose the fancy version with chicken, puffs of tofu and fat juicy prawns, and wasn’t disappointed! I’d definitely go back – if we can beat the queues.”

The crispiness of Lebanese manousheh

Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, Global Food Analyst (Chicago)

Manousheh is a counter service spot serving authentic Lebanese manakish (singular: manousheh or manou’she) in New York’s West Village. They serve puffy, crispy, thin flatbreads that are filled and folded or wrapped for a handheld breakfast or lunch sandwich. I stopped by while in town for the Skift Restaurants Forum and and ordered the Cocktail Manousheh. It’s topped with half za’atar (a mix of dried thyme, sumac and sesame seeds) and half jibneh (a kind of cheese). It was soft with a nice crunch around the edges and paired well with a side salad of avocado, tomato, cucumber, olives, more za’atar, sumac, and whole mint leaves. It was delicious and ‘d love to go back and try other items, including their sweet manakish.

The surprise of ackee, vegan alternative to eggs

Trish Caddy, UK Foodservice Analyst (London)

“I recently had brunch at The Vurger Co in London’s Shoreditch, a vegan restaurant whose mission is to revolutionise fast food through the power of plants. When it comes to vegan scrambled ‘eggs’, the most common alternative has been mashed tofu made from soy beans. I was surprised to find instead ackee, a fruit native to West Africa, with a yellowish flesh akin to the appearance and consistency of scrambled eggs. Ackee’s buttery and nutty flavour worked well alongside the baked beans in tomato sauce, potato rösti and vegan sausages (made with sage-scented stuffing) for this vegan brunch dish. I think we’ll start seeing more venues using ackee as a main ingredient in its own right.”

The stretch of booza ice cream

Michael Averbook, US Food & Drink Analyst (Chicago)

“You may have come across videos on social media of booza, a Middle Eastern ice cream that gets stretched and pulled by skillful ‘juggler-servers’. I had a chance to try it at Republic of Booza in New York. The ice cream parlour serves this frozen treat that requires no cream or eggs, instead using milk, mastic sap, and salep, which makes it somewhat solid and sticky. Booza isn’t churned, but rather it is pounded, pulled, stretched, and twirled around, and it doesn’t melt as quickly in high temperatures. I really liked it as it delivered the delicious flavors I come to expect from ice cream, but with a unique texture that I haven’t had in a frozen treat before. I would relate the texture somewhat to burrata. A lot of the flavors they offered were very unique and globally inspired which I thought was fun. I ended opting for a salted cookies and cream flavor after sampling a few varieties.”

The nutty taste of black hummus

Edward Bergen, Global Food and Drink Analyst (London)

“I made black hummus for a party! I used black sesame tahini rather than regular tahini; the hummus was quite smooth and had a nuttier taste and mouthfeel. Very similar to mixing peanut butter into hummus. I’d definitely do it again – it was such good theatre created for the guests, as the hummus ends up a black charcoal colour.”

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