Six hot food trends you might see

in Lehigh Valley for 2018

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Bye, bye pumpkin spice. Hello, avocado toast.

2018 promises to be full of interesting food trends — many of which you’ll find right here in the Lehigh Valley and a few you’ll find when you travel to New York or Philly.

The trend predictions come from the National Restaurant Association, which conducts a survey every year of top chefs across the country on which food, cuisine, beverage and culinary themes will be on their menus in the coming year.

We went through the list and picked out a tasty half dozen for you to savor.

Peruvian cuisine

Blend Spanish, Basque, African, Asian, French, Italian and British cuisines, and you have Peruvian food.

You’ll find most Peruvian dishes full of bold flavor using common ingredients such as corn, beans, tomatoes, a rainbow assortment of potatoes and other tubers, quinoa, chili peppers and exotic fruits.

If you’re interested in checking out what Peruvian food is all about, you can try El Buen Gusto, 442 N. Eighth St. in Allentown. It opened last month.

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Avocado toast

Here’s a trendy dish that’s continuing its meteoric rise. Start with toasted bread and slather it with creamy seasoned avocado. You can go simple or enjoy it topped with a poached egg, feta cheese and more.

Among the Valley restaurants serving this dish is the Flying Egg in Bethlehem, which features two avocado toast dishes. One is avocado, poached egg and sliced red pepper; the other features turmeric tofu, smashed avocado, cherry tomatoes and cilantro.

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Thai-rolled ice cream

Here’s a trend that needs to come to the Lehigh Valley.

This dish is made of tight rolls of ice cream packed into a cup, then topped with all manner of delicious adornments such as candies, hot fudge and coconut. It’s popular in major cities and college towns.

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Doughnuts with non-traditional fillings

Take a doughnut and fill it to the brim with Earl Grey cream, vodka custard or passion fruit liqueur. These doughnuts from another dimension can be found at some shops in Chicago as well as other major cities. (Most of our doughnut shops stick to traditional fillings and that’s fine by me.)

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House-made condiments

When I saw this on the list, I was reminded of the Trapp Door Gastropub in Emmaus. I always thought of ketchup as a pointless condiment until I tried it at the Trapp Door. The restaurant makes its own and it is amazing. House-made condiments can take a meal to another level.

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Locally produced spirits/wine/beer

Diners want on-site barrel-aged drinks and locally produced wine, spirits and craft beer, according to the National Restaurant Association. This is a trend that fits the Valley to a T. We have award-winning wine, produced from grapes grown here, new craft breweries popping up every month along with our veteran brewers and numerous grain-to-glass distilleries.

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Not-as-hot trends

Inevitably trends wane in popularity. On the association’s list of yesterday’s news are:

* Meals in mason jars

* Offal

* Bitter melon

* Algae

* Spiralized vegetables

* Pumpkin spice (thank goodness)