Top 15 Bay Area Food Trends of 2015

12:43:00 PM

french fries and pork belly

Countdown-- 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1

As the final hours of 2015 wind down, let’s take this time to recap the Top 15 Bay Area Food Trends of 2015.

Word of Caution: Because I live in the South Bay, this will most definitely skew towards the 408. 

1. The Boba Craze

Can’t stop. Won’t stop. We are breaking all the boundaries when it comes to this milk tea wave. Everybody from their moms to their cousins are hopping on the milk tea wagon. Even the local Cold Stone Creamery is trying to get a sip of this bubble tea madness. What’s next? Will I see boba at Disneyland? Boba drinks dedicated to Boba Fett?

2. Mad About Macarons

Ice Box: Macaron Ice Creams

We had cupcakes. We had donuts. Enter the macaron. Building off from the hype last year, the macaron game grows in strength thanks to boutiques like Chantal Guillon, Tout Sweet Patisserie, Ice Box, and more. We also can’t count out the local players like HoDo Macarons & Tea and the home bakers like Sweet Events and Fancy Flavors  that are making a name for themselves.

3. Gotta Catch ‘Em All-- Poké

You ask an average person about poké last year and they might be able to give you some vague answer about fish. Now you ask about poké and they’ll direct you to their favorite place in the Bay Area. BYOPB (Build your own poké bowl) is taking off rapidly during the last half of 2015 and at the rate that these shops are popping up, I don’t see it stopping any time soon.

4. Wildly Anticipated Openings

Boiling Point.
If you, your family, friends, or any of your coworkers are foodies, Gen Korean BBQ, Boiling Point, Koi Palace and Din Tai Fung aren’t foreign terms in your vocabulary. Or if you’re anything like my family, these words are constantly name dropped into our conversation. You know the South Bay knows where the hype is. If the lines prove any point. Which brings me to #5.

5. Long Ass Lines

It’s always a waiting game at popular restaurants in the Bay Area. Nothing says love like measuring your patience to wait for a table. I think my record this year goes to Kiraku in Berkeley, CA for an incredibly 2 hours. But for others, this reward might go to the highly anticipated SoCal Korean BBQ joint: Gen.

6. Create Your Own-- Everything

Spuds: Build your own baked potato
“You name it and we will make it,” is the phrase of the year. From macaron ice cream, burgers, burritos, boba, pizza, poké, sushi and etc, this year, we saw customization and creativity brought to another level. There’s no such thing as an impossible combination-- only a bad one.

7. Personal Size


Well Joey, great news! You don’t have to! This year, it’s all about your personal hot pots and pizza, Visit places like Boiling Point, H.I.T and Tasty Pot for your hot pot fix and head over to Pieology, Blaze Pizza and MOD Pizza for your own pie.

8. Food Trucks, Festivals & Food Festivals

Food is KING and people in the Bay Area know that really well. We went crazy over Ramen at the Ramen Festival. Transformed into a boba monster at the Boba Festival. Feasted with the strongest at the Bacon & Beer Festival. Sampled all the beer at Oktoberfest. Hung out with food trucks and ate until we couldn’t move at the weekly Moveable Feast. Drank our fill of hot chocolate at Christmas in the Park. May the local festivals scene be ever in our favor!

9. Acai Bowls

One of the foodie health kick of the year is the highly shrouded Acai Bowls! They started popping up on my radar, but you know it’s mainstream when Jamba Juice starts carrying them. Sweet, but slightly tart, the Acai puree is a nice snack paired with sliced fruit, granola and honey. As for whether it’s actually healthy for you, I’ll leave that to the experts.

10. Cold-Pressed Juice
Another big one from the “health kick” list of this year is cold-pressed juicing. It was quite popular during the start of this year, but there are signs that the trend is fading towards the tail-end of this year. It’s a trend I can’t really understand or get behind, but I have, at one point, forked over money just to try out a bottle. Not impressed. So I’m glad this is fading away next year.

11. Ramen

Still going strong. There seems to be a new shop opening every month in this area, while the strong contenders like Orenchi, Kotetsu and Ramen Dojo remain just as popular with crowd. Now can we get some of the big honchos in SoCal to open a store up here?

12. Tapas All Around!
While some restaurants have take it upon themselves to offer personal portions, other restaurants decide to expand their menu to offer smaller plates for a cheaper price so that groups can try out more of the menu and share.

13. Communal Tables
A carry-on from 2014, communal tables continue to grow in cafes and bar/lounges settings. Essentially the idea is to promote interaction between strangers and mimic a homely/friendly atmosphere. Say, take the awkwardness of trying to chat with someone at the bar.

14. Food with a Story
We want to eat at a place that holds a purpose. Perhaps, it’s a Millennial idea or what have you, but knowing who you’re supporting, what you’re eating and how everything from the table settings to the menu is meticulously picked out gives you a sense of appreciation. When we know the story behind the food and presentation, we’re more likely to enjoy our meal.

15. Brunch it Up

Trends of 2015 will not be complete without mentioning brunch. Whether it’s a old fashioned American brunch at local favorites like Bill’s Cafe and Scramblz or at a Chinese restaurant for Dim Sum, Bay Area takes brunch very seriously. And we use that shared time during brunch to have some special downtime with our friends and family.

How is everybody spending their New Year’s Eve? I’m going to be in San Francisco celebrating with a few friends! It’ll be my first time ringing in the new year at a club, so it’ll be an interesting experience.

Also, I jumped onto the Snapchat bandwagon! Follow me (ifyouseekemilie) as I take on my new project: 365 days, 365 meals. Ever wonder what I eat on a daily basis? Well now you can!

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  1. Awesome post and great recap for the year, foodie style. :)