The 15 Best Food Trends Of 2022

Food is a great adventure. It helps you discover new preferences, enjoy different cultures, and experience the world through our most delectable sense: taste. Moreover, so much exploration can happen without even leaving your home. Social media certainly has its flaws, but one of the best parts about our interconnected online networks is the way people share experiences to create this very phenomenon. Through viral TikTok videos and learning about regional favorites through great culinary television, there are so many ways a food trend can experience a revival or reinvention.

This year, salad became the star of the meal, floral lattes warmed our caffeine-loving hearts, tea found its way into our cocktails, milk appeared in our soda, and whole-fish dining washed ashore. The best food trends of 2022 also helped us expand our horizons and learn about culture through taste. And while some trends are not as appealing (we're looking at you, caviar bumps and fake sweeteners) some were unexpectedly delicious.

Whole fish is making a splash on menus

Though whole fish is a regular on menus in Korea, China, and other parts of the world, it is a newer celebrity on menus in the United States. In China, for example, you'll find whole fish at celebrations like weddings and holidays. The year 2022 brought whole fish dishes to the menu across the country, but most especially in New York City, with several high-profile restaurants serving whole fish in a range of styles on the menu. Perhaps in the ever-evolving age of social media, the idea of being served a fish in its entirety isn't too far-fetched since it creates such an exciting and attractive plate.

Not only that, but cooking the whole fish creates far less food waste. After all, depending on the way it is cooked, all parts of the fish can be eaten. Even, in some cases, the bones. Due to consumers' inclination to become more sustainable, coupled with the desire for quality social media content, this meal option was certainly a popular one.

Pack a punch with hibiscus

The beautiful hibiscus flower was a flavor trend in 2022. Though you wouldn't eat the pretty flower right off your mother's flower bushes, the hibiscus has quite a history as an edible plant. So, instead, you'll enjoy the part of the pant that helps hold on to the flower's petals. This is called the "calyx." Now found in teas, cocktails, and desserts, this flower was considered a fever reducer by ancient Egyptians and a common ingredient for remedies in Eastern medicine.

Exploring hibiscus further, you'll see that its flavor profile changes based on its preparation. With everything from a sweet to even spicier flavor, hibiscus is very versatile. To begin exploring hibiscus, consider preparing Bolis de Jamaica, a refreshing and frozen drink hailing from Mexico. This slushy treat is a great way to try out this flavor trend and discover a new treat. If you're not ready to dive headfirst into trying hibiscus, consider opting to use it for a garnish, and you'll still be on trend.

Try a salted egg for your next snack

International snacks quickly become new trends in the United States. The salted egg, for example, is easily prepared, can be added as a kind of condiment, and tastes especially great when grated like parmesan cheese. Salted eggs are simply the egg yolks that are cured using sugar and salt. This process happens over the course of a few days while this delicious snack hangs out in your refrigerator. By salt-curing the yolk in this way, the texture gets a little hard.

These have an especially salty and umami taste to them, and, recently, have found their way into American cuisine as a snack. For pre-made snacks that include the salty egg flavor, check out the international food areas of your favorite grocery store. This is also a fun place to find popular flavors from around the world to explore new, delicious options for you and your family.

Floral lattes are as pretty as they are delicious

Coffee and tea trends seem to constantly rotate, thanks to Starbucks' seasonal menus and social media, and while different flavors make their rounds, floral lattes maybe some of the prettiest coffee drinks that we've seen this year.

Several floral ingredients will kick your latte up a notch: Lavender syrup adds a calming feel to your morning coffee, and though it may be a little bitter, a nice sweetener like honey would help even mellow that taste. We recommend using oat milk in your lattes to maintain the plant-based foundation of the drink.

To make these perfectly pretty lattes, steep milk with floral extract and other syrups before mixing it with espresso. Alternatively, you may find floral lattes topped with edible flowers that have been dried before adding them to the drink. Dried lavender atop an oat milk lavender, honey latte would make a charming option.

Upscale Nigerian dining becomes a popular dining destination

There Is such a diversity of flavors available in American restaurants. In 2022, Nigerian dining became a new favorite offering. For example, LA Eater offers Chef Tolu's Erogbogbo's Nigerian tasting menu at his West African pop-up, called Ilé, as a dining destination. The ingredients arrive each month sourced from Nigeria, and though Chef Erogbogbo recognizes that the ingredients he brings in could be found within the confines of California, sourcing from outside the city and state creates a more authentic and unique experience for diners.

Out east, you'll find Tatiana. This restaurant comes down from James Beard Award-acclaimed Chef Kwame Onwuachi. Restaurant Business explains that it is meant to draw inspiration from his childhood. Tatiana brings together Nigerian flavors as well as those from New York and Louisiana. You'll enjoy such dishes as Nigerian Red Stew and gumbo. Be sure to save room for the dessert, which will have you enjoying a glazed honeybun with delicious accompaniments.

Raise a cup to tea-based cocktails

Though there are plenty of great cocktail trends that made a comeback this year, we found the tea cocktail trend the most interesting and accessible. Tea-infused cocktails offer a somewhat dry taste to a cocktail that can still be dressed up with other ingredients. For an ultra-simple tea cocktail, steep tea in your gin. The botanicals of the gin will fuse together beautifully. Add some lemon to brighten it up and add that fresh taste. 

If you would prefer, you can accomplish a similar effect by steeping water with tea, leaving it to cool, and adding gin to that tea. This will, obviously, create a cocktail with a little less of a gin taste since the water will help dilute it. Alternatively, if your winter is especially cold, add in tea to that already warm hot toddy drink that is sure to warm you from the inside out.

Try out Tlayudas for a fantastic Mexican dish

Mexican tortilla flatbread, or Tlayudas, is essentially a street food from Mexico. It's a big, fried toasted tortilla with toppings like refried beans, lettuce, cheese, and salsa. If you're trying these out on your own, be sure not to let the tortilla toast for too long before putting it in your oven. Tasting Table's own recipe includes a delicious carrot salsa, toasted seeds, and herb salad. This would make an excellent light lunch as well as the perfect dish to serve up for entertaining. After all, being on trend has a way of also being delicious.

You can also get creative by adding potatoes for extra carb comfort. Dennis Food Service counts Tlayudas as a global flavor that's making a serious comeback in 2022. If you're looking for great Tlayudas, and happen to be in dining in Houston, check out Xochi, a location we've identified as one of the best Mexican food joints in the country.

Get fancy with European butter

While we think the popular butter board was one of the worst food trends in 2022, we are absolutely fans of high-quality butter. You may wonder how European butter is different from American butter: The difference, primarily, exists in the contrast of butterfat. European butter has over 82% butterfat, but American butter has 80%. This increase in butterfat, as well as processing techniques, creates a tangier flavor in European butter.

While there are many different fancy butter brands out there, we certainly have our favorites. Rodolphe Le Meunier, for example, comes from Loire Valley with milk from French farms using a wooden, classic butter churn. We also love Bordier butter, which gets kneaded by hand and even takes longer to create when compared to other traditional butter. But, France doesn't have a lock on butter in Europe. From Britain, the Devon Cream Company offers a lightly salted butter that has a soft and even smooth feel.

Sip on an espresso martini

Like so many fads of the '90s, the espresso martini is back, thanks to its innately photogenic characteristics. In the hands of a talented bartender, an espresso martini creates one pretty drink. A base recipe for the espresso martini is the combination of vodka with espresso and coffee liqueur, but there are a slew of incredible espresso martinis in the U.S., and they love playing with different ingredients.

In Washington D.C., for example, A Sip Above the Rest uses rum to add a different kick and flavor profile to this already adventurous drink. Absolut is even getting in on the martini trend by collaborating with Nikolas Bentel for a purse in the shape of a beautiful espresso martini. The handbag designer has a stake in this game because they love this classic drink, too, and created the purse to celebrate diversity and uniqueness. This coupe glass bag is playful and a perfect tribute to this revitalized trend. Of course, you can also make an espresso martini at home.

Negroni Sbagliato became the drink of choice

TikTok offers its users short videos that often include viral quotes. Bloomberg explains that one of these recent videos is that of two actors from the popular HBO show "House of the Dragon" sharing their favorite drinks. In the audio, Emma D'Arcy explains that her drink of choice is the classic Negroni sbagliato recipe.

Typically, this drink includes Campari with vermouth and prosecco. Now, St. Agrestis offers a pre-made version. In the bottle, you'll enjoy a mix of St. Agrestis Inferno Bitter Aperitivo with vermouth, as well as some prosecco. Bubbly and dry, St. Agrestis also describes this drink as being bittersweet and heavy on herbs. St. Agrestis was able to offer this drink so quickly because it created the recipe in 2018, then deferred its creation because the variation on the negroni cocktail wasn't popular enough. Well, due to that TikTok sound, the negroni sbagliato is beginning to rake in the fans and expedite this drink's bottled release.

Chicago's favorite sandwich is having a moment

Nothing can create that belly aching, stirring, turning, craving quite like a television show. And for Chicago's favorite Italian beef sandwich, that is exactly what happened. Any Illinoisan will tell you that Chicago knows how to do Italian beef, and any Chicagoan will tell you which corner shop has their favorite. Now, though, this sandwich is gaining a following from the rest of the country.

Due to its prominent feature in the Hulu show titled "The Bear," fans are being introduced to, and seduced by, this savory sandwich. According to Jeff Mauro, Chicago native and co-host of "The Kitchen," the culinary drama, in effect, legitimized this sandwich that Chicagoans have long loved. While the city offers a whole slew of places to find this sandwich, the Chicago Tribune says that the best can be found at Al's No. 1 Beef, and the difference is all in the meat seasonings.

Grinder salad sandwiches make the perfect lunch

The Italian Beef isn't the only sandwich finding a fan base this year. The grinder salad sandwich has people all over the country packing all sorts of delicious veggies onto crispy bread. To make a grinder, the first thing you'll need is a great hoagie roll hat that will allow plenty of crunch. No Wonder bread here, please.

Then, inside the hoagie, add in your mixture of banana peppers, lettuce, and onion that have been tossed in a dressing mixture. For that, you'll need mayo mixed with red wine vinegar for some tartness, garlic for a little kick, oregano to deepen the flavor, and chili flakes, if you're up to it. Stuff all that goodness into the hoagie. This simple plant-based sandwich went viral because it's an outstanding balance of flavors and is relatively easy to make. Not to mention, it's another excellent way to get in those veggies.

Dirty sodas are unexpectedly delicious

Dirty soda is essentially the combination of soda with fruit, syrup, and dairy. Together, the combination creates a "dirty soda," and though much of the United States may have been unaware that this combination even existed, thanks to places like Swig, home of the original dirty soda, and TikTok, this drink is becoming one popular beverage.

As Swig explains, the business started when its founder, Nicole Tanner, came up with the idea for a drink shop people would drive right up to. It brings to mind classic soda shops when kids and their parents would belly up to their favorite soda fountain counter. As of writing, there are currently 45 locations of Swig across Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas, with a promise of more coming soon. The combinations are seemingly endless, with soda as a base and the choice between an incredible number of syrups and purees. And to accommodate different palates, Swig also offers coconut creme in place of half and half.

Enter the world of celebrity chefs

Chefs are not born great, they are made. It takes time and commitment, and plenty of training. Not to mention a love of food. In 2022, we saw a major food television boom, thanks to all the different ways people now have to consume media. Between competition shows, dramas, and even kids' shows, 2022 was not short on old favorites returning and newcomers entering the genre.

While we always love any good food show, there certainly are some stand-out food shows in 2022. "Waffles & Mochi," for example, offers puppet characters alongside former first lady Michelle Obama in a worldwide adventure in cooking. If you're searching for something even more travel infused, consider "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" from CNN, where the host, Stanley Tucci, explores various regions' history and flavors. Of course, "Top Chef" returned for another season, and if you're looking for a great cooking competition classic, this is the perfect bet. On the other hand, if you want a good laugh and a light-hearted show, "Nailed It" features novice bakers attempt to complete elaborate Pinterest-inspired creations. Need to feel good about your baking skills? This is the show for you.

The Green Goddess Salad is obsession-worthy

Though delicious, salads can sometimes be a little boring. And if you're not a fan of vegetables, they can be downright torturous. However, Baked By Melissa's Green Goddess Salad recipe went viral in 222 and forever changed many viewers' opinions on what a salad could taste like. The salad consists of finely diced veggies to create an easy-to-eat salad. The sauce is a combination of flavors, including nutritional yeast, shallot, walnuts, cashews, and even more greenery. In the end, the salad is so finely chopped and saucy you could even eat tortilla chips with it like a thick salsa.

We can imagine how this salad could become your go-to lunch, and if you haven't had a chance to give it a try yet, we highly recommend it. A word of warning, however: You're going to be cutting for a while, so put something good on tv while you chop, and allow yourself to enjoy the process.