It’s poke, man: the ultimate hipster-food glossary

Know your khachapuri from your Kalettes with our handy guidebook to the coolest, most obscure and sometimes ludicrous food trends

Modern food moves at a bewildering pace. Where once, influences from superstar cooks would disseminate slowly and new products could take years to establish themselves, today rare ingredients and new dishes can proliferate online, globally, virtually instantly. On Instagram, a coalition of food nerds not just cooks, but( amateur) bakers, baristas, brewers and artisan producers are making a creative craze of new ideas and potential break-out trends.

It is exhausting. It is arousing. The notions are often ludicrous. Yet foods craving for the new is currently insatiable. The next menu you read will invariably be filled with words such as kefir( a fermented milk drink) or tsukune( Japanese chicken meatballs) that would stump all but the most painfully cool of diners. But, fear not. Together we can make sense of this head-spinning, from time to time stomach-turning world with this, the ultimate hipster food glossary.

A unicorn-style rainbow cake. Photograph: Ian O’Leary/ Getty Images/ Dorling Kindersley


If you thought the freakshake was peak infantilisation for modern food, suppose again. Unicorn is all about turning cakes, bakes, shakes and even the occasional toastie into eye-watering, multicoloured monstrosities, utilizing a rainbow of food dyes, sprinkles( known as unicorn food ), edible glistens and tiny marshmallows. It has already spread( like devastating wildfire? contagious disease ?) across Instagram and Pinterest, to, last month, ITVs This Morning. At least, that cookery item was aimed at mothers entertaining their kids at half-term, instead of ostensibly functioning adults who take this cutesy-wutesy, cartoon nonsense seriously.

Jackfruit. Photo: Getty Images/ iStockphoto


Whopping great south-east Asian fruit being pulled hither and thither as vegetarians recognise its fibrous potential as an alternative to pork. Try the pulled BBQ jackfruit subs at Edinburghs Paradise Palms. Suppose: dude food without the crisis of masculinity.

Barbecued calecots and peppers. Photo: Getty Images/ iStockphoto


An overgrown Catalan spring onion or is it the Iberian leek? Either route, abruptly visible in ambitious UK eateries where we heathens often eat the whole thing , not just the sweet white bulb, usually charred and eaten dipped in romesco. Brindisas traditional calotada feast is served in London throughout March.


Wine! Would you simply stand still for a minute! No sooner had we got our collective head around orange wine( grapes fermented skin-on for greater intricacy ), natural wine( minimal chemical/ mechanical intervention) and biodynamic wine( hippy, mumbo-jumbo wine) than up pops low-tech pt-nat or ptillant naturale a subset of softly sparkling, cloudy wines bottled midway through their first wild fermenting, to create raw, exciting plonk. Or unpredictable rubbish. Depending on your POV.

Kalettes. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo


Hispi( cabbage) and crosnes( tiny Chinese artichokes) ran it close, but if you want to name-drop a fashionable vegetable this season, it has to be Kalettes, a trademarked kale/ brussels sprout crossbreed that produces sprout-sized kale cabbages. Believe of it as the new plango( the plum-mango hybrid) or a sequel to the cronut( the croissant-doughnut )~ ATAGEND. Merely less fun.

Turbo G& T

A G& T spiked with cold-brew coffee, which everyone( OK, the style mags after it blew up on Insta ), is scream, the new espresso martini. Try a CBGT at the Mondrian hotel, London.

Cacao nibs

The in-crowd love to shroud trendy ingredients in linguistic mystery. Hence why these unprocessed shards of what we used to blithely call cocoa beans are now referred to by their Spanish name( were obtained from the Aztec language, Nahuatl ). These bitter, chocolatey pieces are scattered across everything from porridge to Michelin-star desserts.

Miso caramel( with ginger ice-cream ). Photograph: Amit Lennon for the Observer

Miso caramel

Salt? Utilizing salt to season food? What are you, a barbarian? No. All the cool kids now use miso, with miso caramel( the new, super-charged salted caramel ), promising to be its big, crossover make. You get the salinity but with added umami, attaining it more savoury and complex, says cook Nick Grieves, who employs it with desserts at his Newcastle restaurant, the Patricia.


Instagram-driven idiocy( do you insure a topic emerging ?) that for reasons unknown has ensure craft beer fans take to pouring murky beers in a way that leaves the glass brim-full with zero head. Result: the beer appears horribly flat and is impossible to drink.

Turmeric latte. Photo: Getty Images/ iStockphoto

Golden milk

The clean-eating cabal is genuinely pushing turmerics health benefits, often in the form of this blend of nut milk and turmeric root, also known as a turmeric latte. Writing for Food5 2, Mayukh Sen concluded: Its a hideously nasty drink. He pointed out that in India, this bitter concoction( in Hindi, haldi doodh) is used to nurse sick children. Essentially, this is a Calpol cappuccino. But mystical. And romantic. Because ayurveda, yeah?

Pok. Photo: Alamy Stock Photo


The collective term for various colourful, soy-dressed Hawaiian raw fish salads, pok( verses with OK , not bloke) is big news in London, at the likes of Island Pok and Ahi. It has yet to make serious inroads outside the capital. Make of that what you will.

Matcha Mille crepe cake

Multi-layered flapjack n cream stack infused and/ or dusted with vivid green matcha tea. Suppose: the Incredible Hulk does Bake Off. Does it savor nice? No idea. But it looks stunning on Instagram, which, in 2017, is far more important.

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