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

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

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

It is exhausting. It is exciting. 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 drinking) 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, at times 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, think again. Unicorn is all about turning cakes, cooks, shakes and even the occasional toastie into eye-watering, multicoloured monstrosities, employing 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. Photograph: 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 style, suddenly visible in ambitious UK restaurants where we pagans often feed the whole thing , not just the sweet white bulb, usually charred and feed dipped in romesco. Brindisas traditional calotada feast is served in London throughout March.


Wine! Would you merely stand still for a minute! No sooner had we got our collective head around orange wine( grapes fermented skin-on for greater complexity ), 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 fermentation, 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. Think of it as the new plango( the plum-mango hybrid) or a sequel to the cronut( the croissant-doughnut )~ ATAGEND. Only 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 call, the new espresso martini. Try a CBGT at the Mondrian hotel, London.

Cacao nibs

The in-crowd loves to shroud trendy ingredients in linguistic mystery. Hence why these unprocessed shards of what we used to merrily call cocoa beans are now referred to by their Spanish name( derived 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? Use 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 hitting. You get the salinity but with added umami, constructing it more savoury and complex, says cook Nick Grieves, who use it with desserts at his Newcastle restaurant, the Patricia.


Instagram-driven idiocy( do you see a topic emerging ?) that for reasons unknown has considered crafts brew fans take to pouring murky beers in such a way that leaves the glass brim-full with zero head. Outcome: the beer looks horribly flat and is impossible to drink.

Turmeric latte. Photo: Getty Images/ iStockphoto

Golden milk

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

Pok. Photo: Alamy Stock Photo


The collective word for various colorful, 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. Guess: the Unbelievable Hulk does Bake Off. Does it taste nice? No idea. But it appears stunning on Instagram, which, in 2017, is far more important.

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