These are 2018’s most popular ingredients, according to four celebrity chefs

2018’s ‘it’ foods, shortlisted by chefs of Michelin-starred restaurants, include fruit, buckwheat, and suckling pig.

Rainbow food, freakshakes, and the perennial avocado toast – it’s been quite a year for food on our Instagram feeds.

Ahead of next week’s Great Food Festival in Singapore, Business Insider asked four celebrity chefs for their thoughts on which ingredient is this year’s most popular – and which could spark next year’s big trend.

‘Forgotten’ Grains

Mr Douglas Tay, head chef of one-Michelin-starred Osia Steak and Seafood Grill, said ancient grains like quinoa, bulghur, and buckwheat are trending again.

“Previously, you’d never hear of people eating these grains,” he said. “But these ingredients have existed for many years, and they’re getting more popular as people get exposed and are educated on what they are.”

Fermented vegetable juices

Chef Tay – a Culinary Olympics gold-medallist – said another dish back in trend is fermented vegetable juices, which include fermented apple and orange juice, or even kimchi and sauerkraut juice.

He added: “Like grains, the technique of fermenting juices has been in use for hundreds of years. But in the past few years, the world – Europe especially – has taken a very active interest in these juices. They’re definitely making a comeback.”

Fresh fruit

Mr Joe Leong, junior sous chef at one-Michelin-starred Forest, said that fresh, seasonal fruits are his candidate for the ‘it’ ingredient of 2018.

“We see that people are starting to cut back on very salty and sweet foods, and go for natural ingredients, like fruits, and especially fruits that are in season,” he said, adding that this demand for fruit dishes is likely to continue for the next few years.


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Chef Leong, who trained as a pastry and dessert chef, also offered another potential candidate for an upcoming ingredient: kaya (coconut jam).

“Kaya could be the new green tea,” he said. “People might be making a lot of desserts with kaya.”

Suckling Pig

Chef Benjamin Halat, who has worked in numerous Michelin-starred restaurants and is now resident chef at Curate, a restaurant that rotates Michelin-starred guest chefs, said this year’s most popular ingredient is pork – cooked in the form of suckling pig.

He said that many restaurants and pop-up shops are serving this dish now.


Renowned pastry chef Andres Fatso – of 40,000-follower Instagram fame – thinks ube (purple yam) – a primarily Filipino ingredient – is insanely popular thanks to Western palates.

“In Asia, people know about ube already, but people in Western countries are just learning to love it. They’re still exploring and understanding the flavour of that root, that plant-based ingredient,” she says. “It’s popping up a lot in Australia.”

Ube desserts are already a big thing in America and Europe.

Salted Egg Yolk

Baker Fatso also observed that for cakes, in particular, salted egg yolk could be a big upcoming trend.

“We already know of salted egg dishes, but salted egg yolk isn’t seen much in cakes,” she said.

“I think it might become a cake trend: sprinkled in cakes, cooked in cakes. That’s something I can see in the next year to come.”