Experts around the world are starting to post their food forecasts for 2018. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest trends that you might encounter on your plate at some point during the coming year, along with some of our own Shanghai specific observations. Floral InfusionsWhile edible flowers have been gracing many a Shanghai dinner plate, we expect floral infusions to blossom their way into lattes, cocktails and desserts around town. The butterfly pea flower was big in 2017, with many utilizing the gorgeous pale purple bloom: WUJIE on the Bund in desserts, Lizzy’s Smoothies latte, Jarajam’s tea and Oriental House’s cocktail. Look for lavender, rose and elderflower on menus this year. Middle Eastern CuisineMiddle Eastern spices and foods are set to become even more popular than before in the west, and given some regional Chinese cuisines share ingredients such as pomegranate, lamb, eggplant, cucumber, mint, sesame paste and dried fruits, we expect this trend to pick up big here. Items such as hummus, kebab, and falafel are already popular as can be evidenced by Eli Falafel opening up to great fanfare just across the street from Brother’s Kebab on Wulumuqi Lu, and Shakshuka on many a breakfast menu. It’s only a matter of time before we start finding stuff like harissa and za’atar at Avocado Lady. Food in CocktailsCooking is no longer just for food, guys. Time and effort is being put into concocting interesting combinations with soups and syrups made on the stove way before work starts at the bar. Barules is one of the bars leading this march with things such as popcorn bee pollen syrup, longan date soup, and chestnut sour milk finding their way into drinks. The Cannery and Sober Society are also getting in on the food-in-drinks action with a Pecorino (washed gin) Negroni and the Blue and Green (blue cheese), respectively.MocktailsWill 2018 finally be the year we all start drinking less alcohol? Whole Foods projects consumers will be drinking tons of plant-based sparkling waters and cold brew coffees and we have already seen a rise in real mocktails (not just fruit juice mixed with soda) at the coolest watering holes around town. We see the most popular ones packing potent, yet balanced punches of flavor, so the alcohol isn’t missed. If nothing else, maybe we will make the switch to the three mocktail lunch? Fermented FoodsGut health has been the buzz word flying around health and wellness circles and we see no signs of that slowing down in 2018. Fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, kombucha and kefir are our first line of defense against the dreaded la du zi in the short run and will help our gut biome flourish in the long run. Kimchi and miso are easy to find at many supermarkets; Kombucha and kefir can both be ordered online on Kate & Kimi. Vegetarian EntreesWe have yet to see jackfruit tacos and cauliflower steaks on menus across the city, but 2018 is surely going to be the year that people start subbing in vegetables and vegetable proteins for a more meat heavy diet. The question is: will that trend hit China? With a growing number of vegetarians and vegans clamoring for dishes they want on menus such as the successful Vegans of Shanghai push for Maya to add a vegan menu, we think the answer is yes. Poke is still Going StrongWhile Little Catch had a huge role in popularizing the Hawaiian raw seafood salad and rice bowl, countless other restaurants such as Hooked and Poke Poke are serving the dish, which shows just how many people like it. That and Little Catch’s expansion from one to three locations show poke is here to stay. We expect more customization and combinations to come from our poke bowls next year. All Day BreakfastBreakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, these days it’s a meal you can eat all day, every day. Breakfast is also the perfect time to eat pork and goodness knows Shanghai loves its pork. We see this trend moving beyond basic Western-style breakfasts to include Asian and Middle Eastern specialties. Let’s get really crazy and start eating dinner for breakfast as well! Rainbow DumplingsWhile dumplings have become popular grab-and-go item for Millennial and Gen Z consumers in the West, Shanghai has taken the classic Chinese treat and given it the rainbow treatment from places like Paradise Dynasty and their colorful xiaolongbao, to the new fusion dumplings at Youjiao dumpling house. More modern and colorful packets of steamy goodness are surely in store for 2018. Seafood, As a SnackPeople love seafood around the world and Shanghai is no exception. In addition to breakfasts like shrimp on grits, tuna sandwiches for lunch and seafood feasts in the evening, we see the tide turning in favor of seafood snacks. This could be a grab-and-go sushi hand roll, or a quick stop-off for a cone of deep fried calamari or popcorn shrimp. CollagenCollagen is basically the protein that makes your hair shiny and your skin supple. While wellness bloggers have started adding powdered collagen to coffee, Shanghai has plenty of collagen broth hotpots as well as collagen boosting foods like red peppers (vitamin C) and tomatoes (lycopene). If you see salmon heads on sale at Field’s, snap one up for the one two punch of omega-3 fatty acids and so much collagen containing gelatin. You will shine bright like a diamond. Spicy AF Spice is on the rise in 2018. With Hot Box catering to all of our hot sauce needs and new restaurants such as Bodertown going above and beyond with house made sauces, chili is so hot right now. And there’s all the yummy Sichuan stuff Fly by Jing is bottling up. In addition, spice boosts both your metabolism and your mood, prevents cancer, lowers blood pressure, and lowers risk of heart attack and stroke. Pass the hot sauce, please. Tart CherriesRunners and triathletes are loving tart cherry powder for its ability to reduce pain and inflammation while the sleep deprived love tart cherry because it is a natural source of melatonin. Sure, a pill is convenient, but we hope to be consuming our cherries chocolate-covered, with bacon, and in pies. We feel better just thinking about it. CassavaPhoto source: www.anthonysgoods.comIn our new, gluten free and low carb obsessed lives, the quest for alternative flours is never ending. Cassava is found in many paleo recipes and is both grain and nut free made from dried cassava root. Part of the reason for its growing popularity is that it behaves more like traditional wheat flour and has a neutral taste. We say anything that can be used to make Brazilian cheese balls is fine by us.Even more FrankenfoodsFrankenfoods are not going anywhere. This year we hear things like sushi croissants are going to be big. We already have burgers in croissants at Bread ETC, poke laksa at Little Catch, and the mad burgers at OH.MY.BURGER, so we can only imagine what food combinations are coming at us in 2018.