USA: Opinion: Food Trends We’d Like To See More (or Less) of in 2011

By Ron Beigel Long Island Press

Ron would like to see more Halal trucks, like this one in Manhattan, open for business on the streets of Long Island.

More Variety in Asian Food

We’ve made great progress in the last decade in the area of Asian food on Long Island. Better-than-average sushi abounds and every town has a Thai food restaurant. And even though there are no Malaysian or Vietnamese restaurants anymore, Pan-Asian places offer a small sampling of those cultures’ most common dishes with an Indonesian dish thrown in for good measure. But we need Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches, ramen noodles in rich pork broth and more authentic Chinese cuisines from different regions.
More Food Trucks, Less Boring Hot Dog Trucks
Some of our ubiquitous hot dog trucks are elevating the form with a wide variety of toppings but we need at least a few taco trucks like in L.A., and a Halal chicken truck like the ones seemingly on every corner in Manhattan.
Dish-Centric Restaurants
NYC has all kinds of small operations that specialize in one item like the Meatball Shop, S’Mac (macaroni and cheese) and This Little Piggy (roast beef). We have hot dog stands and sandwich shops.
A Batali/Bastianich restaurant
Is it too much to ask these guys to bless us with a trattoria like the Tarry Lodge in Portchester? The Hamptons await.
More Authentic Mexican, Less ’Rita and Fajita Joints
Access to real tacos is better than it used to be but, with a few exceptions, most of our Mexican restaurants are of the ’rita and fajita variety. We need the real deal, or even a New Mexican, Southwestern joint with green or red chili-based dishes.
A More Well-Rounded Suburb
I mourn the passing of the two Krispy Kreme shops that shuttered last year but it’s with a certain morbid curiosity that I look forward to the opening of the first Long Island branch of the fast food giant Sonic in Deer Park. While French Toast Sticks do nothing for me, I admit to being a bit intrigued by Chili Cheese Tots and Cherry Limeade as late night munchies if nothing else. But the advent of the first outpost has me wondering what all the popularity is about. Is this what the obese middle American is getting fat on? In the meantime, Popeyes’ Louisiana Kitchen has plans to expand with their peppery fried chicken and a revamped menu of Cajun-inspired sides. Cheeburger Cheeburger has tentative plans to re-open in Port Washington and elsewhere, while Jake’s Wayback Burger, a personal favorite, which started out in a roadside shack near the University of Delaware in Newark, is set to add East Northport and East Meadow locations to the one in Massapequa. Long Islanders can now have a Grand Slam breakfast in both counties with the opening last year of Denny’s in Centereach and Levittown. These openings, for better or for worse, make us more well-rounded, and I’m not just speaking of our bodies.