2012 San Gabriel Valley Food Trends
The end of the year marks a time to re-evaluate, a time to step back and try to figure out exactly what the heck it was all about. Take for example, the food trends of 2012 in the San Gabriel Valley. We got word out through social media, message boards and e-mail asking those familiar with goings on in the SGV for their thoughts on trends, notable openings and notable closings for the year. With a big thanks to Kristie Hang of the (626) Foodettes website for throwing the net even wider, here is what folks came up with:
Jim Thurman Shen Jian Bao, Shang Ming, San Gabriel
5. Northern, Dongbei, Xibei:
Jim Thurman Chili skewers, Sweethome Grill, San Gabriel
A number of Northern Chinese and Dongbei style restaurants opened this year. Northern style fare seems to be gaining a lot of momentum, while the area might have more Dongbei (Northeast) places than anywhere in the country. The year also saw further opening of places featuring Northwest (Xibei) style - think skewers and handmade noodles -- like Sweethome Grill.
4. Korean BBQ:
Sarah Park Yukhwe Bibimbap at Oo-Kook, coming soon to San Gabriel
Korean BBQ also made further inroads with one BBQ chain opening their first SGV branch this past Saturday while a second chain will follow in January. If anything, as of this writing, this appears to be the upcoming trend of 2013. Aside from a few tofu houses, Korean cuisine has been in short supply in the western SGV. That looks to be rapidly changing.
3. Hot Pots:
bpgroupusa.com Beef hot soup, Boiling Point
Hot pot places also gained traction, with Chinese mega-chain Little Sheep opening their first location in the western San Gabriel Valley and Taiwanese chain Boiling Point expanding. Hot pots are popular no matter the temperature or season, although Winter often sees lines stretching to curbside. And who could say no to a bubbling cauldron of broth with meats, veggies and spices?
2. Teahouses and Boba:
Jim Thurman Almond Milk Boba Tea, Honey Black Tea
The wave of teahouses/boba joints continued unabated, with nearly three times as many opening than closing. All of which once again proves that the tapioca ceiling hasn't yet been hit. What the malt shoppe was to American teens in the 1950's, the teahouse/boba shop is to Asian-American teens in this millennium. Perhaps more significantly, the boba/teahouse wave made further inroads into Pasadena in 2012.