With the Olympics scheduled to land in Tokyo last summer, the host country was all set to appear centre stage, and many predicted that cultural exposure would permeate its way into the world of food too. Obviously, as with many events last year, this impact has been postponed, so we're hoping the planet's biggest sporting event will go ahead and expecting the land of the rising sun to get its moment in the sun in 2021.
One thing seems certain, with travel restrictions seemingly likely to persist throughout most of the coming year in one form or another, your customers will no doubt be looking to experience something exotic whilst staying a little closer to home. Being at the forefront of the hottest flavour trends this year could help you stay ahead of the competition and win new customers.
Want to discover the key themes we think will dominate foodservice over the next 12 months? Download our FREE Food Trends Report 2021 here.
With an abundance of healthy dishes which are built around fresh vegetables, rice and seafood, Japanese cuisine is ideally placed to take advantage of the continued movement towards more plant-based, wholesome and sustainable diets.
We've picked out some of the key ingredients and techniques that might put Japanese food at the forefront of customers' minds when looking for a new food experience in 2021.
Dried seaweed is traditionally used to wrap around sushi, but it can ground up or finely chopped to be used as a flavouring in its own right too. It performs particularly well in vegan dishes to give the hint of fish, such as in this plant-based calamari recipe.
As a nation set on an archipelago, the islands of Japan unsurprisingly get through a fair amount of fish, and not just in the form of sushi and sashimi either. As a great source of vitamin D and protein, Seafood is fantastically healthy and can revitalise any menu.
As within many Asian cultures, Japanese cooking can be an incredible experience even before you try the food! Whether it's white-hot glowing charcoals or a glistening Teppanyaki grill, adopting equipment or techniques to create fusion dishes of your own will get customers talking.
Rum might be set to usurp gin as the trendiest spirit in 2021, but nevertheless botanicals are still big news. Flowery flavours like hibiscus can add an exciting element to desserts, cocktails or used sparingly in main courses.
Download our 2021 Food Trends Report
Japanese isn't the only cuisine we expect to make a splash this year, download our FREE Food Trends 2021 Report to find out which other part of the world we think will be influencing British kitchens over the next 12 months.