Foodie News

What Happens When the Only Restaurants Left Are Chains?


By , Grub Street  |  May 4, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of life. For the restaurant industry, which has been decimated, it means head chefs now make home deliveries, while other operators transition to meal kits and pantry items. It used to be that customer preferences were the driving force behind these kinds of sweeping changes, and that will, one day, be the case once again. As the long shadow of COVID-19 looms over the industry, we might step back to consider what kinds of businesses we wish to support. To ask ourselves, Who should be the real winners and losers?

It appears for now that large, publicly traded chain-restaurant companies are better poised for survival. For all the awards and accolades independent restaurants earn, their profits are notoriously small (and sometimes nonexistent). These rugged, individualistic, and funky independent restaurants are the heart of the industry, but chain restaurants, on the other hand, can rely on their deep resources, which include large profits (unless it was all used to buy back their own stock), exorbitant executive pay (recently tapped by Darden, the mother company of the Olive Garden, among other full-service restaurant brands), and the manpower to apply for (and fast-track) various forms of government assistance, such as the Main Street Lending Program, the Qualified Improvement Provision, and up until recently, the Paycheck Protection Program. Meanwhile, even the most successful independent operators are wondering if their restaurants will even exist when this is all over.

As halal food wins over new audiences, some fear it’s losing its soul

Kimberly Wilson, The  |  July 18, 2019

The market for halal food is expanding rapidly. But where some see opportunity, other see an attempt to reduce religious faith to a marketing buzzword.

Sameer Sarmast’s adventurous appetite long ago moved beyond his mother’s South Asian cooking. He likes spicy enchiladas, Jamaican jerk chicken, Texas-style barbeque, and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.

But one thing hasn’t changed. He still keeps to the dietary guidelines observed by his Muslim family, which, among other things, forbid alcohol and pork, and require the prayerful slaughter of animals. And while finding foods certified as halal (translated to “permitted”) once required a trip to specialty grocers in Muslim-majority neighborhoods, many of these foods now can be found from Maine to Hawaii.

Jamaican Cuisine One of Top International Cuisines to Watch in 2020 ·

The Manual, a men’s online magazine, has listed Jamaica’s cuisine as one of the top global cuisines of 2020. Food choices and dining experiences in the United States reflect the influence of
many different cultures from around the world, as well as the interest American diners, have in trying the unique flavors available in the cuisine of other countries. The Manual has compiled a list of the international cuisines that are likely to become increasingly popular with American foodies in 2020.

Doubles: A Fried Caribbean Secret You Should Know About

Cary Jones,  |  August 07, 2014

They're always called "doubles," never in the singular. They're deep-fried and hearty, yet totally vegan. They retail for less than a fast-food soda. And they're the best Caribbean sandwich you've never heard of.

Doubles are a staple in the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, a street food snack often eaten for breakfast. Like so many foods in Trinidad, where a substantial chunk of the population is of Indian descent, doubles have clear Indian roots. The filling is a spiced chickpea curry called channa, kicked up with a hot pepper sauce, pickled green mango, and a tart tamarind sauce. All that is sandwiched in hot, fried flatbread, and then rolled up in wax paper, because these little beasts are as sloppy as they come. (They're generally served as takeout street food, although eating them out of hand is a mean feat indeed. Get extra napkins.)

The best part? Most doubles will only set you back a buck or two, max—so a breakfast's worth of fried bread and chickpea sandwiches will ring in at under $5.

The bread. A round flatbread called bara, it's slightly squishy, pliant, and best when fried fresh. Ground turmeric gives it a distinctive yellow hue.

The filling. Hearty chickpea curry, called channa, scented with garlic and onion, curry powder and cumin fills out the sandwich. Pepper sauce, mango pickle, and tamarind are the condiments of choice. Ideally you’d use them all at once; a balance of heat, sour, and sweet.

6 Health Benefits of Sugarcane Juice: A Promise of Good Health

Kriti Malik, NDTV  |  Updated: August 23, 2018

When I think of sugarcane juice, the first thing which comes to mind are the busy by-lanes of Karol Bagh, Delhi: vendors offering poor imitations of Gucci handbags and Rolex watches, women sprinting through the crowd trying to get from one shop to another, the faint smell of hot pooris and Punjabi chana, the constant high-pitched rings of rikshaw bells and a few dozen sugarcane juice (ganne ka ras) carts parked at every street corner. In the sweltering heat, I'd jostle my way to the sugarcane juice guy and watch him lazily operate an old-world juice machine that takes in one sugarcane at a time and pushes out beautiful green coloured cane juice that is sweet and delicious. Benefits of sugarcane juice are aplenty and it is also considered extremely nourishing and considered to be a real goldmine of health according to doctors, nutritionists and the school of Indian traditional medicine.India is one of the world's largest producers of sugarcane, after Brazil which is possibly why you'll find almost no companies which offer packaged sugarcane juice. It can be priced as low as Rs.10 or as high as Rs.40, but it's available through the country and not limited to one specific region.

If You're Not Eating Caribbean Food, You're Missing Out

If the only Caribbean dish you can name comes from 7-Eleven and rhymes with "chief chatty," oh boy, have you ever been missing out. From Trinidad to Barbados, Jamaica to Bermuda, the multi-ethnic tropical islands responsible for international treasure Rihanna are also famous for a whole mess of drool-inducing eats.

Jerk chicken, curry chicken, oxtail, doubles, callaloo -- these dishes profoundly reflect the area's long, sorted history of colonization, reclamation, and cross-cultural exchange. Growing up with a Trinidadian grandmother, this was my childhood comfort food and just thinking about stew beef bubbling away on the stove makes my mouth water like I need an umbrella (ella, ella, eh, eh, eh).


From begging for food to culinary sensation, one roti at a time

Donna Carreiro · CBC News ·

Jamaican Manitoban's childhood recipes lift her 'from the ghetto, from nothing ... it's amazing'

To some, the fruit, fish and carribean dumplings are a hot taste of Jamaica in the cold of Manitoba. To Pattison, they're a life saver.

"In order to survive in Jamaica, you have to find a way for people to like you, and everybody love you when you can feed them," she says.

It was her cooking that kept her safe while begging on the streets, as a child back in Jamaica. It was her cooking that fed her family while her mother struggled just to survive. And it was her cooking that pulled her from poverty after she relocated to Canada.

"Everybody started talking about 'Christine can cook, she can cook,' so they would come and buy food," she adds.

In 2020, it's her cooking that's now catching the attention of chefs across the country. In early February she participated as a contestant on Wall of Chefs — a nationally televised food competition.

From Pakistan to the Caribbean: Curry's journey around the world

Kate Springer, CNN • Updated 23rd January 2020

In 2019, ubiquitous Japanese curry house chain CoCo Ichibanya restaurant announced plans to bring its popular "curry rice" to India in 2020. It might seem counter-intuitive to eat CoCo Ichibanya's relatively mild, sweet Japanese dish in the land of curry. But the move underscores the sheer variety and complexity of curry -- a word that's long been misunderstood.

Curry is not a single spice, nor is it related to the namesake curry tree (though the leaves are used in many dishes in India). The catch-all umbrella term refers to a "spiced meat, fish or vegetable stew," either freshly prepared as a powder or spice paste or purchased as a ready-made mixture," writes Colleen Sen in her book "Curry: A Global History." According to Sen's book, the word curry most likely comes from a misunderstanding of the southern Indian word "kari," which "denoted a spiced dish of sauteed vegetables and meat."