Brunch has been a regular moneymaker within UK hospitality for some years now. Across the country, restaurants, cafés and gastropubs are ably harnessing both breakfast and lunch food trends
to deliver creative all-day options, from decadent French toasts to the mighty eggs benedict – with boozy brunch trips all the rage.
The stats speak for themselves. Google search interest for “bottomless brunch” has grown by over 955% year-on-year in the UK
, with consumer demand for indulgence, comfort and sociable eating scenarios driving innovation.
Among the most on-trend brunch dishes is Hong Kong-style French toast, a classic comfort food from the Chinese region, which first arrived on the UK brunch scene around five years ago. Traditionally enjoyed slathered in butter and drizzled with either honey or golden syrup, the shallow-fried, peanut butter-stuffed, egg-battered French toast sandwich quickly resonated with comfort-craving UK consumers and is now a sweet staple across brunch menus.
Like the Hong Kong-style egg waffle (or bubble waffle), which remains a popular UK snack food trend; Hong Kong-style French Toast was born during the period of Western colonialism from Hong Kong-style Western cuisine (or Canto-Western cuisine) – a merging of both Eastern and Western flavours and dish styles which became widespread via traditional Hong Kong cafés (cha chaan tengs).
What makes the origins of Hong Kong French Toast interesting from a menu development point of view is that it aligns with rising third culture cuisine trends
in the UK – a disruptive arena pioneered by chefs and innovators developing dishes driven by unique culinary influences from one culture, made with ingredients and flavours from another, delivering boldly inauthentic, often-indulgent eating experiences.
So, considering potential menu innovation for 2023 (and beyond), what other ‘third culture’ offerings linking to Asia might be worth a look for future UK brunch offerings?