Dynamic wraps for summer 2019
Date: 25-06-2019 published by Nick Baines
Food on the go is big business. From your pre-packed sandwich and ‘meal deal’, to take-out street food vendors offering up regional dishes from across the globe, you’ll notice that cutlery isn’t often needed.
The wrap has slowly been gaining ground as one of the most versatile structural applications in food service. You’ll be no newcomer to the tortilla wrap, supermarkets now boast a wide selection of fillings from pulled jackfruit and vinegar laced slaws, to Peking duck and plum sauce. However, the wrap is taking on a number of new formats right now and the fillings are as varied as the ‘wrap’ that surrounds them.
The naan bread, traditionally torn and used to mop up curries, is getting a lot of action right now in the street food scene largely due to its ultimate heft and robustness. This is not the kind of wrap to get soggy and split when filled with curries, which is probably why so many vendors at London’s Kerb are using them. Curry On Naanstop have an onboard tandoor on their van for baking their naans, while Offbeat BBQ take the humble flatbread and stuff it with slow smoked brisket and a Korean chilli and kimchi slaw.
Meanwhile, down at mini-chain Dishoom, you can find a bacon butty alternative that uses a small folded naan bread filled with bacon, mango chutney inspired ketchup and coriander – a breakfast item that’s gained a cult-like following all of its own.
Over at Selfridges, you’ll find a little outfit called Kaleido who transform vibrant salads into easy to consume wraps held together with translucent rice paper wrappers – a la Vietnamese summer rolls. With flavours like roasted sweet potato, tahini and chilli flakes, to roasted aubergine in tamari with spring onion, it’s easy to see how this healthy lunch option is playing big with the wellness crowd. Especially seeing as each wrapper is just 30 calories. We like the idea of extending the vegetarian offering with smoked yams and halloumi fries.
Aside from wraps made from rice flour, you can also see large lettuce leaves being used to transport food to hungry, heath conscious mouths. Korean Bo Ssam is a dish that owes some if its fame to American chef David Chang. It’s essentially a marinated slow roast pork shoulder that’s placed in the centre of the table that diners load into lettuce wraps (usually a large bibb or coss lettuce leaf) alongside a variety of pickled and fermented banchan, the ubiquitous Korean side dishes.
Of course, coming full circle back to the common tortilla, it would be foolish not to mention the rise in Mexican and South American food trends. Today you can get hold of fantastic corn flour tortillas and find both restaurants and street food vendors slinging exemplary quesadillas as well as Baja-style fish tacos and those filled with al pastor. From festivals and event catering through to bums-on-seats restaurants, wraps can be a playful area in the commercial kitchen this summer and by all accounts, consumers are hungry for it.
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