June 24, 2021

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For remarkable cuisine

Six unlikely foods that are trending because of TikTok

Food trends come and go, once aided by magazines and celebrity chefs on the telly, then Instagram. But TikTok has been blowing Instagram out of the water when it comes to its fun, fast-paced and aesthetic food content. TikTok’s ability to pick up a video and send it completely viral via the platform’s “For You” page, combined with its attractive video edits and catchy music, has created the perfect environment for a slew of foods to trend worldwide.

Sexy slow-mo shots of oozy cheese and loaded desserts are being eaten up (figuratively and literally) by TikTokers. But here are the foods trending on TikTok that no one saw coming. Some of them were unknown, or even unliked by Australians not long ago.

Oats

Some of us know porridge as our grandparents’ breakfast food of choice. Or maybe you spruced it up as a child with heapings of brown sugar. But TikTok food is all about maximum flavour, and the aesthetics of course. #Oatmeal has garnered 600 million views on the app, filled with videos of porridge piled with toppings such as peanut butter, poached pears, chocolate, biscuits and berries. Nothing is off limits. The oats matter just as much as the toppings, though. Plant-based milks, protein powders, spices and seasonings are essential to TikTok porridge.

“Oatmeal and porridge don’t necessarily have to be plain and boring – there are so many things you can do with it and so many variations,” says Perth TikToker Audrey Lim. Lim has landed sponsorships with her baked oats (the love child of porridge and a mug cake) videos which go out to her 588,000 followers. “I’ve even seen some savoury oatmeal recipes floating around on TikTok,” she says.

An overhead view of three beef birria tacos in an aluminum takeaway container with a consomme soup on the side. Istock image downloaded for TikTok recipes and food trends feature. Good Food April 2021.

Birria tacos served with a consomme soup for dipping. Photo: iStock

Birria tacos

Hailing from Jalisco in Mexico, these special tacos have gained a cult status worldwide thanks to TikTok, with #birriatacos racking up 362 million views. However, it’s been a very long road to success for the dish. Birria originated in the 1500s as a goat or beef stew, then evolved into a taco – the soft taco shell is dipped in the beef stock and pan-fried with cheese. “Birria has been going on for centuries,” explains Mariano Cingerle, managing director of Si Senorita in Melbourne’s Fitzroy. “It’s somewhere in between crunchy and soft.” Cingerle puts on birria taco nights every Thursday at his Mexican restaurant.

The magic of birria is also in the accompanying broth. “The novelty of dipping the tacos into the broth and eating them in one bite is an experience you don’t get with other types of tacos,” says Julia Nguyen, co-owner of Chololo in Sydney’s Fairfield. At Chololo, birria is the only menu item. “Based on our [TikTok] views, we noticed that people love to see how the tacos were being assembled and then plated.”

Find them in Sydney:
• Muchacha, Narabeen
• Chololo, Fairfield
• Chula, Potts Point

Find them in Melbourne:
Si Senorita, Fitzroy
• Dingo Ate My Taco food truck (pictured), various locations
• Taco 101, order via Instagram

Fruit salad

No matter what the Wiggles say, many are put off by fruit salads which are often a hodge-podge of out-of-season fruit cut into sad cubes. Enter Lizzo and her TikTok account. The rapper recently shared with her 14.7 million followers her original recipe for “nature’s cereal”: coconut water gets poured over mixed berries and pomegranate jewels, with a few ice cubes. Lizzo’s popularity and the dish’s aesthetic appeal makes it a natural trend.

“It’s really just made of ingredients that lots of households may have in their fridge already,” says Lim, who describes the dish as fruit salad’s “trendier, cool younger sibling”. Yummy yummy indeed.

Fufu

TikTokers have become obsessed with the squishy, starchy west African side dish, with 426 million views on the hashtag. Fufu is made by pounding starchy vegetables such as cassava or yams with boiling water until the mixture becomes a doughy, glutinous ball. The dough is served with stews and soups such as egusi, where one rips a small amount of fufu from the dough ball, and uses it to scoop up a mouthful of stew.

Home cooks from west African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana started sharing their fufu recipes on TikTok, and people became mesmerised with the way fufu squishes and stretches.

“[TikTok] has had a huge influence on what people eat, in trying food from different cultures and countries,” says Lim, citing fufu as an example.

Try it for yourself at El-Shaddai African Cuisine in Guildford, Sydney and African Taste Cafe Bar in Seddon, Melbourne.

Tiny cereal pancake on pink background. View from above. Generic image of a bowl of mini pancakes in a cereal bowl. Istock image downloaded for TikTok recipes and food trends feature. Good Food April 2021.

Mini pancakes served in a cereal bowl. Photo: iStock

Poffertjes

We all love golden fluffy pancakes, but TikTok wanted to take our favourite breakfast and make it even more attractive. How? By making them smaller and puffier and serving them in a cereal bowl. #Minipancakes has gathered 85 million views since 2020.

Many TikTokers uploading videos using the hashtag are actually enjoying poffertjes, puffed Dutch pancakes that have been enjoyed since the 1800s. Eaten by the dozen and traditionally topped with butter and icing sugar, poffertjes have been taken to new topping heights on TikTok. Watching poffertjes being made and flipped is also satisfying, and easy to film as they’re often sold at outdoor markets.

Brussels sprouts

“Brussels sprouts have always been the underdog of vegetables, and were never anyone’s favourite vegetable growing up,” says Australian TikToker Ayeh Far. But on TikTok you will be met with a chorus of people saying that you just haven’t had them the right way.

And what way is that? Blanched, smashed, roasted or fried, and seasoned to the nines. The brassicas are also being cooked in an air-fryer – you can’t get more Millennial – but boy, do those crispy brussels sprouts look delicious.