As always, our Symrise team has been out and about, staying on top of the incredible food trends in the country. They've trekked through Washington DC to attend the Rising Star Awards in February 2022. The event was sponsored by Symrise and showcased some incredible cuisine. 

We will look at some of the top flavors, dishes, and themes that the team saw while going through Washington, DC. It was an incredible experience that yielded a lot of delicious tastes, innovative creations, and beautiful food. 

Washington, DC, is dynamic in its cuisine. The region has a lot of charm, and that's reflected in the food. It's also a city of international politics. The constant flow of politicians from around the nation, a special community of Afro-Americans and newly immigrating black Africans and Latinos, and incoming workers from around the world has influenced the style of cuisine available in the city. The restaurants and chefs in Washington, DC, are drawing from a wild diversity of cooking styles and ingredients supported by adaptable, food-curious customers. The result is a bubbling cauldron of exciting innovations.

Let’s explore some of the top Washington DC food and beverage trends 2022 that came to light from this culinary tour of the city. 

The Styles That Have Become Trendy 

DC attracts people from around the world, so it makes sense that the cuisine styles on-trend in the city are varied and interesting.

Popular styles of food have become more region-specific in recent times. Instead of just finding a great Thai restaurant, you can now find distinctly Northern Thai restaurants. According to some of the top chefs in the city, people are willing and eager to broaden their horizons and experience narrowly regional cuisine. These are some of the top style trends from Washington Top Chefs in the city. 

Asian Cuisine 

Asian cuisine is a big trend in Washington DC, and the food is incredible. One reason is that the chefs who create these culinary masterpieces are willing to go the extra mile to ensure that their food has authentic ingredients. For example, Chef Will Fung of China Chilcano has used social media pages to track down sansho peppercorns typically only found in East Asia.

The restaurants that have created these fantastic dishes balance authenticity with innovation. Some of our favorite Asian dishes come from the top restaurants in the city. Many offer unique Asian fusion, like Japanese Kaiseki-style melded with Spanish cuisine or Japanese and Chinese plus Peruvian. Some dishes draw from a broad array of styles, like Japanese plus wine bar, French, and American. It might sound risky, but somehow these dishes work. 

Some of the standout dishes of this cuisine are: 

  • Vadouvan Curry from Rasa
  • Lemongrass in Pork Meatballs with Black Pepper, Tomato Sauce, and crushed peanut from Moon Rabbit. 
  • Amazing mashup of Spanish and Japanese cuisine from Cranes. It has paella with eel, ugani paella, white ponzu, smoked eel, snap peas, and jalapeno aioli. 
  • Daikon in dashi served with grilled brie cheese from Maxwell Park-Shaw. 

 Another massive hit from Asian cuisine is the innovations that chefs have made with Dumplings. There are potstickers, Asian dumplings, and Italian and Asian dumplings. They are all incredible. 

Southern Revival 

This trend has been on the rise for a while, and it continues in Washington DC. For example, we have seen southern dishes with a mix of Asian, like crawfish noodles or kimchi collards. And we have also seen southern with a blend of French, like the bee’s knees cocktail. 

Upgraded Comfort Food 

This style of food has become incredibly popular, and it isn’t really hard to see why. Who doesn’t enjoy comfort food? But when you are on a night out at a top restaurant, most of us would like an updated version of the foods we adore. Some mouth-watering examples of this style are: 

  • Pastrami spiced brisket mac and cheese
  • S’mores bonbons
  • Laotian fried chicken. 

These stunning pieces take the goodness of home and elevate it to top-quality cuisine fit for this list. 

Taste Creators 

One culinary area where we can see the trends that are currently influencing the food in Washington, DC, is how chefs have chosen to give their food taste and spice. The way they make their food unique is very trendy. 

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One interesting trend is the interesting uses and combinations of hibiscus. BRESCA has some unusual but amazing hibiscus combinations. For example, they have showcased: 

  • Horseradish-red beet-cherry and hibiscus
  • Or cherry/ beet/hibiscus/tuna in bluefin crudo 

A Larger Emphasis on Herbs 

Another trend is that chefs are creating more emphasis on herbs than they are doing on florals. Florals are still on-trend, but herbs have once again become a top trend. 


This one is everywhere. Turmeric can create an incredibly distinct taste and make a dish unique. Moon Rabbit, for example, has an exceptional turmeric mantou bun. Ginger is a close second in this trend. 

Chili and Garlic 

This is a trend that has stayed hot for a long time. But somehow, the exceptional chefs from the Symrise rising stars have found a way to make these relatively common ingredients exceptional. 

They have created chili crisp, garlic crisp, fried garlic, and a lot of chili and chili oil used in mouth-watering ways. Moon Rabbit has several combinations that include blending these flavors with:

  • Honey butter
  • Chili crisp.
  • Twice-cooked eggplant
  • Sunflower miso satay
  • Candied sunflower seeds
  • Thai basil

Extraordinary Finishing Touches 

The way some top restaurants are finishing up their dishes qualifies as a special trend in its own right. These stylish touches complete the dishes and elevate them from amazing to extraordinary. 

Fish Roe 

Fish roe can help bring out the umami flavor in many dishes, especially when combined with meat. 

Other standout dishes come from Cranes and No Goodbyes. Cranes plays on egg with eggplant using salmon roe and egg floss. No Goodbyes features fish roe in a crab dish. 


Miso has also been used in a variety of different ways. It is used everywhere, and it can create something really special. 

  • Moon Rabbit has miso in beautiful, novel sweets. They also use sunflower miso to enrich double-cooked eggplants.
  • Maxwell Park-Shaw mix miso with other cuisines to create miso dashi with clams and other fresh dishes.

Cocktail inspiration 

The wonderful innovations aren't just limited to savory dishes. Even cocktails can be turned into inspirations for other restaurants and chefs. There are many Washington DC restaurants with brilliant new cocktails. Among them are Philz Coffee, Moon Rabbit, and Serenata. 

  • Philz Coffee has delicious mocktail coffees with mojito and rose 
  • Moon Rabbit also has a number of coffee-inspired cocktails and also desserts. 
  • Serenata has embraced the trend of savory notes in cocktails, like bell pepper, chili, spices, and even corn milk. 
  • Banana as a flavor for more traditional cocktails like old fashion has been a wonderful trend in a number of Washington, DC, restaurants too. Including Thip Khao. 


The dessert menu is one of the best parts of any meal, and the innovations that DC-based top chefs have made and the trends they have created are nothing short of outstanding. 

It is easy to make delicious desserts, but taking it to the next level and creating something extraordinary is more difficult. These innovative trends will help any chef with that goal. 

Related: Dessert Trends According to Pastry Chef Leigh Omilinsky

Vietnamese Coffee Turned into a Dessert 

Moon Rabbit has one of the most special examples of this trend. They have a banh flan ca phe Vietnamese flan, coffee gelee, palm sugar caramel, condensed milk ice cream, and hazelnut coffee foam. Yes, the choices are just as special as they sound. 

Caramel and Salted Caramel

Salted Caramel has been an ongoing trend for a while. The reason is clear: for many people, there is really nothing better than a delicious caramel dish accented with the bright contrast of salt. Thip Khao has one amazing example of this trend with their toasted rice ice cream and fish sauce caramel. 

Trends for flavors in cookies and desserts 

One wonderful new direction in cookies and desserts is the use of passionfruit in various forms. It is a stunningly fresh flavor that creates something a lot more elevated than many of us could imagine. 

Another trend for cookies and desserts is to use spices or seeds and grains for flavor. Tail Up Goat has an impressive example made from black-sesame chocolate sauce and fennel ice cream. 

Texture in The Sweets 

Texture in desserts is a big trend as DC chefs create desserts that combine smooth, crunchy, and everything between. It helps to create an experience with dessert instead of just a dish. 

Toasted rice, puffed rice, and puffed quinoa are all ingredients used in this trend. 


Washington DC offers some of the most interesting and innovative food trends. Thanks to our Symrise team's time at the Rising Star awards, we can introduce you to DC innovation and inspire your own culinary creations. 

To learn more about new flavor trends for meals, libations, desserts, and information on upcoming events, contact us here today!


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