Tapas-style dining is taking over. I am noticing more and more diners embracing this approach when they come to a restaurant. For those who are unaware, tapas is a Spanish culinary tradition that involves a wide variety of small dishes that are served in the middle of the table for everyone to enjoy. This concept is no longer limited to Spanish cuisine however, as people are embracing the plate sharing approach whether they are visiting an Italian restaurant, a Chinese restaurant or somewhere different.
I don’t think it is difficult to see why this trend is becoming such a hit. We have all been there… You go to one of the best restaurants in your area, you take a look at the menu and you want to try about five of the dishes on there, if not more. If that wasn’t bad enough, there is nothing more disappointing than the feeling you get when your dish arrives and you wish you had opted for something else. Plate sharing eliminates this problem, as you get to try a little bit of everything.
It is also quite fun too. It can add something extra special to the dining experience – you get to experiment with different flavors and the various dishes provide a great conversation topic for everyone around the table. Plate sharing also keeps your taste buds satisfied. Have you ever heard of the term ‘palate fatigue’? This refers to boredom that is experienced halfway through eating a big dinner. There is no chance of this happening if you are enjoying a number of mini dishes instead.
This style of food is also good when you are hosting for other people as well. Take Chinese cuisine, for example. You can put on lots of different dishes, from noodles to rice dishes, as well as a selection of sauces. Making your own sweet and sour sauce can be a lot of fun and is a great way to impress.
Whilst plate sharing is definitely one of the hottest food trends of 2020, it is not without its critics. After all, you can’t please everyone. Some restaurants grumble when their diners ask for a variety of small plates, as it makes their job more difficult in regards to timing everything correctly so all dishes are served together. For the customer, ordering the right amount of food can be a little bit tricky. However, some people adopt the approach of ordering a few dishes to start with, and then a couple more and so on and so forth until they are satisfied. This is how mezes are served in Greece and Cyprus. Small dishes are brought to the table, a few at a time, and it can often seem like the meal is never-ending, which leads diners to ask the chef to stop sending more food their way.
Love it or hate it, the debate about plate sharing will go on, but in my view, this is a trend that is definitely here to stay. In fact, I’d say it’s about to get even more popular as the year continues.