A Chef’s Summer Guide to the Perfect Tropical Menu in 2022bianca
Now more than ever, people are seeking food that can serve more than one function: to satisfy their hunger. They want adventure, they want novelty, excitement and a way to connect with foreign, exotic places and cultures that might otherwise be inaccessible.
Seeing as the world continues to surprise us with new challenges every day, it also makes sense to think that people often seek an escape, something to press the pause button and offer rest and fresh perspectives. Whether that’s achieved through entertainment, sports, vacations or wellness retreats, there’s no denying the desire to break free from worries and routine has been growing with each passing year.
Food, or more precisely dining out, has become much more than a means to satiate our hunger. It’s a way to experience new, exciting flavors that boost our moods and transport us to faraway places. In other words, it provides the perfect opportunity for a temporary escape from reality.
What makes tropical food so appealing?
Tropical food has become incredibly popular because it’s a powerhouse of exciting flavors and happy feelings. It also provides a sense of what experts call “approachable adventure”. As a food business owner, tuning in to your customers’ most fervent wishes and turning them into reality is key.
Considering how much people want to get away from the daily hustle and bustle, offering them a full vacation-inspired experience at your restaurant seems like the ideal choice for this summer.
Thankfully, the summer weather is working in your favor, in more ways than one. On the one hand, it sets the perfect scene for an island-inspired culinary experience. On the other hand, it offers an extremely rich bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables that will fit in just right on your tropical-themed menu.
With that kind of help, all that’s left for you to do is design the perfect tropical summer menu that will transport your guests to an exotic destination, lift their spirits and keep them coming back for more. You can make it as small or extensive as you want, featuring anything from desserts and finger foods to main course dishes and cocktails.
If you’re seeing a big interest from your customers, you can even try replicating this idea in the colder months. Sure enough, sourcing some fresh exotic ingredients would be a bit of a challenge, but your out-of-the-box thinking and surprising initiative might draw in more customers than you’d expect.
How to build the perfect tropical restaurant menu?
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, here are a few useful tips and tricks for turning your restaurant into a tropical haven.
1. Make it fruit-forward
It’s almost impossible to think of a tropical menu that doesn’t include fruits in one way or another. Fruits are by far the easiest way to breathe new life into your dishes, and they will absolutely shine in any tropical food item on your list.
That being said, not all fruits are created equal. Tropical fruits will naturally lend themselves better to exotic dishes, so try to include as many such fruits as you can. Some of the most popular tropical fruits include papaya, dragon fruit, mango, pineapples, passionfruit, avocado, lychee and coconut.
Luckily, you can purchase most exotic fruits wholesale from a trusted food distributor like Riviera Produce. Check out our selection, place your order and let us power your tropical summer menu with the finest quality fruits and vegetables!
There’s no shortage of ways you can integrate these fruits into your cooking. Help your customers beat the summer heat with a refreshing mango sorbet, or satisfy their sweet tooth with a light pineapple pudding cake.
Give them a real taste of the tropics by mixing your exotic fruits with chicken and shrimp into a colorful salad. Combine island flavors and spices, protein and greens and impress your guests with a tropical treat in the shape of Coconut Curry Tempeh Lettuce Cups.
2. Give tropical drinks a chance
No matter what you decide to include in your tropical menu, don’t skip tropical cocktails. They tick all the right boxes on the tropical menu checklist. They’re fun, refreshing, delicious and a sight to behold. Not to mention, they pair wonderfully with a variety of dishes, both main courses and desserts.
To keep it really authentic, opt for spirits that already have a tropical background, like rum or tequila. Don’t box yourself in though, as long as the final product fits the tropical theme, you can use any spirit you prefer.
Creating a signature tropical drink to showcase in your summer menu is a great idea, but there’s no shame in relying on the classics if you’re not feeling particularly creative. You can never go wrong with a Mai Tai, a Pina Colada or a Blue Hawaii.
Alcohol is not a must though. You can also include a lot of non-alcoholic cocktails, fresh juices, smoothies and more as part of your tropical menu. Colorful fruit juices are a guaranteed hit with the kids, so you’d be well on your way to making your menu a treat for the entire family.
Play around with all the different combinations and make the best of the fresh fruits (tropical or not) you have at your disposal. Just like the food, your cocktails should be somewhat light and well balanced, with no truly overpowering flavors.
3. Add some seafood
Seafood may not be native to the tropics, but it fits perfectly into a summer tropical menu for two main, simple reasons. First of all, because it’s generally light, no matter how it’s cooked. Secondly, because it comes from the sea, and it reminds us of summer vacations and island getaways.
Shrimp is a very popular choice among tropical food enthusiasts, and it mixes wonderfully with exotic fruit salads. Grilled salmon also pairs excellent with tropical fruits such as mango and avocado, resulting in mouth-watering, heart-healthy, colorful dishes that will definitely make your customers ask for seconds.
At the end of the day, themed menus are a great way to draw in more customers due to their novelty and specificity. They give people a glimpse into another world, discover new surprising flavor combinations and help them escape from the daily routine, one bite or sip at a time.