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Editorial What is Hipster Food?

Posted on 27 October by

Meet the food equivalent of Zoolander’s Blue Steel!

Hipster food is a broad description when it comes to cuisine. It covers everything from the “dude food” phenomenon (think fancy hamburgers and sliders, similar to those served at The Local Shack), milkshakes so outlandish they had to be dubbed “freakshakes”, dressed-up donuts (everything from fruit loops to mock lego pieces grace fried-batter rings these days) to cereal being served up in cafés, even though you could have it at home—that’s irony, man, which is part of what makes it hipster.

Laura Jones, trend and innovation consultant with Mintel, the international trend analysts, says that hipster food is here to stay.
“It’s not dying—it’s just a morphing trend,” Jones says. “Some of the hipster food fads have come and gone very quickly but new trends emerge all the time, even if we don’t call them “hipster” per se. Also, a lot of so called hipster food is now the food of choice for mainstream consumers.”
Jones cites the example of ancient grains, including quinoa, buckwheat and chia seeds—once the province of health food stores are now available in supermarkets under home brand labels or could be found at Go Vita.

Not Quite hipster food

Lorraine Elliott, the face behind Not Quite Nigella, one of Australia’s most popular food blogs, says that hipster food is just as much characterised by the way it looks as its constituent ingredients.
“When I think of hipster food, I think about presentation more than anything else,” she says. “It looks a certain way—for instance, it might be served on a tile or wooden boards, with mismatched cutlery. If it looks like it’d be served in a barn, it’s probably hipster food. It looks low-fi, even though hipsters are usually incredibly high-tech.” More irony.

Can you make it yourself?

Absolutely. A good place to start is with retro recipes—check out vintage Women’s Weekly magazines and some of its reissued cookbooks, including the Birthday Party Cakes from the ’80s for a start. Check out Collins Booksellers at Southlands Boulevarde to see what you can find on the shelves.

Good gut health is another hipster obsession, so turn your hand to fermenting and pickling your own veggies, making raw sauerkraut and kimchi or kombucha (fermented tea)—all of which will restore good bacteria to your gut. If you don’t want to make your own, get some from Gilbert's Fresh Market.

Home brewing is a hipster staple—so converting your backyard into a microbrewery is a must.
Matcha, the powdered green tea and turmeric blends can be used at home to whip up latte alternatives (heat up some almond or coconut milk and whisk for some authentic looking froth).
Green and cold pressed juices and smoothies are also easy to DIY, provided you have the appropriate equipment.

What’s next?

Jones has some predictions about the next food trends to emerge from the hipster market. “The “free-from” trend (for example, dairy or gluten free trends) will continue to develop,” she says.
“Veganism is a burgeoning trend, so meat-alternatives will be on the rise, so plant-based proteins will become more popular—first with hipsters and then with the broader consumer body. I think no-waste kitchens will be big too—restaurants that will convert ‘food waste’ into edible ingredients and dishes, embracing ‘ugly food’, which is food which is visibly imperfect, and expired foods, with an emphasis on reinventing leftovers is on its way in. I’d take a punt on savoury doughnuts and melon juices too.”

Wouldn’t it be, like, so ironic if you could find everything you need for a hipster banquet at Southlands Boulevarde? Come on in and see if you’re on trend.

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