The Rise of Hyperlocal Cuisine

2016-03-18 21:38 2650

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, March 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- This 19th March sees the return of WWF's annual Earth Hour, where the world's households and businesses are challenged to turn off their lights between 20:30 and 21:30. In 2015, the Hour was celebrated in 172 countries with positive effects, which aside from the very temporary reduction in CO2 emissions, include legislative changes in various parliaments around the world.

At this time of year, it's also worth thinking about other environmental hot potatoes. Food Miles is a term which has been with us since Sustain's 1994 The Food Miles report, citing the intense globalisation of the food industry over the last 50 years and the huge diversification of where our food comes from. Go to any supermarket and you'll find lamb from New Zealand, bananas from Brazil and oranges from California. Of course, not every climate is suitable for producing every food, but often locally produced items are obtainable which are neglected owing to higher production costs, political factors and the availability of artificially cheap fossil fuels.

Hyperlocal cuisine is a growing culinary trend where restaurants serve food they have cultivated themselves, or sourced locally from nearby producers. Aside from offering environmental and sustainability benefits, hyperlocal restaurants feature constantly changing menus with seasonal products, challenging chefs to be creative and highly experimental due to the limited ingredients available.

Food delivery app foodpanda picked out 3 pioneering restaurants in hyperlocal cuisine: Noma in Copenhagen, Nobelhart and Schmutzig in Berlin and Fresh & Green in Hong Kong.

The name 'Noma' is a portmanteau of the Danish words for Nordic and food. Predictably enough, this restaurant promotes Nordic cuisine, but take this a step further, 'foraging' for local ingredients, the inclusion of non-traditional foods such as ants and crickets and the use of traditional preservation methods. It's a concept that is very effective, reflected in its regular ranking as the world's number one restaurant and 2 Michelin stars awarded to Noma's innovative chef, Rene Redzepi. This year, Redzepi ran a pop-up version of his restaurant in Sydney. When reservations opened, it sold out in 90 seconds, making nearly $2 million in just a few minutes, and with 27,000 people on the waiting list. In 2017, Noma will move to a new site which includes an on-site farm. Combine the growing of their own food and the use of sustainable ingredients, and the concept of Noma aligns very closely with green ideals.

Opened in 2015, Nobelhart & Schmutzig, run by well-regarded sommelier Billy Wagner and head chef Micha Schafer, pioneers the concept of "brutally local" - a development of the hyperlocal trend seen elsewhere. The menu is entirely sourced from the region around Berlin, eschewing citrus fruits, pepper and olive oil (all things which can't be found in Northern Germany) in favour of eel, carrot and artichoke in addition to traditional cooking methods such as fermentation, pickling and salting. Although this restaurant's main aim is the celebration of local food, the environmentally-friendly aspect of this is clear.

Hydroponics, or growing food without soil, is expanding fast in densely populated regions like Hong Kong, fulfilling the twin objectives of providing fresh ingredients and making the most of limited land resources. Combining this discipline and a restaurant seems logical, ensuring a constant supply of vegetables. Ken Yuen Chi-hin, owner of Fresh & Green, has done exactly this with his Italian-style eatery attached to a hydroponics farm. Fresh & Green's 400 sq ft setup puts out the same quantity of produce as a 3,000 sq ft conventional farm, which even enables them to sell surplus vegetables to environmentally-minded customers.

For the moment, restaurants operating on hyperlocal principals make up the smaller proportion of the culinary landscape. The thorny issue of food miles has been readdressed in the last 5 years, with a report published in 2011 by The Worldwatch Institute highlighting the fact that locally grown food is often more damaging environmentally if grown using energy-intensive methods. In the wake of the UN climate change talks in Paris last November and the international community ostensibly taking climate change more seriously, food miles will surely come back onto the agenda soon. Clearly, the rise of the hyperlocal restaurant can have a positive impact on our environment, on condition that food is produced in an energy efficient way, and lead to a boost of culinary creativity as well.

About foodpanda

The foodpanda group is the leading online food delivery marketplace in emerging markets. The company operates in 24 growth countries in Asia, Middle East and Eastern Europe. It enables restaurants to become visible in the online and mobile world and provides them with an industry leading software and technology to generate additional demand. For consumers, foodpanda offers the convenience to order food online and the widest gastronomic range, from which they can choose their favorite meal via app or online with a few fingertips. foodpanda has a market leading position in most of its markets, including India, Russia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. It has built proprietary food ordering software and technology for over 40,000 partner restaurants and over 6mm active users worldwide. Furthermore, foodpanda is able to ensure in-time delivery and quality through proprietary, own "last-mile" delivery technology and operations - even in complex markets and cities.


Source: foodpanda