The Future of Brunch Is in Asia

Asia's Tech News Daily

The Future of Brunch Is in Asia
© Photo by Mai Bach Brunch outside of Ooh Cha Cha in Taipei

When Mai Bach opened her restaurant in Taiwan in 2013, she noticed a peculiar pattern among her guests. “We started having people come in and order a bunch of food and take photos, but they didn’t eat any of it,” says Bach, who co-owns Ooh Cha Cha, a vegan eatery in Taipei. Bach eventually had to speak with some of her customers about the massive food waste their habits were generating, but their insistence on taking photographs of their food and posting it on Instagram stuck with her. When designing her second location in 2017, she kept aesthetics top of mind, not only for the space but for the menu.

“We put unique things on the walls and used the best lights. We even launched a brunch plate,” she says. On the walls: a neon sign, vegetation hanging from the lights, and tropical foliage wallpaper. And on the plate: a collection of baked home fries, roasted cherry tomatoes, baby greens, tofu scramble, and tempeh bacon—topped with a beautiful fan of thinly sliced avocados. It worked; the brunch plate is now one of the best-sellers on the Ooh Cha Cha menu.

While the brunch scene in Asia may have started off as an aspirational copy of brunch culture in the West, it is also slowly but surely easing into its own identity.

It’s not just Ooh Cha Cha, and it’s not just Taiwan. The cult of brunch is now reaching a high octane all throughout Asia—a combination of Instagram culture and good old-fashioned gentrification. Globalization has been homogenizing dining scenes around the world for decades: In the late 20th century, fast-food chains like McDonald’s were the hallmark of an international city. Today, “brunch is a cultural signifier for yuppies around the globe,” as Bach puts it.

Like their metropolitan counterparts around the world, many young people in Asia are now spending their weekends in pursuit of a robust cup of pour-over coffee or sunny-side-up eggs with thin pieces of smoked salmon arranged in the shape of a rose. The vibes in their favorite restaurants are all more or less the same: bright, airy places with minimalist decor, serving bowls of carbs with pretty accouterments on top, avo toasts, and different permutations of eggs. But while the brunch scene in Asia may have started off as an aspirational copy of brunch culture in the West, it is also slowly but surely easing into its own identity.

View the Instagram photo.

“Nowadays, we’re seeing a lot of Australian brunch cafes in Taipei,” notes Leslie Liu, a food influencer behind the popular Instagram account Taipei Foodie. Australian-style brunch can be found in almost all metropolitan hubs in Asia. In Taipei, there is Woolloomooloo, a brunch cafe named after a suburb in Sydney and known for its flat white lattes. Tokyo has an eatery called Working Holiday Connections, which celebrates Australia by branding koala designs on its soft pancakes. Seoul has a restaurant named Summer Lane, with Australian classics like smashed avocado. There’s a distinct sameness to all of these restaurants, with massive floor-to-ceiling windows, perfect heart rosettas on every cup of coffee, and minimalistic decor—all byproducts of a phenomenon partly jump-started by liberal visa policies.

Australia opened up its working holiday visa scheme to Japan and South Korea in the 1980s and 90s respectively and China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong in the 2000s, with no caps on arrivals from the latter two regions. And returnees brought back their fondness for Australia in the form of brunch cafes. “There are two influences for brunch culture in Indonesia,” says Indonesian food writer Kevindra Prianto Soemantri, who cites 2011 as the year when brunch culture really began to take off on the archipelago. “One is the students coming back from the U.S. and Australia to Indonesia, and the second is Bali. Everything brunch is in Bali.”

The Future of Brunch Is in Asia
© Photo courtesy Ooh Cha Cha Brunch at Ooh Cha Cha

Places like Bali or Bangkok are ideal outposts for the brunch scene because of their heavy Western tourism. And in former colonial places with a history of Western cuisine—like Hong Kong or Singapore—brunch may be a natural step to take. Western cuisine in Asia has also long been seen as a status symbol, associated, though falsely and problematically, with cleanliness and higher standards of service. Take the 1990s, when Starbucks began their Asia expansion. ‘‘Coffeehouses are a sign that Singaporeans have achieved the status of a developed nation and we are breaking new ground in the area of becoming a cultured society,” one Singaporean social commentator said in a Starbucks case study from the time.

Alongside coffee, bread has also been a part of Asian culinary repertoires for decades, albeit brought in under neocolonial pretenses. “Bread was introduced after World War II,” explains Yu-Jen Chen, an associate professor at National Taiwan University who specializes in food anthropology. In 1954, in the midst of the Cold War, the Eisenhower administration started up the Food for Peace program, in which American aid to developing countries arrived in the form of wheat. Countries like Taiwan, Japan, and Indonesia received large shipments of wheat and flour, relieving the United States of its grain surpluses in exchange for diplomatic leverage. Bread especially took off in Japan after propaganda by both Japanese and American governments convinced locals that a rice-based diet caused brain damage, and housewives were taught how to prepare meals using imported flour. “So before brunch came, there was already a habit of eating bread for breakfast,” says Chen.

The Future of Brunch Is in Asia
© Photo courtesy Sugar Pea Sugar Pea cafe

But restaurateurs now have to strike a delicate balance between serving something novel and catering towards local taste buds. Trends like sourdough are an easier sell in places like Hong Kong, where people are more familiar with European-style baked goods. But it is a harder sell in Taiwan because people are more used to soft, pillowy milk breads. “I had tried sourdough out on my staff and they told me that it [was] so hard, that it made their mouth hurt, and that it was sour,” says Bach, who ended up going back to a softer, multigrain sandwich bread on the menu. And unlike in America, where diners might enjoy giant stacks of pancakes, many people in Taiwan prefer mini pancakes. “My best-selling dish is pancake tacos,” says Sandy Yoon, the chef-owner behind the glitzy brunch restaurant Sugar Pea in Taipei. The dish is composed of small buttermilk pancakes folded with bacon, scrambled eggs, and cheddar. “People really like bite-sized food that you can pick up and eat. It’s very American to want a huge heaping stack of pancakes. That’s not going to drive cravings here.”

Local ingredients—like sambal—are slowly but surely being used in brunch restaurants across Indonesia.

While brunch culture may have begun in Asia as a way to emulate the West, this bespoke attention to regional preferences has generated a collection of brunch items unique to Asia. “You start to see a really Japanese take on brunch foods, but not necessarily brunch as we know it in the States,” says Melinda Joe, a food writer based in Tokyo. She cites Japan’s souffle pancakes as a prime example. The souffle pancake is now popular in the West, an example of how global trends can come full circle.

Another item that has taken on a life of its own is the humble hamburger, which has actually become a staple breakfast item in Taiwan. “A lot of traditional breakfast restaurants sell bread and hamburgers,” says Chen. In 1981, a local entrepreneur opened a fast-casual breakfast chain called Mei Er Mei—inspired by American fast-food joints. But the hamburgers of Mei Er Mei, sold exclusively in the morning, deviate greatly from their original inspirations. They feature a thin meat patty with iceberg lettuce and very sweet ketchup sandwiched between small sweet buns.

Brunch in Asia will continue to evolve until it becomes a cuisine unto itself, similar to how American-Chinese food has little resemblance to the food that’s eaten in China today. Soemantri, for example, admits that he has never understood the appeal of avocado toast. But he lights up when he talks about how local ingredients—like sambal—are slowly but surely being used in brunch restaurants across Indonesia. “At Beau Bakery, they have this waffle with fried chicken with sambal on top of it,” he says of a restaurant in Jakarta. “I quite like it. You can capture the feeling of eating brunch with your friends, but it also pleases the local cravings.”

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

SEC championship: No. 2 Alabama thumps No. 1 Georgia 41-24, eliminates any question about playoff qualification

ATLANTA — It has been true from the time Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa a decade and a half ago, and remains so even with one of the more flawed ... Read more »

13 flyers under scanner amid new variant concerns

© Provided by Hindustan Times Nine of the 13 have tested positive on either an RT-PCR or rapid antigen test. The results of four others are awaited. (Vijayanand Gupta/ HT Photo) ... Read more »

Air quality worsens, Delhi may get light rain on December 6

© Provided by Hindustan Times Met officials said temperatures are expected to fall in the coming days after the western disturbance passes. (Sanchit Khanna/HT file photo) The city may receive ... Read more »

Rusty door frame issue circulates online, HDB officer allegedly admits no solution after 3 repairs

© The Independent Singapore *Disclaimer: Microsoft News is currently reviewing the accuracy of this story with the publisher due to social media source. Updates will be published here if needed. ... Read more »

Stacey Solomon reveals stunning Christmas makeover at Pickle Cottage

STACEY Solomon transformed the outside of Pickle Cottage into a Christmas winter wonderland. The Loose Women presenter, 32, and the rest of her family moved into their £1.2million “forever home” ... Read more »

A man jumped out of taxiing airplane at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport

A 30-year-old man jumped out of an airplane as it was taxiing at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport Saturday. © Google Southwest Flight 4236 arrived safely in Phoenix from Colorado ... Read more »

97% populasi dewasa lengkap divaksin

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Jumlah kumulatif pemberian vaksin bagi Program Imunisasi Covid-19 Kebangsaan (PICK) kini meningkat kepada 54,031,000. (Gambar Bernama) PETALING JAYA: Seramai 22,718,376 individu atau 97% daripada ... Read more »

Cincinnati Police investigate after gunshot wound victim arrived to the hospital on his own

Cincinnati Police are investigating a potential shooting in Northern Kentucky after a gun shot victim arrived at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in a privately owned vehicle Saturday. Police ... Read more »

Dayonte Resiles murder trial: Second day of jury deliberations end, but no verdict

Jurors finished a second day of deliberations in the high-profile murder trial of Dayonte Resiles without reaching a verdict on Saturday evening. The jury, sequestered since late Friday, will pick ... Read more »

Giants will need Mike Glennon to lead them to rare back-to-back wins

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Here are the Giants, clanking along on a creaky treadmill. For the past six weeks, they have been laboring on a lose-win-lose-win-lose-win cycle. When in doubt, ... Read more »

Prince William praised for his love and support

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The parents of a boy whose ordeal is believed to have triggered Prince William‘s mental trauma have spoken of the extraordinary ‘love and ... Read more »

Roberts with 17, lifts Bradley past SIU-Edwardsville 80-55

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — Terry Roberts scored 17 points with four steals and four assists as Bradley routed Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 80-55 on Saturday. Jayson Kent had 13 points for Bradley ... Read more »

No. 20 La.-Lafayette tops App St. 24-16 for Sun Belt title

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Levi Lewis scored on a career-high 56-yard run and passed for another touchdown, and No. 20 Louisiana-Lafayette capped off soon-to-be Florida coach Billy Napier’s time with ... Read more »

Omier, Sills carry Arkansas St. past Cent. Arkansas 95-82

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Norchad Omier and Desi Sills scored 19 points apiece as Arkansas State topped Central Arkansas 95-82 on Saturday. Caleb Fields added 18 points for the Red ... Read more »

Prince William reveals how life as rescue pilot sparked dark despair

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo When Prince William‘s air ambulance team was scrambled in March 2017, the details given to the team were scant. The crew was expecting ... Read more »

Texas football assistant coach Jeff Banks, girlfriend are being sued over alleged monkey bite

Texas assistant football coach Jeff Banks and his girlfriend, Danielle Thomas, are facing a civil lawsuit after Thomas’ monkey allegedly bit a child at her residence. The incident happened on ... Read more »

Prince William on Apple Fitness+ Time To Walk review: ‘It feels like taking a walk with a best mate'

© Getty Images GettyImages-925875278 (1).jpg On Monday morning, Apple Fitness+ subscribers in more than 20 countries, including the UK, will see the latest Time To Walk episode automatically download to ... Read more »

Who voices Jonesy in Fortnite?

© Provided by Dot Esports Jonesy is one of the first characters that players play as in Fortnite. Despite starting his journey in Fortnite as one of the default skins, Jonesy worked his ... Read more »

Fortnite Chapter 3 might launch early on December 5, say insiders

© Provided by GamePur Fortnite Chapter 3 could launch on the morning of December 5 at 7 AM PT / 10 AM ET, claimed insider HYPEX on Saturday. While many ... Read more »

Dog noises, name calling, claims of abuse: a week of shame in Australian politics

Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP Allegations of abuse and accusations of widespread sexism. Bullying and harassment particularly of women. A cabinet minister stood aside pending an investigation into claims by a former ... Read more »

Timelapse Captures Storm Rolling Into Byron Bay

Powerful winds hit Byron Bay on the New South Wales north coast during a severe thunderstorm on the evening of December 4. This timelapse video from Leigh Rolfe shows the ... Read more »

Expert: School should have flagged behavior before shooting

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — The warning signs were there: A search for gun ammunition on a cellphone, drawings of blood on a school desk and a written plea for help. ... Read more »

Michigan school shooting: Family of victim Justin Shilling loss leaves 'gaping hole'

The family of one of the victims killed by a school shooter in Oxford, Michigan released a statement Friday saying the tragedy left a “gaping hole” in their family. “Our ... Read more »

Hidden iPhone tricks most people don‘t know

The newest iOS 15 update allows iPhone users to group certain apps together. Spencer Platt/Getty Images Surprisingly, there are a ton of hidden features on the iPhone, along with helpful ... Read more »

Entitled Tiger Woods has taught media to ignore the tough questions

What do Tiger Woods and the late Bernie Madoff have in common? Neither of them permitted anyone to ask any good questions. Last week Woods reemerged to face the media ... Read more »

Gas prices in Edmonton hold firm while Eastern Canada enjoys discount at the pumps

While Eastern Canadians enjoy a 10-cent savings at the pumps, drivers in Alberta are left to wonder just where their discount is. © Provided by Edmonton Journal A motorist fills ... Read more »

Bukele steps up El Salvador's bet on sliding bitcoin; buys another 150 coins

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said the Central American country had acquired an additional 150 bitcoins after the digital currency’s value slumped again, enlarging his bet ... Read more »

I killed my own dad to stop him from beating my mum to death – but I never stopped loving him

A MAN who killed his own father to stop him from beating his mother to death has said he “never stopped loving him”. Alex Pompa, 20, stabbed his dad Giuseppe ... Read more »

Barbados to build slavery museum after cutting ties with British monarchy

© AFP via Getty Images Mia Amor Mottley, prime minister of Barbados – AFP via Getty Images Barbados is to build a transatlantic slavery museum with the largest collection of ... Read more »

Andy Cohen Is Floored By Nick Cannon's Answer When Asked Which Baby Mama Is His Favorite

© Provided by CinemaBlend Nick Cannon and Andy Cohen on Nick Cannon While Nick Cannon is always on viewers’ television screens, most of his notoriety, as of late, has been ... Read more »

'This will not happen in my classroom': Online anti-mask teacher group say they will fight new rules

© Shutterstock Halfpoint SEVERAL ANTI-MASK primary school teachers have formed a campaign group on Facebook to protest against children wearing face coverings in schools, with some deeming the pandemic to ... Read more »

People urged to get booster shot as nearly 20 million top-up doses given across the UK

© AFP via Getty Images A member of the public receives a dose of a Moderna Covid-19 booster jab at a temporary vaccination centre in St John’s Church in west ... Read more »

Prince William says Taylor Swift led him on stage 'like a puppy'

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Prince William admits that he obeyed ‘like a puppy’ when glamorous pop star Taylor Swift ordered him on stage for an impromptu performance ... Read more »

Strictly bosses make rule change that means contestants could be instantly eliminated

Strictly Come Dancing may have just two weekends left to go as next week marks the semi-finals – but events could turn chaotic thanks to a drastic new rule change. ... Read more »

The Gambia to vote for first time since Jammeh forced into exile

Photograph: Guy Peterson/AFP/Getty Images Gambians are heading to the polls on Saturday for the first time since the former president Yahya Jammeh was forced into exile after 22 years in ... Read more »

No. 3 Cincinnati claims AAC crown, possible playoff spot

CINCINNATI (AP) — Jerome Ford rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns and Desmond Ridder threw three touchdown passes as No. 3 Cincinnati broke open a close game in the ... Read more »

Unfall: Taucher starb auf deutschem Gebiet im Bodensee

Ein 56-jähriger Mann ist am Samstag bei einem Tauchgang am nördlichen Bodenseeufer im deutschen Bundesland Baden-Württemberg gestorben. © Bereitgestellt von Blick Taucher starb auf deutschem Gebiet im Bodensee Wie die ... Read more »

Spice Girls are piling pressure on Victoria Beckham to join them on 2023 world tour

JUST weeks after we revealed that the Spice Girls were in secret talks about a 2023 world tour, we can reveal that the foursome are piling pressure on Victoria Beckham ... Read more »

American Athletic championship: Cincinnati rolls Houston to earn slot in playoff

Cincinnati scored three quick touchdowns to start the second half and pulled away to beat Houston 35-20 in the American Athletic Conference championship game Saturday. The win brings the Bearcats ... Read more »

Howard hands American 7th-straight loss with 90-56 win

WASHINGTON (AP) — Steve Settle III scored 19 points and Randall Brumant scored 16 points making all seven of shot attempts and Howard beat American 90-56 on Saturday. In ending ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic