It’s all about layering ingredients with grace in a cosy bowl. Serving food in a vessel is one of the longest-lasting international trends: it’s the art of combining carbohydrates and proteins, sprouts and colourful toppings. From Vietnamese pho and New England chowder to Persian salads and Welsh broth, these are the meals that speak the language of comfort.
Bowl food has gone from Instagram craze to Meghan and Harry’s wedding menu. It’s one of the healthy options for high-end event caterers, and it has its own section at almost every restaurant in New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, becoming very popular in England, too. Even Nigella Lawson, the Goddess of Food, confessed her passion for this new way of eating: “for me, it is simply shorthand for food that is simultaneously soothing, bolstering, undemanding and sustaining”.
Arranging a colourful Buddha or Macro bowl is not so difficult: starts with a grain base, whether it’s a popular favourite such as brown rice, farro, quinoa or couscous. Add a layer of fresh vegetables and herbs, follow that with a lean protein, chicken, tofu, eggs, chickpeas, edamame beans, then finish it off with a flavourful sauce and good fat, such as Avocado, nuts or olives for a super-powered meal. No matter what you choose to throw into your bowl, the trick is really picking toppings with different textures, colours and flavours to help everything come together, like in a wonderful canvas.
According to Charles Spence, who studies the psychology of food at the University of Oxford: “the plateware we use to eat from plays a role in what things tastes like. Holding a bowl in our hands – he writes in his book Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating (Viking) – also increases the sense of satisfaction with the meal, or even making the food taste richer or more intense. If you’re holding a bowl that’s warm, you’ll perceive other people around you as warmer”,
So, why not try to serve trendy bowl food to standing guests for your next party? Bowl, The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl + Spoon, Bowl Stories and Lonely Planet’s The World’s Best Bowl Food are the most popular books in which to find inspirations. These mini meals are an effective and stylish way to feed any numbers of guests more informally without having to sit everyone at dining tables. It’s also a wonderful way to encourage conversation: that superb icebreaker you need to kick off your party. Just, don’t forget the spoon!