Next Big Trends: Collagen Beauty Drinks, Dried Lizards, and Frozen Sharks

If you missed the first part of our travel log from Thailand, click here to find out more about condom salad and cooking with poo.

The annual THAIFEX World of Food Asia show is an international trade fair held annually in Bangkok in late May and June. It's an offshoot of ANUGA, the world's largest food and beverage trade fair held annually in Cologne, Germany. The fair covers foods and beverages, catering, food technology and more, and hundreds of vendors and buyers come from around the world to explore the offerings. Over 1,000 exhibitors showed at this year's event and, blessedly, most of them offered samples.

Based on what I saw at THAIFEX 2011, here are my predictions for some food trends that may travel across to our time zone:

Beauty drinks: These were everywhere. Asians seemed more keen to slurp collagen than that taurine we inhale in the form of energy drinks. Companies were injecting CoQ10, aloe, and lycopene, too. (Note: I realize that we've had a few of these introduced into American markets, like Borba, but my theory behind their failure is that they were priced out of reach.)

Seaweed snacks: Seaweed is still mostly foreign to the tastebuds--outside of the occasional sushi restaurant visit--but with a little seasoning dried seaweed can easily take the place of potato chips.

Wheat grass: One company sold grow-it-at-home kits and offered tastes of muffins, smoothies and baked goods made with the stuff. If you can ignore the forest green hue, the stuff doesn't taste too bad when mixed with other ingredients. And the health benefits are undeniable.

And then there were the items I sense aren't going to take off in the U.S., such as...

Pandy Fish: Panda-shaped, compressed fish bits. I don't know about you, but it would've taken nothing short of a deep fryer to get me to eat seafood when I was young.

Yep, even deep fried but disguised as a hot dog wouldn't have fooled me.

Photo by Riki Altman

Dried lizard:

Okay, so it's really dried lizard


, but still...

Frozen shark fin: If PETA saw this in our supermarkets, they'd go berserk.

And, in other news, Florida's Natural orange juice was there representin' the Sunshine State (though their spokespersons were wearing cowboy hats and ripped denim shorts--guess our home state is considered part of the Deep South after all).

And here's a shot of an entry into the fruit carving contest. Mad skillz.

Tomorrow we'll visit two extraordinary Thai food markets.

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