We tried three of early 2021’s most viral TikTok food trends and we have some thoughts

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We tried three of early 2021's most viral TikTok food trends and we have some thoughts

Love it or hate it, TikTok is churning out recipe content and driving food trends online. We sent Jess Spiro in to investigate three trends that dominated early 2021: the baked feta pasta, that wrap and the latest banana-based sensation: 3-ingredient Samoa cookies. Here’s how she got on…

The wrap

This is less of a recipe and more of a hack, but it seemed to be EVERYWHERE so journalistic integrity meant I had to try it. The premise is pretty simple, instead of rolling a wrap, you divide it into quarters and fold it to form a neat triangle. Each quarter contains a different filling, and once folded it’s toasted in a pan to crisp up the exterior. At face value, I thought this was just a gimmick that wouldn’t hold up but I’m happy to report I was wrong. I filled my wrap with classic braaibroodjie combinations (grated cheese, sliced red onion, tomato and chutney) and used a basic seeded wrap from Woolies, and it worked really well. I was pleasantly surprised at how well everything held together and I’ll definitely be adopting this technique for future wraps.

The rating: 8/10.


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The baked feta pasta

Again, nothing wildly revolutionary here, but the result is very satisfying. All you do is toss some baby tomatoes into a roasting pan with a few cloves of garlic and some olive oil, salt and pepper and place a wheel of feta into the centre. The whole thing bakes for about 20–30 minutes (or until the tomatoes are pleasantly roasted and the feta is soft and gooey) before adding some torn basil and mixing through cooked pasta. This does exactly as it says on the tin, which is why it’s surprising that this recipe went SO viral, and the finished product is great, provided you like a very rustic tomato sauce. Some tomatoes retain their freshness, while others soften nicely, a variation of texture that not everyone might like. Additionally, the cloves of garlic need to be peeled after roasting and properly bashed up to avoid anyone getting a full clove in their mouth. It certainly won’t ever replace a lovingly cooked pomodoro sauce, but it’s an excellent hands-off, all-round tasty dish and a nice way of using up a pile of tomatoes.

The rating: 8/10


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3-ingredient Samoa cookies

Maybe I should preface this by saying I’m not entirely sure what a Samoa cookie is actually meant to taste like. Apparently ingrained in American culture as one of the cult-favourite Girl Scout cookies, the Samoa is described as a shortbread topped with coconut and caramel and drizzled with dark chocolate, which sounds fairly delicious. Enter the TikTok version, which uses mashed bananas, desiccated coconut and dark chocolate. The first two ingredients are combined and baked until toasty and firm, then drizzled in melted chocolate. What’s not to like here? Well, the first thing is the suggestion to use a very ripe banana. Isolation bakers will rejoice at having another way to use up old bananas, but perhaps this is the TikTok cookie’s downfall. The very ripe banana aroma lingers long after baking, and despite nearly drowning the cookies in dark chocolate, it continues to overpower everything. The cookies themselves also crumble dreadfully, and whatever pieces remain have an oddly spongy texture. Ways of fixing this could include adding vanilla extract or cinnamon, or perhaps even using toasted coconut flakes instead of desiccated to impart more flavour. In general though, I’m happy turning my old bananas into bread and leaving desiccated coconut for lammingtons.

The rating: 3/10, wouldn’t recommend.


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Jess Spiro Article by: Jess Spiro

Jess Spiro is a freelance food writer, chef and restaurant critic based in Cape Town, who can often be found in search of the next great plate of food. Follow her on Instagram @jess_spiro to see what she's eating.

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