Food Trends: Bowls On the Go

July 2024


Indian fusion on Federal Hill

“Always fresh, always healthy” is owner Kirti Zinjuwadia’s mantra at Cilanter, a modern Indian fusion restaurant that opened recently on Federal Hill. The extensive menu includes tacos, wraps, salads, and vegan options, with bowls the most popular choice for many customers. “People want to have a meal, but they want to pick and choose,” says Zinjuwadia. “With the bowl concept, people get what they want. People want to eat tasty food, but at the same time, they don’t want to compromise and are looking for healthy alternatives, without preservatives, without processing.”

A customer favorite is the Chicken Tikka Bowl. “We marinate the chicken, cook it fresh, curried with turmeric rice,” says Zinjuwadia. Customers have over 20 toppings and sauces to choose from, including desi cucumber salad, fried chilies, and chatpata avocado, as well as more traditional add-ons like fajita peppers and chopped onions. Also popular are the Mini Samosa appetizer and the vegan Street Style Chickpea Bowl. Zinjuwadia expects to open additional locations on the East Side and Cumberland in the near future. 168 Atwells Avenue,


Traditional poke in Mount Hope

Hometown Poke’s mobile truck is a familiar sight around the state, and fans have been visiting their cozy cafe on Camp Street since 2018. Owner Tiffany Ting explains why poke bowls have become so popular. “A bowl lends itself well to the fast-casual trend that we’re seeing – it’s portable, it’s a whole meal, and it’s easy to take anywhere,” she says. “They also allow us to mix different items, and to layer options over salad or rice. I’m Asian and grew up eating bowls of rice – that’s more normal to me than bread or pasta – so I’ve always defaulted to eating food from bowls.”

The Hometown Classic is a top seller. “It’s got lots of flavor, and a good mix of tuna and salmon,” says Ting. “Spicy shrimp is popular too.” Ting prepares their sriracha aioli sauce in-house, from authentic sriracha. She recently introduced bubble tea to the menu, which is “very much in line with our food and our culture,” she notes. Look for a second location opening this summer on Main Street in East Greenwich. 185 Camp Street,


Fresh fare in Wayland Square

If you’re looking for a healthy option on the East Side, Wayland Fresh serves made-to-order bowls, salads, smoothies, and more in a fast-casual environment. “The idea was to provide people with an option for healthy foods,” says owner Josh D’Abate, who opened the eatery in 2021. “The most popular items during the summer are the acai bowls.” Starting with bases like mango or papaya, these bowls are customizable with mix-ins including fresh fruit, chocolate chips, Nutella, granola, and more.

Their fresh salads are also popular. “You can create your own, or enjoy our Summer Salad with fresh arugula, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, feta cheese, and candied walnuts. People love to come in and create what they want,” says D’Abate. Like other businesses in Wayland Square, the restaurant has been impacted by the Washington Bridge’s partial closure. “It’s an unfortunate situation,” he notes, “but we’re doing our best to manage through it, and trying to make everyone feel a little better here with some of our options.” 229 Waterman Street,



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