Cheetos are more than a throwback snack from your childhood. The crunchy cheese curls are making their way onto adult plates, in a nostalgic food trend that will leave your fingers neon orange.
Cheetos are being added as coatings and crunch toppings on everything from sushi to french fries. Nevin Barich, a food-and-beverage market analyst and junk-food blogger, says that Cheetos remind us of childhood. “There’s something to be said for nostalgia,” he tells Thrillist. Barich says that there's also a backlash against healthy food trends like green juices, detoxes and acai bowls. “Whenever there is a big push towards healthier food and healthier beverages, I think in contrast, there’s always going to be a kind of backlash."
Hot Cheetos have made their way into the Inferno Sushi Burrito from Okipoki in Downtown, Los Angeles. The burrito (spotted below at Thrillist) is stuffed with spicy tuna and mayo and rolled in furikake-and-Flamin’ Hot Cheetos crumbs. “While growing up, a lot of us had an intense obsession with Hot Cheetos (it’s still pretty severe for some of us) and we would often joke about incorporating it into an item on our menu,” Josh Estrada of Okipoki explains. “What started as a jesting suggestion eventually turned into a popular order request as others, too, were able to find a sense of nostalgic satisfaction for themselves.”
The Cheetos food trend is also introducing a whole new audience to the addictive snack. Jjan’s 420 Fries have hooked Korean patrons, who never grew up with Cheetos, with crispy fries bathed in nacho cheese and topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and an egg. You actually eat them with chopsticks. “Most of our customers here -- Koreans who were not raised here, immigrants -- don’t really know about the American culture,” says co-owner Tommy Lee. “When I was in high school, we used to eat [Hot Cheetos with cheese] all the time."
Are you ready for the Cheetos food trend?