Bowls are the new plates

Anne Lataillade


This new trend has arrived direct from the United States, not riding on the back of a product or a technique but a container: the bowl. It is time to dig out your old ones from the back of your cupboards and buy new ones because the bowl is the new plate. Your can use them for serving up either sweet or savoury dishes, the underlying idea being to offer a complete, healthy dish which is good for you, with a mixture of different textures, both soft and crunchy

It has come back into fashion for a variety of reasons:  

Eating from a bowl rather than a plate allows you to present food in a more appetising manner, with volume. It has a pleasing shape and and the cherry on top is that your dish instantly becomes more Instagrammable. Perform a quick search for hashtags for bowls, power bowls, etc. on your social networks and you will be surprised by the number of the results you get.

In addition to this, eating from a bowl seems less formal for us than eating from a plate. A step backwards perhaps, reminding us of our childhood breakfasts?  As a result, a restaurant serving its dishes in a bowl seems more relaxed to us. You can already find establishments devoted to the bowl from New York to Singapore, from Melbourne to London.

In addition, chefs and stars have got on board. In her last book, Simply Nigella, the British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson devotes a whole chapter to it; as for Gwyneth Paltrow, the great Hollywood priestess of healthy eating, she wrote on her website GOOP: “Everything looks better in a bowl.”

Of course, there was already the donburi, a traditional Japanese dish comprising a bowl of rice finished with a garnish or the Korean bibimbap but I am talking about poke bowls, Buddha's bowls, smoothies bowls, power bowls, coconut bowls, etc.

An overview of the main types of bowls As you can see, there is one for every moment of the day.

The Smoothie Bowl: As its name suggests, the Smoothie Bowl is a smoothie, served in a bowl. But that’s not all. The idea is, as always, to combine the flavour with the visual. So you need to come up with a fairly dense smoothie made from fruit and yoghurt or fruit, cereal and plant-based milk, decorating it with strips of fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberries, banana slices, etc.) and seeds (flax, squash) or nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts). With that, you are good for the morning.


The Buddha’s Bowl: Its name comes from the largest of the traditional bowls used by Buddhist monks during their meal-time rituals. When you prepare a Buddha Bowl, you have to think even more about healthy cuisine, good for both body and mind: take your choice of seeds, legumes, vegetables, fruits, tofu; in short, food which does you good. Meat is not forbidden but often there isn’t any or just a little bit.

The Poke Bowl: This dish originated in Hawaii and is associated with lightly marinated raw fish (often tuna or salmon, fish which are rich in Omega 3), vegetables (cucumber, avocado), rice, soy sauce and sesame seeds. It is very easy to make at home, you just have to be very careful about the freshness of the fish. Very much in tune with the times thanks to its health benefits, it is also a favourite in those restaurants which have added it to their menus. For example, there is the Shangri-La Hôtel in Paris which served them this summer, or the specialist chain Sushishop which offers several versions of them (teriyaki salmon, spicy tuna or citrus sea bream).

The Acai bowl: Acai is a purple berry from South America the health benefits of which we have heard so much about. Considered as a super food, it is used as a fruit chez Dose in Bordeaux for example whose Acai bowls are served with oat flakes, banana, agave syrup and goji berries or goji pulp in the case of Season Paris, where it is also served with bananas and finished with a topping.

The Bowl Cake: It has taken over from the mug cake. The Bowl Cake differs from the other bowls above because, unlike them, it is cooked.  It generally comprises a blend of cereals (often oat flakes), an egg, milk and baking powder. Just mix everything together in your container and cook it for a few minutes in a microwave. Serve with fresh fruit. 

The Power Bowl: The special feature of the Power Bowl is the concentrated energy which it is supposed to provide. It should contain lean proteins, vegetables, wholegrain cereals and a bit of something crunchy with, for example, the addition of walnuts or hazelnuts. Its content is usually based on macrobiotic rules to achieve a perfect balance between the different types of foodstuffs.

The Quinoa Bowl: gluten-free, the quinoa bowl is also very popular at present. It combines with fruit, vegetables, seeds and proteins such as chicken, tofu and fish. It has the benefit of being nourishing.

The coconut bowl: In this case, there is no ceramic or porcelain container, it’s the coconut which serves as a bowl. Just split the coconut into two halves, drain the water and fill it with delicious healthy things: seeds, fruit, home-made granola, or even smoothies. 

The Punch Bowl: Yes, there is even one for drinks as the Punch Bowl is an XXL cocktail, served in a bowl. Always to be consumed with moderation.

To find out more, I would recommend looking on Instagram or Pinterest, where you will find an infinite variety of recipes.

Books on the subject

Power bowls by Coralie Ferreira - Hachette Pratique - €7.99 / Punch Bowls by Frédéric Le Bordays - Hachette Pratique - €7.99 / Green smoothies bowls: 65 recipes for starting the day well by Fern Green - Marabout - €10.90 / Superbowls and healthy balanced meals by Quitterie Pasquesoone - Larousse - €9.95

It’s worth noting that this trend for no longer eating from plates is not to everyone’s taste. Indeed, you could follow the Twitter account @wewantplates which shares photos of the most kitsch dishes imaginable and presentation skills which reveal a taste that could perhaps be defined as questionable.


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