Our reporter Yang Tianyue

  In recent years, prepared dishes have become one of the hottest trends in the catering industry. When the wave of industrialization swept across people's dining tables, regrets about the disappearance of fireworks and pickiness about the taste of dishes increased consumers' resistance to prepared dishes. Restaurants that insist on freshly cooked dishes in stores have become popular, attracting a group of fans. A loyal fan of "pot gas".

  "Anti-prepared cuisine" restaurant is popular

  “There are no pre-made dishes, they all rely on strong fire to stir-fry.” The big sign in front of the newly opened “Gai Ma Bang” restaurant on Balizhuang Road outside the East Fourth Ring Road attracts the attention of passers-by. The walls of the store are covered with various posters, with words such as "No need for pre-made dishes", "Reject black technology" and "Fresh to order" written on them, which has been hailed as "a breath of fresh air" by many diners. At around 6 o'clock yesterday evening, the store was packed. In addition to white-collar workers working in nearby office buildings eating work meals here, there were also many people who came from a few stops away to taste the freshly fried "pot gas".

  This is not the only street restaurant that loudly calls out "rejection of pre-made dishes". On the side of Yonghegong Street, a small restaurant called "Beixinqiao Braised Mutton" has a very simple decoration. On the wall, the words "This restaurant does not use a central kitchen, all food must be stewed over low heat" are particularly conspicuous. Many of the diners who come here to eat come here for the "low heat and slow cooking" of the pot.

  Although there are only a dozen tables in the store, there are six employees in the kitchen. "When cooking, you have to pay attention to freshly made and authentic ingredients." said the owner Guo Siyao.

  For chain restaurants with central kitchens, standardized production of pre-prepared dishes can save various costs such as labor and ingredients. Many fast-food restaurants that specialize in take-out are also keen to reduce costs and increase efficiency by purchasing pre-prepared dishes. In contrast, small street shops that still insist on freshly fried and cooked food are gradually becoming more and more popular among diners.

  “Customization” has high requirements for restaurants

  Insisting on being cooked in stores not only attracts attention, but also puts forward higher requirements for restaurant chefs. In the eyes of many diners, one of the signs that distinguishes a restaurant from using pre-made dishes or freshly fried dishes in the store is whether the dishes can be adjusted according to specific requirements - if the spiciness and ingredient combination cannot be adjusted, the dish is most likely pre-made.

  The reporter noticed that nearly half of the dishes in the Gaimabang store can reduce the spiciness or eliminate the need for chili peppers. The Black Pearl Restaurant Huaiyang Fu, which specializes in Huaiyang cuisine, can also provide customers with customized dishes.

  "Some customers need to add spiciness, and some customers have taboos and do not eat onions, coriander or seafood." Mao Liming, the person in charge of Huaiyang Prefecture's Anding store, told reporters that the store has been operating at the same location for 13 years, and all dishes are freshly fried. "Customers can choose whatever they want in the ordering system. If it's not in the system, we'll find a technology supplier to add it. Now we've added two pages."

  The "gang leader" of Gaima Gang told reporters that the four chefs in the store are already too busy, and they have to continue to recruit workers after the Spring Festival; the cooking fumes are huge, and the kitchen also needs to be equipped with a more powerful fume purification system, which will increase costs. , can only be saved from store decoration and marketing expenses.

  The development of prepared dishes urgently needs national standards and regulations

  In the catering industry in recent years, prepared dishes have been one of the most popular areas. Chain catering brands such as Xibei and Meizhou Dongpo took the lead in creating high-profile pre-made food brands through central kitchens. Jia Guolong Kung Fu Cuisine, Wangjiadu, etc. were born one after another. This "trend" also attracted countless capitals to enter the market. According to data from iiMedia Research, my country’s prepared vegetable market will be 419.6 billion yuan in 2022 and is expected to rise to one trillion yuan in 2026.

  In the past, quick-frozen dumplings and pasta, vacuum-packaged cooked food, and semi-finished New Year’s Eve dinners with short shelf life have long been readily accepted by consumers. However, as pre-cooked dishes enter restaurants to replace freshly fried dishes, regrets about the disappearance of "wok gas" have triggered consumer resistance.

  What is attracting attention is that recently, a food additive called "pot flavor" has entered the public eye. According to the merchant, as long as you add a drop to the reheated pre-prepared dishes, you can "perfectly restore the pot flavor when cooking. , It can even reach the point where the fake is mistaken for the real one.” However, after trying it, Ms. Yuan, a citizen who loves to cook, found that "pot aroma" cannot replace freshly stir-fried food at all. "The aroma often does not match the ingredients, and it tastes weird."

  According to Zhu Danpeng, a food industry analyst, the level of companies currently entering the prepared dish track is uneven. It is necessary to speed up the formulation of industry standards and specifications for prepared dishes, respond to public concerns about the safety of prepared dishes, and force industry innovation from the consumer side. Upgrade and iterate.

  According to "China News Weekly", the submission of the national standard for prepared dishes has now taken shape, and the results will be available within six months at the earliest. The biggest highlight is that the addition of preservatives is prohibited and cold chain transportation is required. By raising industry entry thresholds and improving regulatory mechanisms, prepared dishes are expected to enter a standardized and healthy development track.

  (Beijing Daily)