Over recent years there has been a noticeable boom in the UK restaurant industry in Asian and Pan-Asian restaurants, as well as general restaurant menu choices reflecting this style. According to the Asian grocer Wing Yip who surveyed 3,000 consumers in February 2016, the number of pan-Asian dishes listed by branded restaurants rose by 9% over the last three years.
This rise has been attributed to the fact that consumers are less keen to cook this style of food at home, owing to the perceived difficulty and range of unusual ingredients needed. It’s also been affected by the fact that British tourists are taking more and more holidays in Asian countries, and are getting a taste for the respective nation’s cuisines.
This style of cooking is fast, fresh and full of flavour, so it requires a large number of ingredients to be on hand. Williams’ preparation counters are perfect for Asian cuisine as they can hold a huge variety of ingredients all kept separately and perfectly chilled. Pan-Asian food chain wagamama’s new restaurant in Staines purchased a number of Jade counters with raised pan holders and cut-out wells in order to make perfect prep stations for many of their multi-ingredient dishes. Even things such as salad dressings and oils were stored in the unit for easy access.
Part of the appeal of some types of Asian food is that the act of cooking them is an exciting, sensory spectacle. Teppanyaki-style restaurants make use of this by cooking on huge woks in front of customers, so that the smells and sounds of the cooking are part of the dining experience. Indeed, wagamama Staines makes uses of an open theatre-style kitchen that allows diners to catch a glimpse of their food being cooked in front of them. Williams low-level refrigeration help support this style of service.
Wagamama is all about flavoursome food and this is evident in the amount of fresh ingredients used in their dishes. Therefore preserving this freshness when it gets to the customers’ table is paramount. By using a blast chiller, wagamama Staines are able to prepare food in advance whilst still maintaining the appearance, flavour and texture of their meals.
As consumers become more adventurous in their tastes, it’s important that restaurant’s react to this and introduce more unusual dishes from perhaps previously unexplored cuisines. The 2016 Wing Yip survey found that 39% of the participants chose to eat Thai food regularly, and 20% wanting to eat Japanese dishes.
To read more about our experience in a wagamama kitchen, read the case study here.