From burgers to bowls, ramen is having a culinary moment. In fact, ramen has grown 5 percent on menus from 2014 to 2015, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast. And last year, ramen menu mentions increased by 18.2 percent from 2013 on emerging chain restaurant menus, according to Chicago researcher Technomic.
But ramen isn’t alone: One-pot wonders from congee and pho to laksa and pozole have taken over fall menus with comforting and global flavors. Bowls have grown as an entrée by 27 percent in the last decade, and they’re especially popular among national brands, according to a recent Datassential MenuTrends report.
Quick-serve chain El Pollo Loco recently added an LTO paella bowl, and McDonald’s recently tested breakfast bowls. It’s easy to see why: Not only are many one-pot concoctions an on-trend item, but they also help streamline kitchens and open up premium kitchen real estate.
One-pot dishes can be prepared in bulk and held for service, accelerating speed of service as well as pickup and delivery times. What’s more, these items stretch ingredients by filling out broths with vegetables and starches along with proteins such as pork, which marries well with a variety of flavors.
Bonus: These dishes also hit the global-flavors mark with consumers. While Americans have become more familiar with international dishes, they also crave new and exotic flavors, according to Technomic. A recent National Restaurant Association study found that two-thirds of consumers eat a more varied range of ethnic cuisines now than five years ago.
This post is sponsored by The National Pork Board