The Fast and The Delicious

June 20, 2016
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Nobody really knows why Hot Dogs are called “Hot Dogs.” Some say it’s because of their Dachshund looks while others try linking it etymologically to German aristocrats. My favorite theory involves sausage makers being accused of using dog meat! But that was in the mid-1800s.

Today, when I’m hungry, I go to the nearest Hot Dog stand and treat my self a Chicken Hot Dog. Yes, there are several Hot Dog stands throughout the city of Kathmandu. In fact, there is quite a variety in the menu. You order according to your hunger status. For example, at Urban 2 Go, when I feel snacky, I go for a quick Classic Hot Dog. When starving, I devour the Monster Dog. The best part isn’t the taste or the quality or the economical pricing or the range of products or the accessible multiple locations throughout the valley; the best part is that they serve my order within a couple of minutes… or sometimes a couple of couple minutes. The point is – you save time! And for this key reason, processed meats are taking over the world.

Nowadays, both of the spouses are working professionals. There is no time or energy to start cooking dinner from a whole raw chicken nor is there much time for breakfast in the morning. We all depend heavily on processed foods nowadays. I simply get some cereals, eggs and bacon. Work, work, work.

There are a handful of mass meat processors in Nepal that produce Sausages, Salami, Bacon, Ham, Bratwursts, Cold Cuts, Parts and Frozen Momo. Even Momo! A decade ago, if you wanted Momo, you would need at least an hour and a room full of family members. Now, you want, you open your freezer, you pour them in the steamer for 10 minutes and there you go with a full belly in the 11th minute.

The down-side or the expensive side is that you will usually need to keep these meat products in a freezer below -4°C. But on the other hand, the up-side of this down-side is that, when frozen, you can use these goodies for a year or so.

But what if you don’t have access to a freezer? What if Load Shedding unfailingly proves that Load Shedding’s a b*tch? How do you enjoy processed meat then?

Well, canned meats are a pretty good option. You can get delicious ready-to-eat canned sausages, ham and luncheon meat. The great thing about canned products is that you can store them in room temperature for 3 to 5 years. Just rack ‘em up. Urban Food has recently come up with canned Sausages produced for the first time ever in Nepal!

There’s another fantastic option for enjoying processed meat. It’s a Nepalese classic. It’s a multi-purpose ingredient in numerous recipes. It’s amazing. It’s Sukuti! It undergoes the process of smoking and drying and you can store it in room temperature for around a year. Since Sukuti is a Nepalese tradition, there are many that produce them. Most actually produce them from home.

However, for production of processed meats with European origins, you generally pretty much need a factory. Probably one that uses “German Technology.”

But wait, what is this “German Technology” that big processors claim of using? Just to name a few: Urban Food, Prasuma, Swiss Gourmet, Nina & Hager, Gourmet Vienna, Meatco, etc. Let me try to put it in the most precise words possible: “German (or any other fancy national) Technology” is – the brand or type of the machinery, the mechanical and manual techniques used in the process and the recipe of product. These three key factors are what qualifies the production as “German Technology.”

Nina & Hager’s front-man is a German technology trainee. Swiss Gourmet and Gourmet Vienna both were initially setup by their respective nationals. Urban Food, the youngest of the processors, has German and Austrian chefs live in Nepal periodically who impart wisdom, share secret recipes, connect to European sources and train their technical expertise to the entire manufacturing unit at Urban Food in Kathmandu. Besides these, there are quiet a few other medium and small sized meat processors in Nepal.

When these companies manufacture such western meat products, they distribute it to consumers via supermarkets, marts, hotels and restaurants who enjoy such modern foods. When I want to get a burger, I go to Café Soma or Café Nina. When I want Hot Dogs, I go to Urban 2 Go. When I want something different, I go to a Chinese stick house. And when I want some entertainment, I smile at the thought of some who say that processed meats should actually be cheaper than raw meats.

How? No way. Let me show you with an example how processed meats turn out to be more expensive.

Did you know that most Sausages are not 100% meat? They’re about 75%. Other 25% is fats, oils, spices, preservatives, flours, water and so on. Now compare this with a Whole Raw Chicken, which is about 60% meat and 40% bones and all. Let’s say, for example, that both of products are 100 grams each.

First of all, the 75 grams of the meat in the Sausage would require all the 60 grams of the Whole Chicken + some more of another piece of Chicken. Second, the remaining 25% of the Sausage contains oils, spices and all such expensive stuff. Third, the Whole Chicken might cost you Rs. 300 per KG when raw. But the Sausage will have undergone a massive “process” through expensive machines, skilled labor work, traditional recipes, cold room storage, vehicle transportation, supermarket display and whatnot. And after all, you get a meat product that you can simply thaw and eat. Meaning, you save time! These are just the basic reasons why processed meats are definitely more value-added and expensive than raw meats.

So, to save time and enjoy delicious meats, go for processed meats, like so many already do. It’s fast and delicious.

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