Pet Peeve #67: When a Restaurant Changes the Recipe for a Dish You Love

Okay, I want to start off by saying that this is an incredibly privileged article for me to write today, especially given the dire situations happening in Puerto Rico and Mexico right now. However, I’ve donated to both relief efforts, so I feel a little less guilty about writing this.

Today I had lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant in St. Louis. I wanted to order one of the best foods I’ve ever tasted, Khao Soi, but I begrudgingly chose another dish.

Why? Because the last two times I’ve been to this restaurant, it became clear that they had changed the recipe. It’s still delicious, but it’s missing the magic it once had.

I came home and had a few Trader Joe’s chocolate mints…and I realized they changed their recipe too! I’ve suspected it for a while, but I’m now positive that there’s something different about the mint.

The last example I can think of are McDonald’s fries. I have no memory of what their fries tasted like in the ’80s, but apparently in 1990 they changed their recipe, and the new flavor doesn’t come close to the original. There’s a great Malcolm Gladwell podcast about it here.

Have you ever experienced this? When has someone changed a recipe that was already perfect for you?

7 Responses to “Pet Peeve #67: When a Restaurant Changes the Recipe for a Dish You Love”

  1. Jeff Spenner says:

    Along these lines, I also hate when a restaurant removes a dish I love from its menu. I always find out about this at the restaurant after I’ve been eagerly anticipating consuming said dish. A quasi-recent example: I went to Panera (St. Louis Bread Co. for you STL folks…) and wanted their French Onion soup. No more French Onion soup. I was a little upset. And, when they did bring the French Onion soup back, the recipe had changed. So…I guess I got a double-whammy.

  2. foodcravejas says:

    Nothing makes me more sad than that. The dish is still there but it’s just not the same. It’s just there to haunt me. Whatever the ratio of ingredients they have in there is the same, the cooking process not the same, therefore, the outcome is not the same. My tummy can never be satisfied like it did before. What a sad day!

    I remember longing for this Hong Kong snack a couple weeks before my trip to go there. I was so happy to finally be able to put that in mouth only to be disappointed a few days later. After decades, yes, decades, of using the same recipe that have gather them a nice group of loyal customers, they changed it. So sad. I’m still crave for it once a while.

  3. Ben C. says:

    For me, it’s Twinkies… as a young guy, I used to pack 2 a day in my lunch for school (what were my parents thinking???). I absolutely love them. I was sad when they went bankrupt and stopped making them, even though I maybe had 1-2/year at this point. When they announced they were going to start making them again I was excited and went out and bought them the first day they were available. I bit into the first one, and it was horrible. My dad’s in the food business, so I asked him what was up?? He said they changed the recipe slightly, so that they had a longer shelf life, as well as shipping them “in slack” now, which means they ship them frozen and they thaw out out the customer’s dock prior to stocking the shelves. This leads to the sponge and cream filling getting hard and gummy. It just makes me sad when I see them on the shelf at the store now

  4. Jing says:

    Arnott’s shapes (a type of savoury biscuit in Australia) changed the flavouring of two of their biscuit types last year and there was huge backlash from consumers. See article here:

    They’re not necessarily my favourite biscuits but my husband loves them and we were both actually surprised at how bad the new varieties tasted (I thought customers were complaining just to be dramatic). Arnott’s ended up reverting back to the original recipe though!

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