In Brief: What is the Dry Food Preparation Method?

If you talk to someone in the food preparation world in Japan, they will often talk about the “Dry Method” when it comes to meal preparation. Dry is now the norm in school lunch centers throughout Japan, but that implies that there was once a “wet system” - which indeed there was!

Dry Food Preparation Method

The Dry Method of cooking and preparing is one in which there is no water flowing on the floor and containers are sealed and contained as much as possible. One of the main reasons that the Dry Method is the norm is its effectiveness in preventing bacteria and mold to grow by not creating a humid environment. With no water splashing on the ground, it is also possible to limit the secondary contamination of food-poisoning causing bacteria. Dry heat is also more comfortable and safe for workers to cook in, and therefore improves hygienic results. Lastly, the Dry Method allows facilities to be used longer as there is generally less wear and tear caused by flowing water.

Below are a few visual examples of practices under the wet system and their transition to the dry system. (Via MEXT)

Left:  The pipe lies on top of the grate, with the potential to splash water.  Right:  Running water/run off now flows directly into the pipe, with the grate located on-top of the water with little to no splashing.

Left: The pipe lies on top of the grate, with the potential to splash water.
Right: Running water/run off now flows directly into the pipe, with the grate located on-top of the water with little to no splashing.

Left:  Contents inside container could fly out and contaminate food.  Right:  With cover, contents remain inside vessel.

Left: Contents inside container could fly out and contaminate food.
Right: With cover, contents remain inside vessel.

Left:  Ingredients are close to the ground and could easily be knocked over. They could also pick up contaminates from the ground.  Right:  Raised cart meals that it ingredients are separated from the ground, with broader bed allowing more room for ingredients and contained area that they can fall into - should they fall.

Left: Ingredients are close to the ground and could easily be knocked over. They could also pick up contaminates from the ground.
Right: Raised cart meals that it ingredients are separated from the ground, with broader bed allowing more room for ingredients and contained area that they can fall into - should they fall.


Further Reading: ウェットシステムからドライシステムへ (From the Wet to Dry System) Japanese Language Only