This is the first in what I hope will be a fruitful series of posts reviewing various microwaveable, convenience-oriented, Asian-styled food products. Each will be reviewed primarily on usability (convenience and ease of preparation) and taste.
Today’s product is Thai Kitchen Noodle Cart, Thai Peanut variety.
The product comes packaged in a lightweight plastic tray, with a plastic lid, with an attractive plastic wrapper. Unwrapping the package was reasonably easy, though prying the lid from the tray was a bit of a challenge. Inside were three ingredient pouches and a thoughtfully included plastic fork.
Once the lid was open, preparation was initially quite simple. The instructions say to remove the uncooked rice noodles from the bag, place them in the tray, and add “enough water to cover the noodles,” a perfectly convenient method of measuring required water quantity, so long as one takes care that the noodles are not floating in the water as one adds it. Pushing the noodles under the water before determining whether the amount of water was adequate proved helpful.
The noodles are microwaved three to four minutes, then let stand for one minute. There is some issue here with the variances in microwave power, and it is difficult to test the noodles’ firmness when they are immersed in very hot water afterwards. However I found three minutes to be just right on the microwave in my office.
The next step was a bit of a snag, however. The tray lid is equipped with holes for use in draining the water off of the noodles. While this is an ingenious device, re-attaching the very firm-fitting lid was a challenge. The plastic tray was hot, and hence more pliable than before microwaving, such that the pressure required to securely fasten the lid around its edges was dangerously close to being enough pressure to damage the tray. Once at least one of the lid corners bearing the drain holes is secure, however, it is possible to hold the rest of the lid on with one’s hands whilst draining. The tray and lid do become quite hot, however.
The other two ingredient packages contained an orangish seasoning powder, and some sort of clear oil. The seasoning had a rather coarse granularity and did not mix well with the noodles at first, until the oil was added, despite the fact that the directions mention adding the seasoning first.
Once completed, I found the taste slightly bland but not at all bad. For some reason, it did seem to get cold rather quickly, but this may have been related to the relatively time-consuming post-microwave procedure. Like many products in its genre, it was surprisingly filling in comparison to its apparent size.
Overall ratings: Usability: 3.5/5 (extra half-point for the fork) Taste: 3/5