A Taste Of Thai have an interesting approach to their take-out-box-style products. The box contained no less than four ingredient pouches. A difficult-to-open plastic one of uncooked rice noodles; a plastic one of gooey sauce; a smaller plastic one of seasonings; and a paper/foil one that resembled macaroni-and-cheese cheese powder packets, containing a white powder that smelled of coconut. Also a small paper flyer inviting me to purchase a t-shirt to help the endangered species of turtles native to Thailand.
What was unusual is that the instructions call for all packets to be placed into the box at one time, before microwaving. While this simplifies the process, it felt downright wrong dumping sauce and seasoning on top of uncooked noodles and water. In addition, the process of extricating the sauce from its bag was somewhat messy; I had to wash sauce off my fingers afterwards. But even at that stage, it smelled delicious.
I should clarify that water was required, to be placed in the box before the ingredients. A Taste Of Thai get bonus points for including a “fill line” on the box to denote the correct amount of water, even if the line was a faint crease that was a bit difficult to see, and necessitated checking that the box was being held level for an accurate reading.
The trade-off for this ingredient-adding ease, however, appears to come in the form of a multi-stage microwaving process. After a three-minute first phase, the user must open the box and stir the ingredients together. This stage feels weird too, firstly because the box is very hot, making it difficult; and secondly because upon opening the box, one finds noodles that are cooked on one-half of their length (the part submerged in the soupy sauce-water-seasoning mix) and still raw and hard on the other.
Once you are satisfied at having stirred the ingredients together to the best of your ability, another 1 minute of microwaving follows, at which time the instructions claim you should probably be able to go ahead and eat the stuff. After this stage however, I found the contents still quite soupy, with some of the coconut-powder having congealed into a couple white lumps and the noodles still a bit on the firm side. Directions recommend giving it another minute if the noodles are still too firm, so after a couple of tentative bites I decided to give this a try, but only after stirring it around some more and trying to smash the coconut-powder lumps.
Finally, after one more minute in the microwave, I got what was intended. The directions say nothing about letting it stand to cool, but I had to, as it was still much too hot. Once I was able to eat the product, it tasted surprisingly good, and very nearly as spicy as curry from the Thai place up the street. The flaps on the top of the box proved somewhat obstructive to the eating process, but I soon got the hang of folding them down against the sides of the box (once they cooled off enough to hold, that is.)
Usability: 3 / 5 Taste: 4.5 / 5