29 August, 2009

Healthy Frozen Meals: Smart Ones Thai Style Chicken and Rice Noodles

After some careful deliberation and avoiding frozen foods for a few weeks, I decided that I'm going to write these up as I'm eating them. It'll make their review much more honest and make me procrastinate less on actually writing the thing up.

And today, I'm looking at Smart Ones Thai Style Chicken and Rice Noodles. The fine print under the flavor adds: In a zesty peanut sauce.

Before I jump into this review, I want to say right now that I don't like "sour" notes in my food. The flavor of vinegar to me is a complete turn-off. That's why I don't like pickles, or sauerkraut, or hot-and-sour soup, or most sweet-and-sour Asian dishes. So keep this in mind as you read my review, okay?

This meal smelled of peanut butter and vinegar, which was an immediate warning that I probably wouldn't like it. And the monotone, brown sludge that came out of the microwave wasn't very appealing. It looked kind of slimy.

The carrots are cut up into little stick-like shapes; there's not an overabundance of them but there's definitely a good handful, and the rice noodles are all clumped together. That's one of the reasons I'm not a huge fan of reheated rice noodles. Sure, they're delicious, but the damn things stick together like no one's business. I stir the contents up according to package instructions and take a small bite.

The "zesty peanut sauce" is kind of strange. Peanutty, kind of sweet, and with an odd kind of tomato flavor, like tomato soup. It has a very mild cayenne-pepper spiciness. And a definite vinegary sourness.

Remember what I said about me not liking sour. For me, the combination of the vinegar and the tomato made this meal taste like those vomit-flavored jelly beans that come in Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Bean. Objectively, this flavor combination probably works for a lot of people, but I just hate hate hate vinegar flavoring. Getting through this one bite of noodle is hard enough, and without Dave here to egg me on, I can't stomach much more of this. I can't even tell you what the carrots or the chicken is like, because I can't get past the one bite of it.

Other web reviews seem to be pretty positive, but I know I won't be buying it again.

Calories: 260
Calories From Fat: 35
Sodium: 570 mg; 24%

Dave has his say:

Smart Ones Thai Style Chicken and Rice Noodles is an interestingly-flavored example of cheapo Thai taste. The peanut/tomato/sweet-and-sour flavor of the sauce does have a vinegary tang to it, so it's really not something Lynnafred would have liked.

As for the meal itself: The rice noodles are tender and somewhat sticky, loosened with a mildly spicy peanut sauce that has shades of tomato, sweet, and sour elements. The flavor of the carrots in the dish is enhanced with the addition of concentrated carrot juice; unfortunately this had the effect of giving the sauce a kind of tomato soup taste.

The chicken was well seasoned and flavorful, and there was a fairly generous portion of large, firm chunks. The ingredients said "roasted chicken tenderloin" and I have no reason to doubt it.

Overall, the meal wasn't all that bad, and was a nice change from some of the more run-of-the-mill noodly frozen meals. Props to Heinz for a tasty faux-Thai lunch, even though the sour aspect might turn some people away.



Anonymous said...

i thought this was sooooooooooo good..i've been waiting for it to be on sale ever since my first try!

Lindsey said...

This is my favoriteee frozen meal, I think the sauce is so yummy. I'm always trying to find a reciepe