Last week was intense! Between my 9-5 graphic design day job, house hunting, being a guest artist at a local school, teaching 4-art lessons there (kindergarten, 1st, 3rd & 6th), attending a wedding, and running my Etsy shop...I barely had any time to sleep, let alone blog. On the bright side, I may have finally found a new place to live! (Fingers crossed! Please send me all your good house-buying vibes!)
I have a few hours of free time tonight, so I'm going to type up as many reviews as I can and schedule them to post this week. No more missed days!!
It's been really rainy and gloomy here in NJ, since fall has hit us like a ton of bricks, so I have some warm and soothing soup for today's #meatlessmonday desk lunch.
Aldi's "Journey to..." cardboard sleeve design has some nice faux texturing, and it looks...dare I say? Classy? Okay, that's a bit of a stretch, but it's as classy as a microwavable shelf-stable soup can be. We have a little bit of a map at the top, showing Thailand, some bold colors, an appetizing photo, and clean easy-to-read typefaces. Not bad at all! Much better than a styrofoam cup you pour hot water into.
Once you get past the nicely printed cardboard sleeve, you get a plastic bowl, filled with plastic packets. One bag contains dry noodles, and the other had a thick red sauce. According to the instructions all I have to do is mix the packets together with some water, microwave, and BOOM, lunch is served. When you're a walking zombie like me, that sounds pretty awesome.
Okay, so the instructions were really simple...but I had to change them. I filled it about half an inch below the marked fill line for water, and popped it into the microwave for the recommended 3 minutes. The packaging asked for WAY too much water, if I filled it up to the recommended point it would have been spill-city carrying this back to my desk, and I am 95% sure I'd end up having to clean overflow and splatter out of the microwave. Nope, not gonna happen. Less water, less headaches. I doubt it'll effect the final product, so it shouldn't be an issue for this review.
When it was ready, I carried it over to my desk, took off the lid, stirred everything up, and took my first sip/bite. My first impression is that the broth is pretty refreshing for a microwaved soup. It's very flavorful with bold tomato and red pepper notes, some citrus, and a healthy amount of spices. Very yummy stuff! The broth is great, but the noodles are very gummy and slippery. They're rice-based, and they've been microwaved, so that's to be expected, but they were really difficult and messy to eat.
I tried a few different utensils. The noodles kept sliding off my fork and splashing into the soup which sprinkled my desk, keyboard, clothes...pretty much everything in a 2ft-radius, with tiny oily red broth spots. Spoons are no help at all and couldn't pick up any noodles, and take-out wooden chopsticks caused the same splatter effect as the fork. Normally a little splatter wouldn't be an issue, but the oils and pastes that make this broth so complex and enjoyable are also VERY staining. It turns everything it touches orange, and you need a alcohol-based cleaning wipe to get it off your keyboard, and oil-targeting soap if you have any hope of getting it off your clothes.
The broth is really yummy, and I didn't bring anything else for lunch today, so I ended up making myself a tablecloth out of napkins, ate with my face super close to the bowl, and used the wrap-around cardboard sleeve as a soup shield/bib for my clothes. It was a hassle, and I looked ridiculous, but it worked out pretty well! (I'm a desk-lunch MacGyver!)
Honestly, it did taste really good, and I would buy this again to eat at home, preferably out of a larger less splatter-prone bowl, but that would defeat the purpose of this product. It's an instant soup, it's meant to be a quick, simple meal on the go with little to no clean up, but it doesn't live up to those promises.
Is it yummy? Yes! But the same oils and flavors that make this yummy are also a neat-freak's nightmare. I'd say it's worth trying, but you need to eat very carefully, and I'd recommend wearing a shirt you don't care about.
© Maria Smith http://poison-and-antidote.net
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