November 01, 2010 | | Comments 7

Asian Bistro — Ready To Eat Meals

Disclosure: This post is written from samples provided by Deluxe Food Inc, the distributor of the Asian Bistro ready-to-eat curry products.

Deluxe Food contacted us a few weeks ago and asked if we would like to take a look at their products. You know it had been quite long time already since we had ever done product reviews based on samples. In any case … and for what it’s worth … we had always agreed to do so if the samples are not just for us but also for our readers.

So Suanne went to the office of Deluxe Food in Richmond the other day to pickup some samples. We were surprised that they gave us 30 boxes of it. I thought it was pretty generous of them.

If only it was easier to pass it on to chowtimes readers, we would have. So we decided to give most of them away to the 14 diners at the chowtimes dinner at Luda.

I also took some to the office and let the folks try it too. After all, I thought it is something that would be most handy in a work environment.

This product is different from the many processed food you find in the supermarket aisle where these food are stored in the refrigerated section. Asian Bistro uses the latest freshness sealing and preservation technology known as the Retort Pouch. Originally developed for the US Army and used by NASA astronauts, a Retort Pouch is a sophisticated multilayer, high barrier laminate package. Food is kept fresh without the need for preservatives.

So no refrigeration is required until open. I thought that is neat because … I could stash these in my drawer in the office and not the office fridge. Yeah, in my office fridge food does get mysteriously missing once in a while. :-)

When I open up the box, the first thing I see is the packaging that reminded me of the MREs (meal-ready-to-eat) that Arkensen and Nanzaro often brings from from their camping trip.

Yeah, it looked very much like the ones we blogged about here — army food. :-)

It was simple to cook. You can either microwave it or boil the pouch in water. Basically this is just to warm this up because the food is already pre-cooked.

Actually the food is pretty good. It really tastes much better than the frozen ones.

When I tore the pouch, one could smell the food of home cooking. And it also tastes good too. You have to taste it to know what I mean.

The only thing I did not quite like was the rice. While it had the right texture of home cooked rice, the grains were broken when I twisted the rice pouch.

Serving wise, it was not big … just similar in size to what you get for the normal frozen food in the supermarket.

One other thing I like is that you can microwave the food in the box it came in. No washing.

I left a few boxes in the company kitchen with a sign that says “Take One and Try”. Within 2 hours they were all gone.

All of them liked it. They like the natural taste.

Here are some of the feedback:

“… not too bad. About the quality of food court. Good enough for a quick meal and home cooking in a hurry …”

“… 2 chili’s out of 3 on the spice level, was not too spicy for me …”.

“… the rice was difficult to break up and tended to stay clumpy but this did not detract from the flavour …”

The product are manufactured and packaged in Thailand. Since the products contain meat, Deluxe Food’s manufacturer in Thailand is approved by CFIA Canada, and the products are certified by Department of Livestock Development in Thailand. The products are registered with CFIA and passed the food exam.

Currently, the products are soft selling in 2 of the IGA stores in Metro Vancouver, and are going to launch in others, like London Drugs, Safeway, Walmart, Superstore, Loblaws and more any day now.

The price range will be between $6 to $7. There are similar products in the market but they need to be frozen. These products can be placed in room temperature, and can be stored over 1 year, long shelf life and convenience.

Check out their website for more info.

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  1. Crispy Lechon says:

    Hi Ben, I thought today you will blog on the good and cheap mom-and-pop place in Richmond. I was so looking forward to it. :(

  2. liz says:

    I think there are a couple of companies (Tasty Bite) producing East Indian food in this manner. Have tried them but find the rice was overly oily (I guess to keep from clumping up) but the main was quite good.

  3. Mike says:

    the link to the website doesn’t work

    • Ben says:

      Hi Mike: Thanks for reporting that link problem.Just fixed it … I copy-and-pasted the link on Chrome and it stripped off the “htttp://” part of the link. Ben

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