You know me, whenever a new instant noodle/ramen appears at the Chinese supermarket I have to try it. This week, though, there was a new item sitting on the shelf right next to noodle packages. The photo on the packaging looked interesting enough and since I really love glutinous (or short-grain/sticky rice) I had to check it out. Coincidentally, I’d been craving some sticky rice lately so it was really quite a serendipitous discovery.
One package equals one serving and costs $1.59 which isn’t too bad a price in my opinion. Inside the box is a sealed pouch that contains all the ingredients already fully cooked. All you really need to do is heat it up.
There’s actually a whole lot of scientific info written on the pouch itself including diagrams. Apparently, the pouch harnesses some sort of advanced Japanese technology that makes it better than the traditional metal can in terms of food preservation and storage. I can definitely see the benefits. It’s lightweight, durable, air tight, portable, and there’s less trash/waste compared to a bulky metal can.
Back to the instant sticky rice…
The instructions on the back of the cardboard packaging (in which the pouch is contained) says that there are three methods to reheat the meal. You can:
- Throw the sealed pouched into a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes (5 minutes per side. You’ll need to flip the pouch over halfway through the cooking time).
- Empty the contents of the pouch into a bowl, spritz the rice mixture with water, cover it with plastic wrap, and microwave for 2 minutes.
- Throw the sealed pouch into an electric rice cooker for 20 minutes.
I was tempted to go with Option 2 but I was afraid of adding too much water and making the rice soggy so I went with the pot method.
“Glutinous fried rice” is what it says on the box but I think some people would know it as Taiwanese style “oil rice.” The main ingredient in the dish is short grain rice which has a characteristic sticky, chewy texture. The rice is flavored with a fragrant oil that’s infused with soy, wine, shallots, chopped shiitake mushrooms, chopped dried shrimp, and other aromatics. Usually oil rice also contains pork but I guess due to the fact that this product has no preservatives, they had to use a meat substitute that wouldn’t spoil as easily. Instead of pork, the meal contains a vegetarian meat (gluten) product that’s made to look like Chinese sausage.
To me, this instant rice meal actually tastes a lot like Chinese zongzi. It has a distinctive flavor that I associate with bamboo leaves, the wrapping in which zongzi are packaged and steamed. No complaints from me because I really like zongzi.
I have to say I wasn’t expecting much for $1.59 but I was thoroughly impressed and would repurchase. It’s not gourmet but it sure is a nice change from instant noodles when I’m in the mood for a quick meal. The only fault, and it’s a very small one, is the rice is a little more “done” than I prefer. I wouldn’t call it mushy but I like my sticky rice to be slightly firmer and more chewy in texture. That’s just my personal preference. Others might consider the sticky rice perfectly done. It’s still a very tasty dish overall. I even bought a package for my dad to try and he gives it a thumbs up as well, and he’s usually very old-school when it comes to Chinese food. He likes authenticity and everything prepared from scratch, so to get his stamp of approval is kind of a huge deal ^.^