Gardein used to have a few kinds of ready-meal type products back when I first went vegan. There were pizza pockets, cans and even more faux meat selections available. They ended up having to cut a lot of their line in Canada for some reason, which sucks because I would gladly be eating their pizza pockets if they were still available.
It’s been a few years now and they’ve thankfully slowly begun expanding their product line again. Though I’m not sure how far off they are from bringing back their pizza pockets, I was excited to try this ready-meal bowl once they crossed the border.
This Chick’N Teriyaki Style Bowl is the first of it’s kind I’ve tried. I’ve never had another ready-meal version of this, so keep in mind I don’t really have anything to compare this too.
Usually, not having anything to compare a new product to is great, because then you’re not sub-or-consciously keeping tabs on things it does different than the other product.
That said, even without anything to compare it to, this product wasn’t my favourite thing from Gardein.
For starters, it came in a black plastic container that I think was supposed to look like a faux takeout container. Not only have I been trying to stay away from plastic (and I believe the black takeout container plastic is one of the harder kinds to recycle), it was a lot smaller than I was expecting.
And I know I say that basically every time – you’d think for someone who’s tried as many vegan products as I have, I’d expect things to be on the smaller side by now. But for a product that’s supposed to be an entire meal, it was very small. This could maybe be an appetizer to tide you over before the main course – like having a light soup before the entrée at a fancy restaurant – but if you’re planning on eating just this for dinner? Prepare to stay hungry.
This product also said to microwave it, which I didn’t because I try to avoid using them as much as I can. It actually cooked in the same amount of time on the stove in a pan (about 5-6 minutes) as the cooking instructions said it would.
It was also a lot more apparent just how small this portion was once I had it in the pan and out of the container it came in. It was maybe a half bowl’s worth of rice.
The taste was also not that great. Now, I’m not sure if there’s different ways to make teriyaki sauce, but every food I’ve had that said it was “teriyaki” was some sort of soy sauce concoction. This product however, tasted more like plum sauce.
If you enjoy plum sauce, that’d be a plus, but unfortunately I don’t like it. This made the dish weirdly sweet and it somehow also had a kick to it? I guess it’s the definition of “sweet and spicy”, but I wasn’t expecting that (and wouldn’t have ordered it) from a product that was labelled “teriyaki”.
The plus side of this dish, was that despite it being small, it came with about 10 pieces of chick’n strips. The strips I don’t think were anything special, though. They just tasted like their regular bagged ones.
If I remember correctly, this bowl was either more or about the same price as their chick’n strips bag. (I tried to find the price for this article, but Good Rebel, VeganSupply and Loblaws were either sold out or no longer carry the product)
Honestly, you could probably make a much better version of what this dish is supposed to be if you just bought their chick’n strips separately and combined everything yourself.
Again, if you enjoy plum sauce, spiciness and small portions, you might love this dish! But as for me, while I wouldn’t count this product as “bad” I definitely wouldn’t buy it again – unless it was my only option.
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