Rice Noodle Soup Bowls from Trader Joe

Trader Joe's Rice Noodle Soup Bowls
I have a confession of some sort to make.

It all boils down to this: I’m not a lunch guy.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of every day, especially if it includes eggs and some other ingredients. Good bacon. Sometimes, however, even a small bowl of soup can be enough. delicious hearty cerealIt does the job well. It is something that I enjoy and look forward to every time it comes. Lunch? Usually, for me, it’s kind of lame. This means that I’m at work for a few extra hours, and I’m eating whatever I can grab in the 30 seconds before I run out of breath. Although I would prefer to skip lunch and eat a snack throughout the day, or wait for a large, mid-to-late lunch, my work schedule isn’t very accommodating so I have to choose. That’s why I always look for the easiest and cheapest lunch options. If I don’t enjoy the meal, it doesn’t make sense to invest time, effort, or money in making it better.

Enter Trader Joe’s Rice Noodle Soup Bowls.

You can choose from three types: Mushroom Garlic, Spring Onion, or Garlic Garlic. Each flavor is comparable to reviewing Ramen noodles. They are all the same taste, and there is no way to distinguish between them. These noodles aren’t great either. They taste like Ramen but have some color added to them. The Thai name “Thailand”, on the packaging, is misleading. These noodles are as authentically Thai as any can of Chef Boyardee ravioli. These noodles are not as good as any Thai noodle bowl that I have tried. They lack the complexity and layers of heat that Thai food offers. You can call it a Cup o’Noodles, but really it’s just salt and parsley. You can also use a LotsIt seems like more packaging is becoming a wasteful practice. The cardboard sleeve and plastic shrinkwrap are on the outside. The bowl is sturdy enough to hold its own. Inside the baggie holds the foil seasoning packet. A smaller baggie with either leafy green stuff, or mushroom nanobits, depending on which variety, and a small plastic oil packet. This packet I think adds flavor to your broth. This seems like packaging overload. You should skip the cardboard sleeve, and use the larger inside plastic baggie. Once you’ve sorted through the various pieces, mix it all up and then heat it in a microwave for 3 minutes. The result may vary from batch to batch. While I didn’t do anything different, I was careful to make sure that the water reached the lower rim. Some bowls had thick noodles with little broth and others that were very thin in terms of noodle-to soup ratio.

Now, enough of the negatives. I actually like them. Here’s why. These are very easy to make even with the simplest of kitchens in my otherwise modern workplace. Although they are not great, the rice noodles do a good enough job of getting me through. They are good enough in taste. The best thing about them is that coworkers have seen them eating them and asked how they tasted. I have always replied “Eh, they’re cheap and taste good.” This was just something I said casually, and it stuck until I ended up in the international food aisle of a local supermarket chain. Rice noodle bowls were identical (even down the same three flavors of mushroom garlic spring onion), and cost $2.29 each. You can also buy another brand of microwavable noodle boxes at your neighborhood Trader Joe’s for just $2 American per piece. These? One greenback. That’s it. While I am willing to admit that I might be missing something, these instant noodles taste about right. Even if they are more delicious, it doesn’t seem worth the extra cost.

My default quick-grab lunch at work was Chef Boyardee. It cost me a singleton. But not anymore. Sandy grabs a few for herself and I snag three to four of them every shopping trip. They are simple and cheap, which I don’t believe is why we love them so much. We also like that they can be used for lunch. Sandy tried them all, and settled on a middle number. She stated that she would prefer them to be more spicy and Thai-like. I must give them a three or four, though I did reuse a few of the plastic bowls that Sandy gave me to store office supplies. Sandy suggested that they might be useful at Sandy’s preschool. I also have to take some points for their wasteful packaging. My wife and I both agree that they are not very tasty, although I do buy them regularly for lunch. I don’t know what to think, but it sounds like a three.

Bottom line: 6.5 of 10 Golden Spoons