July 13, 2013

Review: Tasty Bite Asian Noodles

When I wrote about LYFE Kitchen’s frozen entrees, I mentioned that my favorite heat-and-eat brand before trying LYFE was Tasty Bite. As luck would have it, Tasty Bite emailed me while I was finishing up the draft of the LYFE review – quelle coincidence! I had tried many of the Tasty Bite Indian entrees before, but they recently developed a line of Asian noodle dishes that come in the same shelf-stable packaging, and offered to send me some to try.

When I’m home in NYC, I’m usually big on cooking  my own meals. It honestly does not take that much time to throw together a quick soup or stir fry, and with those dishes, I can add basically whatever veggies and spices I have on hand. But this week, when I’ve been out of it due to my cervical spine injury, I was really grateful to have the quick and easy Tasty Bite entrees on hand.


I tried the Kung Pao and Pad Thai noodles, and found that they came in packaging that was slightly different from what I’m used to seeing from Tasty Bite. Turns out, they’ve upgraded all their packaging, and this is the new normal! The new packaging is  a pouch that you actually cut open and put right in the microwave; it only requires one minute to heat. I am usually rather skeptical of putting plastic in the microwave, but figured one time wouldn’t kill me and tried it for the sake of experimentation. (Going forward, I’d probably just pour it into a bowl first, like I did with the entrees in the old packaging; however, I should note that the new packaging is BPA-free, so I’m probably just being overly cautious.) I was surprised to find that one minute was in fact enough to make these piping hot! Although the serving size was already pretty generous, I also stirred in a package of Shiritaki noodles (and some soy sauce to mix it all together), resulting in a huge bowl of noodles that was way more than enough food.

Each package holds two servings, but I think that’s pretty small if you aren’t filling your bowl with something else like I did with the Shiritaki noodles. Both the Pad Thai (500 calories/package) and Kung Pao (440 calories/package) were a bit higher in calories than I would have liked, but adding the Shiritaki noodles made the bowl so huge and filling that I thought it was definitely worth it. (And certainly much healthier than a similar-size serving of Thai noodles from your average takeout place.) If you’re cooking for two, adding the Shiritaki noodles (and perhaps some extra veggies) would make good-sized servings that would then be very light for a meal – which is pretty nice, since Thai noodle meals are rarely light.

Looking at the rest of the nutrition stats, eating a whole package would yield 16-24% of your daily fat, no cholesterol, 32-40% of your daily fiber, and 14-16g protein – all of which is pretty reasonable. The only thing I didn’t like was the sodium levels – 38% of your daily recommendation if you eat the whole package. It’s actually not bad as far as packaged foods go, though, and when I make Asian noodles myself, I still tend to put a ton of soy sauce in, so it’s probably about the same. I would only worry about the sodium content if you were eating these as a snack or eating processed foods for every meal, but as part of a balanced diet, it really isn’t an issue.

As for the taste, I was really pleased to find that it reminded me a lot of getting regular Thai takeout – not gourmet, but still rich, indulgent, and pretty darn tasty. And unlike most Thai takeout restaurants, I knew exactly what was in this – a pretty clean ingredient list with all ingredients I recognized. (Bonus: all Tasty Bite entrees are vegan!)

Wheat noodles, water, onions, carrots, roasted peanuts, baby corn, raw sugar, tomatoes, sunflower oil, garlic, scallions, water chestnuts, natural flavors, celery, vinegar, ginger, thai basil, chilies.

Wheat noodles, water, onions, carrots, roasted peanuts, celery, scallions, baby corn, garlic, ginger, water chestnuts, natural flavors, sunflower oil, mushroom sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, sugar, toasted sesame oil, black bean sauce, chilies, sichuan pepper.

When you buy these online, they’re $3.29/pouch – which I think is a really good value for the price. But my grocery usually has these on sale at either two for $3 or two for $4, which is even better – especially in NYC! I would really compare these to ordering takeout, which typically runs about $8-10/dish, so it’s a big cost savings. The portion size is smaller than you’d get from Thai takeout, but I think those servings are way too big anyway, and I never have the self-control to stop eating before the whole dish is gone 🙂

I still really love the Tasty Bite Indian Entrees, since they have a similar list of pros and cons, but the Indian entrees will probably reign king as my “keep at my desk at work” staple, since I don’t add anything to them. Since I like to add extra noodles to the Asian Noodle entrees to make them more filling for the calories, they are more of an at-home staple. Don’t get me wrong, though, I will be buying them (with my own money) and keeping them on the shelf! There are some times that I really want something quick and easy, and the yummy comfort of getting Pad Thai delivered just sounds amazing. Instead, I’d rather grab some Tasty Bite to know that I’m getting quality ingredients and a reasonable portion size.

Disclaimer: Tasty Bite sent me several Asian Noodle entrees and Rices to try, but in return, I was only asked to share my opinions on social media. I decided to write a full post because I really liked these and had a lot to say! I was not pressured to write a positive review and all opinions expressed in today’s post are mine alone.


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