Annie Chun’s has introduced new flavors in its Noodle Bowl and Soup Bowl lines. Both products can offer a good fast food fix when we’re hankering for something Chinese right away and don’t want to order from our nearby Chinese restaurant—we end up over-ordering and paying four or five times the price of a bowl of Annie Chun’s along with lots of non-biodegradable take-out packaging. Annie Chun is green: The bowls are made of biodegradable cornstarch and the cardboard sleeve is made from recycled paperboard. They mini-meals are 100% natural and no preservatives, no MSG (but a reasonable amount of sodium).
The bowls products use Hokkien noodles, round egg noodles of medium thickness—think fat spaghetti. (Hokkien is a Chinese dialect spoken in southern Fujian, Taiwan, and throughout Southeast Asia.) In less than two minutes, you can microwave:
Garlic Scallion Noodle Bowl. Combining two of our favorite flavors and mild, this has broad appeal. Scallion lovers can add some fresh scallion for more kick. (Vegan)
Korean Sweet Chili Noodle Bowl. This flavor ratchets up the heat nicely. The “sweet and spicy red chili sauce” will please many Americans who have become accustomed to lots of sugar in everything they eat. (It was pleasant, but we found ourselves looking at the package label for the sugar grams). (Vegan)
Have microwave, will feast: Annie Chun’s
Noodle Bowls provide an almost-instant Asian
food fix at home or at work. Photo by Erika
Meller | THE NIBBLE.
Vietnamese Pho Soup Bowl is a tough one to write about. It’s advertised as a “complex and flavorful organic beef broth.” A real pho is a thing of beauty, piled high with stewed beef, noodles bean sprouts, onions, scallions, and a great complexity of spices: chile, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, black cardamom, coriander, fennel and clove, topped off with fresh lime squeezed at the table. Granted, this is the fast food version, largely broth and noodles, but the broth was so weak and indistinct we wouldn’t have known it was beef, and the only apparent seasoning seemed to be black pepper. We couldn’t help but long for the pho (a.k.a. stewed beef soup) at Talent Thai restaurant in New York City, which is a knockout dish that you want to have over and over again. (If you’re in town, you must have a bowl.) This variety is very light and mildly peppery; we would love a “complex and flavorful” re-do.
Other flavors of Noodle Bowl include Kung Pao, Pad Thai, Peanut Sauce and Teriyaki. Soup Bowls include Chicken Noodle, Hot & Sour, Korean Kimchi, Miso, Thai Tom Yum and Udon. Suggested Retail Price is $3.49 for an 8.4-ounce bowl; $34 for a 12-pack at WorldPantry.com.