Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review: Thai Kitchen Noodle Cart Thai Peanut

The quest for gluten free convenience foods has been a difficult one for me. I’m not a huge fan of cereal or most breakfast foods so pre-diet my breakfasts were usually something tossed on a slice of bread. Or, when I had time, a really good Southern breakfast with biscuits and milk gravy, sausage and eggs, maybe even grits.

Since I haven’t figured out how to make gravy or biscuits with rice flour, and am rather concerned about the texture if I did find a recipe, I’ve been searching for other options.

Some of my favorite gluten-free foods now come from Thai Kitchen, a division of Simply Asia Foods in Berkeley, California. The local food co-op carries some of their foods as does Kroger and the other grocery story, a Midwestern chain called Schnucks, has a lot of varieties of Thai Kitchen foods. And, this week, they’re on sale!

That meant that today, I had had Thai Peanut noodles from their noodle cart line for breakfast. Yes, for breakfast. The single serving noodle cart line is on sale for $2 each this week. Not a great price, but it’s not bad for breakfast for one. According to the Thai Kitchen site, my choice for breakfast is in the mild category. I would call it too mild. This breakfast had a nice flavor, but was almost sweet. The peanut bits are nice and the meal prepares in less than 5 minutes in the microwave.

But there are some downsides to my noodle-lovers breakfast.

First, the packaging. I am, by no means an environmental extremists, but the Thai Kitchen Noodle Cart meals are wrapped in a cardboard sleeve with all the nutritional an advertising data. Inside that, is the plastic wrapped plastic container with plastic lid for preparing the food in. The rice noodles and oil are also packaged in plastic. And the meal comes with a plastic fork.

Short version, if you need a fully contained meal to take to work and leave in a desk drawer for those days when you forgot lunch, these are perfect. For me, eating at home, it seemed like a lot of environmental waste.

The other problem I had with this dish was due to operator stupidity. The noodles are warmed for 2 minutes in the microwave and then the lid is added to finish steaming the noodles. The box instructs you to carefully hold the plastic container and drain the excess water through the pre punch holes in the lid. I didn’t hold it tightly enough and some of my noodles slid right down the sink.

Second, the nutrition. For pure calorie content, the Thai Kitchen rice noodles are a decent meal, with about 240 calories for a single serving. However, they have 46 grams of carbohydrates and 390 milligrams of sodium. The nutritional content is definitely not the best.

However, for someone like me who often skips breakfast, the noodles are an easy way to change that. The prep time is short and the noodles taste good. They are a product of Thailand, so the taste is reasonably authentic as well.

Bought by the case at the Thai Kitchen website, the cost of the noodle cart entrees drops to $1.67 plus shipping and shipping is based on the total cost of the order, not weight, so it is relatively reasonable as well.

Other gluten-free favorite from Thai Kitchen include their sweet chili sauce – an excellent sauce for dipping anything—and light organic coconut milk. Until Kroger expands their Thai Kitchen offerings, I’m going to need to shop more at Schnucks.

I know there are cute and fancy ways of adding this disclosure, but for now I'll do it this way. I bought the products mentioned here. I paid for them and ate them. The opinions have nothing to do with any promotional activities from Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia Foods except a decent sale at Schnucks.


  1. Are you able to eat rice noodles?

  2. Rissa,
    Rice noodles are fine and about the most accessible form of pasta for most people on a gluten-free diet.