I feel like I havenâ€™t been putting my Asian-ness to good use on The Impulsive Buy. Crashing my car last month was proof that Iâ€˜m giving credence to my heritage in my day-to-day life, but I wanted to take that Eastern expertise to a food review. Luckily for me, Wal-Mart sells various ethnic cuisines of questionable authenticity and it was easy for me to pick something out that looked intriguing.
Usually, â€œintriguingâ€ for me means â€œso ridiculously ludicrous and insulting that I bet no other site has reviewed this.â€ This time, however, La Choyâ€™s Beef Chow Mein genuinely looked like a tasty meal. As soon as I opened it up, though, I soon realized that things out of cans are rarely gourmet and never fresh. The top can, which contained brown gravy with a few specks of beef, resembled a premium soup that Alpo would make for dogs. The bottom can contained blanched bean sprouts, baby corn, carrots, water chestnuts, celery, and red pepper. Almost all of the mix was soggy bean sprouts.
It suddenly occurred to me that this chow mein had absolutely no chow mein in it. Maybe Iâ€˜ve been eating too much bastardized Chinese food, but I had always thought that chow mein was basically noodles with some sort of vegetables mixed in. I went to Wikipedia to restore some semblance of sanity to the situation, but they confirmed my initial suspicions that chow mein was indeed noodles. Which begged the question: What the fuck am I eating?
Whatever it was, it wasnâ€™t anything that I would ever order at Panda Express. After mixing the vegetables with the beef sauce and simmering it for a few minutes, I tried some and savored the taste of limp bean sprouts in a sauce that tasted like something from a can of Chunky Soup. Mmmâ€¦mmm! I also loved the fact that the small portion seen on the can has more beef than the entire contents of what theyâ€™re really selling. Thatâ€™s what I like to call value for money!
â€¨Even through my disappointed sarcasm, I couldnâ€™t help but feel bad about the purchase. Can tasty Asian food ever come out of a can? Are we doomed to be stuck in the realm of takeout food? I pondered these questions as I put my chopsticks in the sink. Even baby cornâ€™s intrinsic awesomeness couldnâ€™t save the rest of the pan from going into the trash.
(Nutritional Facts – 1 cup – 90 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 mg of cholesterol, 880mg sodium, 11 grams of carbs, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein, 40% Vitamin A, 25% Vitamin C, 4% Calcium, and 10% Iron)
Item: La Choy Beef Chow Mein
Purchased at: Wal-Mart
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Comes in two separate cans so you feel like youâ€™re actually making your own meal. Variety of vegetables theoretically make it interesting. You can add more beef or tofu to it in order to make it edible.
Cons: Vegetables have little to no texture. No chow mein in the chow mein. Can of â€œbeefâ€ is almost all sauce.