REVIEW: Lean Cuisine Asian-Style Chicken Salad Additions

Lean Cuisine Asian-Style Chicken Salad Additions

Contrary to a review history which leans towards a diet based exclusively around breakfast cereal and fast food, I do not hold anything against the vegetable food group. I count Larry the Cucumber among my favorite recording artists, have been known to munch on frozen peas as if they were beer nuts, and might, according to my grandmother, even transform into a vegetable one day thanks to hours spent watching college sports on TV.

So no, I’m not a veggie-phobe by any means, and I certainly wouldn’t spurn the chance to nosh on a salad that could increase my lifespan.

But here’s the thing: vegetables are complicated. Buying them, cooking them, and even knowing which part to eat are all tricky. Also, if I want to add a totally chic “lean protein” to the salad, I have to wield a knife and totally risk salmonella with my careless Millennial kitchen hygiene habits (not to mention risk chopping off a finger).

Of course, I could go the convenience route, but that can be expensive. Last I checked, Panera had a rockin’-looking Asian chicken salad. But $7.09 plus tax is pricey. I mean seriously. That’s like seven and a half small Wendy’s Frosty desserts forgone. If you really want me to eat my vegetables, then get me something cheap, not complicated, and something which won’t go bad should I, you know, put off the whole veggie eating thing in favor of those Frosty desserts for a few days.

Lean Cuisine meals might not be aesthetically pleasing, but they aren’t complicated. Taking something out of the freezer and heating it up in the microwave oven is, based on numerous test runs, pretty simple. A head of lettuce? Well, aside from exercising restraint and resisting the cereal aisle at the grocery store, that actually seems relatively painless as well.

Also, ‘Asian style’ food isn’t complicated. I’ve never been one to even try to understand what separates Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines, but throw some carrots and broccoli in there, dress it up with something gingery and soy-based, and my white person American taste buds are totally basking in the idea of ethnic food.

Lean Cuisine Asian-Style Chicken Salad Additions 3 Packets

Lean Cuisine’s new Salad Additions look to engage my yearning for de-complicating veggies by combining the miracle of refrigeration with some good old fashioned step-by-step heating instructions, all the while keeping me well away from knifes.

After keeping the ethos of Asian-style and picking up a head of green leaf lettuce and some spinach at for a combined $2.73 at my local Lotte plaza, I made sure to follow the directions by placing my sesame-ginger vinaigrette in room temperature water to thaw. It didn’t. At least it didn’t within the three and a half minute microwave window the box told me to nuke the vegetables and chicken for, and it still didn’t thaw completely after I stood around and inhaled the smell of bland lettuce for five minutes after that.

This was a most disheartening wait given that the vinaigrette passed from a consistency bordering on root beer float popsicle to that of diarrhea, all the while waiting to be drenched on a hodgepodge of cut up colors that provided little truth in advertising to the juicy pieces of pineapple and grilled chicken breast that the package photo displayed.

Lean Cuisine Asian-Style Chicken Salad Additions Made

Finally reaching a vinaigrette consistency that might fool you for an actual vinaigrette, I decided to make my salad pretty. Despite an art background which includes numerous preschool awards for staying within the lines, I was unable to make my salad appear exactly as it was on the box. The salad tastes like what you’d expect from a mediocre fast food attempt to make a similar salad.

Lean Cuisine Asian-Style Chicken Salad Additions Chicken

The chicken doesn’t really taste like chicken, but with ten ingredients to make “cooked white meat chicken,” that might be expected. The chicken strips ranged from gummy to dry and were mostly salty with a bit of that gelatinous gunk you sometimes encounter with canned chicken.

Lean Cuisine Asian-Style Chicken Salad Additions Closeup

The broccoli and edamame would best be described as terribly bland. However, I can accurately report the orange and yellow carrots tasted like absolutely nothing. Compared to absolutely nothing, bland might as well be chocolate cake. I believe, but cannot confirm, I received one or two small slices of pineapple, which tasted canned and were cloying, like the dressing. However, I do appreciate that dressing as well as the crunchy noodles. Together they contributed salt, sweetness, crunch, and a bit of fat, albeit in a very McDonald’s salad kind of way.

Lean Cuisine’s new Asian Chicken Salad Addition is not very complicated, not very Asian, and not very good. But because it’s also not very expensive and not very horrible, it leaves me feeling significantly less guilty about my purchase than an overpriced and not very good salad from say…McDonald’s. It also leaves me less likely to purchase something that will significantly decrease my lifespan, and leaves me with a buttload of leftover lettuce. And you know what they say when life gives you a bunch of lettuce?

Yeah, I don’t really know either. I just hope it doesn’t involve buying more Lean Cuisine Salad Additions.

(Nutrition Facts – 260 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8 gram of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 510 milligrams of sodium, 400 milligrams of potassium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.)

Other Lean Cuisine Salad Additions reviews:
Brown Girl Next Door
Texas Type A Mom

Item: Lean Cuisine Asian-Style Chicken Salad Additions
Purchased Price: $2.00
Size: 7.2 ounces
Purchased at: Weis Markets
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: No fuss vegetables. Tasty vinaigrette. Noodle strips. Cheaper than most ‘Asian-style’ fast food salads. Fitting in with the middle aged women at the office lunch table. Forces me to buy lettuce. Turning into a vegetable via too much college sports watching.
Cons: Gives vegetables a bad name. Insipid two-carrot mix. Not very many vegetables. “Grilled” chicken that doesn’t taste much like chicken, and contains nine ingredients which aren’t actually chicken. Vinaigrette looks like frozen Dr Pepper.

NEWS: Pepsi and Lay’s in China Team Up For Cola Chicken Flavored Potato Chips

Holy crap! China has had Pepsi Cola chicken-flavored Lay’s potato chips since August!

According to AdAge:

Cola chicken is a common recipe in China, with chicken wings tossed into a wok and caramelized in soy sauce, spices and cola. In potato-chip form, the flavor is vaguely similar to barbecue with a sugary aftertaste. If there’s any hint of Pepsi, it’s fleeting and lacks fizz.

Now that I know there’s a Chinese dish called cola chicken, I hope Panda Express offers an Americanized version of it really soon.

Here’s the TV commercial for the cola chicken-flavored chips:

NEWS: Pizza Hut Middle East Proves Once Again It’s More Awesome Than Pizza Hut USA With Kit Kat Pops and Stuffed Cone Crust Pizza

Hey, Pizza Hut USA, I really enjoyed your Garlic Bread Pizza, but what have you done lately?


But your Middle Eastern counterpart has recently come up with some crazy shit. How crazy? How about a pizza with cones as the edge crust, each of which is stuffed with either cream cheese, honey mustard chicken, or chicken & cream cheese. They’ve also have Kit Kats wrapped in pizza dough. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if next month they introduced a pizza with Kit Kat stuffed crust.

Come on, Pizza Hut USA! Grow some culinary balls!

REVIEW: Post Oreo O’s Cereal with Marshmallows (Korea)

Post Oreo O’s Cereal with Marshmallows (Korean Edition)

Sometimes, late at night, after I’ve had a really hard day and am in the mood for a good pity party, I get on the Internet and Google “Oreo O’s.”

I don’t do it because I find the sight of ambiguously gendered marshmallow things performing synchronized swimming within milk to be aesthetically pleasing, nor do I Google the cereal because I hope to brush up on my Korean language skills.  Mostly, I Google it because reading comments about how much other peoples’ lives suck now that Oreo O’s has been discontinued makes me feel better about myself.

So you can only imagine how I felt when Internet searches began yielding strange and life-changing news earlier this summer.  According to the bastion of all things verifiable and trusted (Wikipedia) Oreo O’s were going to come back into stores sometime in early August.

Message board and chatter — leaked, supposedly, from researchers in the the top secret skunkworks of cereal development known as Post — began appearing on a nightly basis, while videos were uploaded on YouTube to promote the supposed relaunch.

Yet, like that whole 2011 apocalypse deal, the date came and went, and now, nearly two months later, I’m stuck eating regular Oreo’s and regular cereal instead of cereal that tastes like Oreos.

Like I said, life sucks.

Unless you live in Korea, where Oreo O’s are not only available, but apparently making life just totally freaking awesome for anyone lucky enough to get their hands on them. Fortunately, the holy grail of childhood cereal nostalgia and lost Saturday mornings — a box of Oreo O’s — arrived on my doorstep last week.

Post Oreo O’s Cereal with Marshmallows (Korean Edition) Writing

To a certain extent, I considered myself unworthy as I picked up the blue box with writing entirely in Korean. A serious cereal eater I may consider myself, but it shames me to say I can’t exactly remember if I ever had Oreo O’s before. I probably did at some point during those developmental years known as middle school, but thanks to a diet based almost exclusively around Golden Grahams and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, I really can’t remember.

While it certainly detracts from my credibility, my relatively blank slate of completely unrealistic expectations does keep me somewhat objective. At the very least, it keeps me capable of opening the box without hyperventilating and going into cardiac arrest due to sheer excitement.

Post Oreo O’s Cereal with Marshmallows (Korean Edition) Dry

That sheer excitement kicked into full gear once I opened the box and took a whiff of pure, unadulterated Oreo smell (which I was able to confirm by also opening up a snack pack of Oreos I just so happened to have on hand for testing purposes.) The speckled rings had a solid crunch and cocoa heavy flavor only bolstered by a sweeter vanilla aftertaste which comes along with each bite.

Post Oreo O’s Cereal with Marshmallows (Korean Edition) Side by Side

Taking a handful of the rings and chucking them into my mouth, and then stepping back to bite into my actual Oreo, it occurred to be that this might actual be the kind of cereal which civilizations are founded on. Even the marshmallows, at first thought extraneous, have a vanilla flavor not completely dissimilar to Oreo cream, with their soft bite and slightly smooth mouthfeel doing an admirable job at filling in for said Oreo cream. Heck, if I was the kind of disgusting person who chewed up my food and swooshed it around in my mouth, I might even conclude, with authority, that the partially digested Oreo O’s cereal and an actual Oreo were one and the same.

It’s at this point that I begin to develop a midbowl crisis. Realizing this may just be the best single cereal ever constructed by the wheels of food industry, it dawns on me that my life is going to suck once I get through this box and go back to having to eat Oreos and cereal separately.

Post Oreo O’s Cereal with Marshmallows (Korean Edition) Wet

I pondered moving to Korea, but luckily, the addition of milk to my bowl makes me rethink this location change. Great as it is plain, Oreo O’s is actually just above average in milk. It’s crunchier than I’d like, but mostly, it just fails to transfer its unique cookies and cream properties to the milk, making the end-milk slurp akin to a bellyflop into the kiddie pool.

Does Oreo O’s taste like Oreos? Well, not exactly, but it tastes pretty damn close, as least much closer than Cookie Crisp tastes like an actual chocolate chip cookie or Apple Jacks tastes like an apple. The ironic – and truly heartbreaking – corollary is that both Cookie Crisp and Apple Jacks will never be discontinued, allowed to perpetuate in “kinda sorta but not really” taste equivalence while Oreo O’s may never come back to these golden shores. And that is more depressing than any long, tiring day at the office will ever be.

2012-09-19 02.23.05

(Nutrition Facts – 30 grams? – 119kcal, 1.9 grams of fat, 1.3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of sugar, 1.5 grams of protein)

Item: Post Oreo O’s Cereal with Marshmallows (Korea)
Purchased Price: $13.98
Size: 500 grams
Purchased at: eBay
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Tastes remarkably like an actual Oreo. Rings have good cocoa flavor and stay crunchy in milk. Chewed up and swooshed around in your mouth, might just be identical to an Oreo (hypothetically speaking) Presumably healthier for me than an actual Oreo. Bridging the cultural gap one one cereal bowl at a time.
Cons: Unverifiable internet rumors that ruin peoples’ lives. Ambiguously gendered white things. Not available in America. Leaves average end-milk. Bellyflopping into the kiddie pool. Feeling crappier about myself than I did before. Not for twisters.