Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fit & Active Sesame Lo Mein (Aldi)

If "cheap" and "edible" are your only criteria, this will fit the bill pretty nicely.
This bowl has a few things that I’m not super crazy about, but just for the sake of covering the whole line, I opted to get it. As you may have noticed from a previous review, I enjoyed the Southwestern Fresca version (though my wife surprisingly did not) and although I wasn’t really looking forward to this one, I was hungry and figured there wasn’t going to be a time where I’d be more open-minded to this, so I jumped on the opportunity. 

This basically is a stir fry, with noodles in it. The teriyaki-style sauce has a little bit of a kick to it…I can’t tell if it’s added spices, or if it’s just a lot of salt, but I’m pretty sure it’s the former, but then there’s also some sweetness to it, which I really enjoyed. The vegetables, for the most part, steam up nice and good in the microwave, and so they taste fairly fresh, taking into consideration the fact that this is a frozen meal.

I don’t like that the sauce is so watery, though…there’s a puddle on the bottom that is kind of off-putting, and that makes the mushrooms extra slimy and gross. They taste okay, but the texture alone makes it feel like you’re eating a slug, which generally isn’t a good thing. The water chestnuts are also pretty bland (which they are naturally), but offer a decent crunch, which helps to offset some of the general sogginess of the rest of the dish (thanks in large part to the noodles). I’m also a big fan of pineapple in Asian dishes, and so the couple slices of pineapple included help to give it a nice little touch of depth, courtesy of the added sweetness.

I’d have to say that, in the end, this was better than I thought it would be, and I would more than likely get it again. I think the Southwestern-style wins in a head-to-head competition between the two products, but if you want something a little less spicy, this provides a capable alternative with a good amount of teriyaki flavor.

Overall: 6/10. I would take the Southwestern Fresca variety of this same product just about any day of the week, but the Sesame Lo Mein provides a pretty well-balanced flavor. The sauce is way too watery for my liking (there was a puddle of it sitting at the bottom, which was not very appetizing), but it has just a little bit of kick to offset the sweetness, so it tastes pretty good. Since this is a steamable dish (pop it in the microwave film and all), it suits the vegetables well, which cook up nice and are pretty flavorful given it's a frozen meal. Neither teriyaki nor lo mein are high on my list of favorite things—I was only called in to eat this after my wife hated it and I didn't want it to go to waste—but I have to say that it's better than I thought it'd be. Taste gets repetitive and the soggy texture is kind of off-putting, though. Edible and inexpensive.

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