Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki with Rice
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $8.99
A good first swing at bat when it came to my very first freeze-dried meal. Although I wouldn't consider the flavoring a genuine "Teriyaki," it does have the expected Pan-Asian flavoring zing to it. A hearty helping for one person (but no more) and a meal in which you're as excited for the last bite as you were the first. This will definitely be a staple in my backpacking meal plans.
- Filling meal for one person
- Easy as heck to prepare
- Generous helping of chicken chunks
- Big assortment of vegetables
- Every bite is texturally interesting
- "2 Serving" size unrealistic and overestimated
- 15-minute prep and cooking time can be tedious
- Sauce too generalized to be called "Teriyaki"
The package is practically bulletproof, very lightweight for a two-portion meal (5.01 ounces), and the top flap folds down easily to minimize the volume this will take up in a pack. The re-sealable packaging is doubly effective, A.) allowing you to create a seal on the bag as the boiling water re-hydrates the meal, and B.) serves as a scent-proof trash bag after you've eaten the entirety of the contents.
In anticipation of my very first backpacking trip, I figured it'd be wise to at least taste freeze-dried food before I was out on the trail and relying on it for every meal. It'll be a solo trip, and without a partner to help defer some of the weight to, freeze-dried meals spare me from having to carry the weight of not only fully-hydrated food, but also, the cookware required to make a normal meal.
I'd read a lot about Mountain House meals being the more flavorful ones, so I decided to purchase a couple and see what I thought for myself. This is the first of the two.
Here's a shot of the 2-serving bag:
Water: 2 cups / 16 ounces - to re-hydrate ingredients
Stove & Pot - for boiling water
Spork - for eating
INGREDIENTS AND NUTRITION FACTS
PREP AND COOKING
All I need to cook this is a stove and small pot: boil two cups (or sixteen ounces) of water, pour it inside the re-sealable pouch, and let it sit for 8-9 minutes.
This is what the contents look like prior to re-hydration, after you've removed the iron oxide pouch from inside:
Provided you've a water source and a way to filter it, this is about as simple as simple cooking gets. To be honest with y'all, freeze-dried meals are more about patience than anything. Boiling water requires 3 or 4 minutes, and add atop that the 8-9 minutes this needs to set, and you're looking at a 15-minute wait for your lunch or dinner.
Not as bad as pacing back and forth the in lobby of the local Olive Garden, but still, not immediate or instant.
Wait 8-9 minutes, open the bag, and here's what it looks like:
All I need to eat this is a spork: you can eat straight from the bag, and better yet, once you've finished eating, you can pack your trash into the bag and seal it up to keep the scents inside.
As many have mentioned, most sporks are shorter than these bags are deep, and in order to really dig in and get the last bite out of these pouches, you'll have to transfer the food to another container, or tilt the bag on its side and scrape the food toward the front. The latter method worked fine for me, and I only plated this meal to get a closer picture of what it looked like outside of the bag.
If you have a separate garbage bag, I'd suggest cutting a few inches off the top of the bag and turning it into a shallower bowl to eat from.
Asian-flavored? Yes. Teriyaki? That would be arguable. The orange-hued sauce is more reminiscent of some nondescript, homogenized, cover-all Oriental flavoring than it is any one, specific flavor of sauce. That, I'd contend, is the only way in which Mountain House promises any less than it delivers. Otherwise, it is a flavorful and diverse assembly of chicken, vegetables, and rice in "Teriyaki" sauce.
The chicken isn't any texturally different than it'd be at home, and they give a generous amount of it: practically every bite comes with a chunk of chicken in it. I loved this, because usually I eat my starches and vegetables first, and reserve the protein as an end-of-meal "dessert."
The assortment of vegetables is commendable, too: bamboo shoots, mushrooms, red peppers, green peppers, onions, and peas. These all add not only a variety of flavors, but also, a variety of textures. Especially in foods like this texture is crucial to making this a meal I'm as excited to finish as I am to start. Sometimes you find yourself finishing a meal begrudgingly or desperately, and this definitely isn't the case, here.
Here're the contents of the meal, shown plated, to give a better view of the serving size and ingredients:
SEASONING AND TIPS
Being an oriental dish, I've the cardinal rule of never adding any salt to those meals. That said, this meal was definitely improved upon with a few dashes of cracked black pepper atop it. Considering you're consuming almost two-thirds of your daily sodium intake, I'd highly suggest adding any additional salt and would instead encourage you to take advantage of pepper. If you're the means to grind or crack it, fresh, by all means, If not, well, it certainly won't hurt to add it anyhow.
SATIETY AND ENERGY
Great. A really generous helping of food. This was a full meal for me, and although it did make for a filling meal for one, I can't say this would be enough food for two people.
Much like the capacity rating on tents is usually over-estimated, the same holds true to serving sizes with these meals. I would consider this a filling meal for one average-sized male adult, but no more than that. If you wanted a lighter lunch, I would suggest splitting it, but as a satisfying dinner, this isn't feeding any more than one person.
4 stars, simply because I'm picky enough with my Asian food that when I order or purchase "Teriyaki," I expect the flavoring to be more specific than the generalized sauce binding this meal together. Don't get me wrong, it still tastes good, and still has an Oriental flavor, but I wouldn't call it "Teriyaki" had it not been labeled that on the bag.
Would I buy it again? You betcha. Probably before my next backpacking trip.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $7.75
Convenient and tastes good.
- Lots of meat
- Portions too small
Nice stuff. Rice and veggies in a pleasant teriyaki sauce, with lots and lots of chicken.
Boil-in-a-bag convenience, and very light for backpacking. Saves fuel — just add water, reseal, and let sit. Allow more sit-time than the manufacturer recommends.
Portions are too small for my tastes, but I'm a big eater.
Price Paid: $29
My granddaughter at Mount Collins, GSMNP feel in love with this meal.
I found it in a #10 can for $29, thus making it a good deal for us. I'll open the can and split it up into ziplock freezer bags and it is ready to go anytime.
Price Paid: $7
Not as tasty as the MH Stroganoff, but you can't eat that every single meal. The re-hydrated chicken has an excellent texture. You could do a lot worse.
Price Paid: $5.99
A very good meal, one of my favorites. With real chicken added from Tyson foil packs it is 5 stars.
Price Paid: $7.99
It was okay.... Being a picky eater, this was just not quite "Sweet and Sour" enough for me. I would still eat it in the woods rather than my wife's Tamale Pie stuff.