Mountain House Sweet & Sour Pork with Rice
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $8.50
Another comfort-food staple delivered to you by Mountain House, and while it may be without the trademark, white, paper takeout box, one bite of this and you'll swear it was delivery. The DiGiorno of Chinese food, for backpackers. My second-favorite meal, only to their Chili Mac, and a nice, rice-based alternative to the other pasta-centered dishes.
- Asian food that tastes like — Asian food! Better than the Teriyaki!
- The "sweet" comes from pineapple — a welcome surprise for a freeze-dried meal
- Great savory, pork flavor — you not only can see the meat, but taste it, too
- Brainless preparation — thanks for helping dudes in the kitchen, MH
- Democratic proportioning of ingredients
- MH should carry the same level of thought into all their Asian recipes
I bought this because REI was out of Stroganoff AND Lasagna, and this was the next best-looking dish they'd for sale. I tried the MH Teriyaki before, and wasn't impressed with how genuinely "Teriyaki" tasting it was. Then again, Chinese food and pizza are much the same to me — even when they're mediocre, they're still pretty damn good, hot or cold.
Please to say I don't regret this purchase one bit, and I place it currently behind their Chili Mac as my second-favorite MH meal.
No different than any other standard package of MH food:
The package is practically bulletproof, very lightweight for a two-portion meal (6.10 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.
Here're a couple shots of the 2.5-serving bag:
Water: 2 cups / 16 ounces - to re-hydrate ingredients
Stove & Pot - for boiling water
Spork - for eating
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.
TIP: let this one rest inside the bag a little longer than the 8-9 minutes MH suggests. I've made this a cardinal rule will ALL my Mountain House and ALL my dehydrated meals. Especially for rice dishes, you're going to want to give these meals a few more minutes to soak up all that boiling water. If you're game for crunchy rice, dive on in at the suggested time, but for most folks, you're going to want that rice al dente, at the least.
Wait 8-9 minutes, open the bag, and here's what it looks like:
All I need to eat this is a spoon: 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 utensils 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.
I like rice dishes because they're really easy to eat with a spoon, and you can usually get a little bit of everything into a single bite. Rice is my preferred starch and I usually defer to it, when possible.
Seriously, though, this is a dish that actually lives up to the name, and tastes like it should.
There is no generic "Asian-flavored" sauce. There are individual and separate flavors, here, and the combination of them makes this a really enjoyable meal.
Apart from the rice and sweet-and-sour sauce (and you can actually recognize the hint of shoyu/soy sauce, here), you've got:
- Green Peppers
- Red Peppers
It's a textbook version of S&S, but one that's well-executed and prefers tradition and simplicity to anything else.
Mountain House really does do this one justice. I could take a scoop of this from a paper takeout box, and think someone had Chinese food delivered straight to my campsite (if there are any Chinese delivery joints that do deliver to campsites, please let me know).
The texture is varied and interesting throughout, and again, why I prefer rice meals. You generally don't have to decide between noodles and the rest of the ingredients to enjoy all the flavors at once.
My favorite part was the unexpected, sweet kick from the pineapple. Sure, this is a requisite component for a "Sweet and Sour" dish, but rarely if ever do you find a fruity flavor in your backpacking, freeze-dried meals. I'm not much of a guy for fruit, and I was all about this pineapple.
The other notable flavor would be the pork. You actually, legitimately taste it, and this isn't a dish where a sauce overpowers the rest the ingredients. The savoriness balances well with the sweet ting you get from the pineapple. There're more than enough pieces of the pork, too, that you can get a little into every bite.
Here're the contents of the meal, shown plated, to give a better view of the serving size and ingredients:
SATIETY AND ENERGY
240 calories per serving, 2.5 servings per bag.
This actually was a 2.5-serving meal, mostly because rice is an inexpensive ingredient and thy can really pack a lot of it into these pouches. Rice is a filling starch, but one I've never felt overstuffed eating.
Suffice it to say, this one was worth the wait. Once I got home, I plopped my pack down in the kitchen, grabbed this bag and my pot, and made the meal on the stove without missing a beat.
May not have enjoyed it on the trail, but I enjoyed it, nonetheless.
SEASONING AND TIPS
I usually sprinkle a dash (or several) of black pepper on my food, as it's an easy way to gain flavor without gaining more sodium atop an already sodium-laden dish (810 mg, in this case). Even if you don't have any, it's varied enough in flavors that you could do well without it, and enjoy it just as much.
To get the most out of this meal, stir it both prior to adding water, and prior to eating, so you can really sample all the components at once. The ingredients are good by themselves, but really come out when you combine them all together.
5 stars. I know I've got to say something negative to make this a thoughtful review, but really, my only regret was in buying only one pouch. Would've taken this over the BP meal I had, easily.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $7.75
Tried this at home. Meat is a little chewy but that's to be expected with this kind of meal. Had little bits of pineapple even. I had no problem eating the two-person meal by myself. It said it made 20 oz. I was really full after eating it.
Where to Buy
Here's what other sites are saying:
MOUNTAIN HOUSE #10 TIN CANS: 10 Servings (1 cup each). Item not available for International Shipment.
This Mountain House meal features pork and rice smothered in a Hawaiian pineapple sauce. Stand-up pouch creates an easy way to cook and eat your meal; made from high-barrier foil, the pouch keeps your meal hot. Just mix contents with boiling water in the pouch provided-let stand, and serve. Nutrition facts displayed here and on packaging may differ; information on packaging reflects actual contents. *Discount will be applied when you check out; offer not valid for sale-price items ending in $._3 or $._9.
Pork, rice, and vegetables smothered in a delicious pineapple sauce. INGREDIENTS: Sweet & Sour Pork: Cooked Pork (pork, salt, natural flavor), Pineapple in Light Syrup (sugar and citric acid), Green Peppers, Vinegar, Onions, Red Peppers, Brown Sugar, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, and Contains 2% or less of Chicken Base (chicken including natural chicken juices, salt, chicken fat, maltodextrin, hydrolyzed corn gluten, dried whey, spice extractives and onion powder, turmeric), Worcestershire Sauce (distilled vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, salt, caramel color, garlic powder, sugar, spices, anchovies, tamarind, natural flavor), Soy Sauce (wheat, soybeans, salt, alcohol, vinegar, lactic acid), Corn Oil, Sesame/Soybean Oil, Seasoning (autolyzed yeast extract, safflower oil, natural flavor), Sea Salt, Garlic Powder, Spice, and Spice Extract. Rice: Enriched Precooked Rice (niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid). CONTAINS: Milk, Anchovy, Wheat, Soy. Nutrition:. Pkg. Net Wt.(oz): 6.10. Servings per Pkg: 2.5. Serving Size: 1 cup. Total Calories: 280. From Fat: 45. Total Fat: 5 grams. Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams. Transfat Acid: 0 grams. Cholesterol: 40 milligrams. Sodium: 950 milligrams. Carbos: 47 grams. Dietary Fiber: 1 grams. Sugars: 16 grams. Protein: 12 grams
- Tahoe Mountain Sports
Mountain House Pouches are lightweight, easy and delicious meals for your camping and backpacking trips. Just pour boiling water into the standup pouch, seal the top and eat right from the pouch when ready. Enjoy the Sweet & Sour Pork w/Rice - pork, rice and vegetables with a delicious pineapple sauce.
- Appalachian Outdoors