“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Snacks „
Tesco Finest Oriental Duck Selection is part of this supermarket's 'seasonal' range of party food. In the 'selection' - which, if one were to be attending a posh party, the individual pieces of which might be known as 'canapés', but since this is cook-chill / reheat in the oven fast food from Tescos, I would sooner call 'rubbishy little hors-d'oeuvrey bits' - you get three varieties of duck-containing salty snack. There are four of each type of snack in the box, which will cost you £4 for one, or you can buy two of the boxes for £7 in what seems to be an ever-lasting / ongoing offer / deal. I think however that ever buying more than one box of Tesco Finest Oriental Duck Selection would be an even worse idea than trying just one out in the first place.
Part of my objections to the product relates to its price. Four pounds for 12 pieces! That's 33 and a third pence for each 'unit', which I think is scandalous, really, considering what you're getting for the money. To consider each type of selection 'piece' in turn. Firstly there are (presumably blagged from some variety of Chinese cuisine) duck-filled deep-fried 'money-bag' style wontons. At first sight these look quite attractive, as each little packet is tied with an individual piece of greenery (chive or spring onion leaf, I expect). Unfortunately the filling consists of a liquid, salty / sweetish gloopy Hoi-sin sauce flavoured material that isn't very nice to eat as the taste and texture are rather off-putting. There are occasional small pieces of duck in the filling giving it the consistency of a thin mince meat stew.
The next type of duck savoury is a most bizarre-looking little mini-horn-of-plenty, cone-shaped creation. Again it's basically a semi-liquid duck-based filling contained in a thin sort of pancake, but around the pancake this time are wrapped strands of white, starchy material. The white strands could possibly be something like vermicelli-style thin rice or bean noodles deep-fried, though I wouldn't want to bet money on what the stuff actually is. It makes the duck savoury look as if it's bound up in thick filaments of spider web or candyfloss - and this is not in any a good look for something savoury eventually intended for human consumption. If, however, I was forced to choose one of the three types of duck savoury as being the best of the lot, it would probably be this one. The filling is mildly curried duck that tastes OK and the texture (minced duck again) is fine also, although as previously noted, I thought these particular savouries looked really odd. On the box it turns out that these are a Vietnamese-inspired creation. Cosmopolitan, or what?
Last in the series is a flat-bread strip with duck filling that's been made into pin-wheel / little roly-poly construction and secured by a cocktail stick. Again these savouries tasted OK - the duck was in a mildly spiced sauce that had an oddly mealy texture (this was not unpleasant) which, this being an 'Oriental' selection, I assumed was due to some sort of mashed bean being incorporated into the mixture. On the side of the box, when I read that these savouries were in fact tortilla-based duck bits (the question of since when Mexico has been part of the Orient notwithstanding), I was doubly certain that the mealiness was due to red or kidney beans or something like that. So I was surprised to see in the ingredients list that these particular savouries were actually duck and potato pancakes, since this seemed like an odd kind of mish-mash of culinary influences to me. They tasted all right though, and the texture was more flatbread-based than anything else, but still fine.
What the duck savouries didn't have, which they all were sorely in need of - partly because some of the pieces were a bit on the dry side (the tortilla-pancakes) or just to take away the some of the taste (urgh! - of the won-ton ones) - was a dipping sauce. It seemed odd that something of the sort wasn't included in the packet. Sweet chilli sauce would have suited all of them to a tee.
The duck savouries were ready after 10 minutes on a baking tray in a hot oven, which I suppose is pretty convenient. Although I thought two out of three of the types were 'passable to all right' I wouldn't recommend this product. It is overpriced - part of anybody's 'finest' range in name, only, and if you were to serve it up to anyone who hadn't seen it before it left its nicely done-up 'Tesco Finest' silver-grey and black packet, they would certainly assume you'd been buying bargain-basement frozen party food from e.g. Iceland as once it's out of the packaging, it is effectively indistinguishable from the cheap stuff.
The black plastic interior packaging tray for this product is also very sturdy and though it has a recyclable stamp on it, when I put stuff like this out for collection, the recycling folk always leave it behind as a 'reject'. So the duck savouries aren't that nice overall really AND - through the amount of waste generated - they're potentially damaging to the planet. Another nice own-goal from our friends at Tesco, then.