“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Snacks „
Since this is effectively a review of 3 different products I thought it would be best to change the structure of my normal 'food' reviews. Each product is summarised before my thoughts, opinions and conclusion. A detailed list of the ingredients and nutritional information is included at the end of this review should you be interested.
This 325g Chinese starter pack contains 6 crispy wontons, 6 mini spring rolls and 6 pieces of prawn toast, all of which are ideal as a starter or as part of a buffet.
These starters are displayed in a see through plastic box, with each type in a separate compartment. There is a simple label on the front detailing exactly what the product is, what not to do and what to do with it, as well as all the ingredients and nutritional information.
In my opinion, the packaging is purely functional. It is not attractive or colourful and does not catch the consumers' eye. It is a product that a consumer would purposely look out for rather than catch a glimpse of and buy on a whim.
These are popular starters in Chinese restaurants and if you have a mixed platter they are almost always included. They are small parcels of chicken and vegetables wrapped in a crispy pastry coating. The 'bottom' part is spherical and contains the filling, whereas the 'top' section is effectively fanned out pastry.
Wontons generally contain a fair amount of red pepper, and being such a strong vegetable this tends to overpower most of the other ingredients, however the garlic and ginger can also be tasted. The rest of the vegetables are used to bulk the dish up.
In a restaurant wontons are served straight from the deep fat fryer, therefore they are not the healthiest of things to eat, but they won't do to much harm once in a while. In addition, you don't usually get that many wontons in a starter.
Even once they have been bitten in to the wontons included in the Tesco's pack do not have a strong smell, however they do taste like those you can expect to get in a Chinese restaurant.
Like wontons prawn toast is a popular starter and is usually included in a mixed starter. In its simplest form prawn toast is mashed up prawn (bulked up with other ingredients) and fish paste that is spread on bread and then topped off with sesame seeds.
Prawns have a subtle taste, and whilst prawn toast does taste fishy (as a result of the fish paste as opposed to the prawns) it is not strong or over powering at all. The subtleness of the prawns combined with the sesame seeds and pepper results in a really tasty starter. The deep fried bread bulks this starter up and serves as a great base from which to eat. The prawn toast in this Tesco's pack taste like the sort you would expect to get from a Chinese restaurant.
Prawn toast has a very subtle smell of fish about it, which is expected given the subtleness of the prawn. Whilst I could taste the pepper there is not enough to give a strong smell.
In a restaurant prawn toast is served straight from the deep fat fryer, therefore this is not that healthy either.
****Mini Vegetable Spring Rolls****
Like wontons and prawn toast, these are another popular starter that will be included in a mixed platter.
Vegetable spring rolls consist of cabbage, carrot and bean sprouts, and mixed with various herbs and spices, that are wrapped in a thin and crispy pastry and deep-fried. In the full size version it is easy to decipher the ingredients as the bean sprouts will be left whole, and the cabbage and carrots will be cut in to larger strips. The mini spring rolls contain liquidised or pureed ingredients that don't look too good, but it does taste great.
You can really taste the chilli, garlic, ginger, onions and pepper that is included in the spring rolls, and as such they are quite spicy.
Like the wontons and prawn toast, the mini spring rolls are not that healthy since they are deep-fried.
The wontons, prawn toast and mini spring rolls have been deep fried before they are packaged up so they only need to be heated up, making them ideal for those people (like myself) that do not own a deep fat fryer.
If the pack is refrigerated then all the starters in this pack need to be heated up at 190 degrees C, 375 degrees F or gas mark 5 for 12 - 14 minutes. The single time and temperature makes heating this starter pack up really easy as you don't need to play around with the oven settings or get the timing right to ensure that everything is cooked at the same time.
If the pack is cooked from frozen then all the starters need to be cooked at the same temperature as above for 18 - 20 minutes.
In my experience the best results come from cooking when the starters have been refrigerated only since when cooked from frozen they tend to be a bit 'sloppy', over cooked on the outside and a bit cold in the centre.
For those who are interested a list of ingredients for a single wonton, a single piece of prawn toast and a single mini spring roll, is included at the end of this review after the conclusion.
For those who are interested the nutritional information for a single wonton, a single piece of prawn toast and a single mini spring roll, is included at the end of this review, after the ingredients.
This pack contains an allergy advice in that it contains wheat, gluten, shellfish and soya, so if you have any issues with these then this pack is not suitable for you.
Whilst the recipe contains no nuts (I thought sesame seeds constituted nuts but I am obviously wrong) Tesco clearly states that they cannot guarantee that the starters will be nut free.
This pack costs £3.29 from Tesco and is readily available throughout the year.
I absolutely love a mixed starter at a Chinese restaurant and, in my opinion this pack contains all the best ones.
Since these have been pre-cooked (via a deep fat fryer) they are very easy to heat up and ideal if you do not have a deep fat fryer or can't be bothered with the mess that using a deep fat fryer makes. To make the heating up process even easier and to ensure that all the starters are ready at the same time without having to adjust the oven temperature or put different starters in at different times the producers have ensured that they are all cooked for the same length of time at the same temperature. Nothing could be easier.
I would have thought that being oven baked these starters would lose their authentic taste, however in my opinion they taste just as good out of the oven as you would get in a Chinese restaurant.
Whilst these starters are not the healthiest and, considering the size and amount you get, contain a lot of calories, fat and carbohydrate they taste lovely and should not do you too much harm once in a while or for a treat.
****List of Ingredients****
i) Pastry (28%)
ii) Chicken (21%)
iii) Carrot (11%)
iv) Red pepper (4.5%)
v) Other: Peas, potato, water chestnut, spring onion, garlic and ginger
i) Bread (20%)
ii) Prawn (10%)
iii) Sesame seed (8%)
iv) Other: bamboo shoot, fish paste, soy sauce, pepper
---Mini Spring Roll---
i) Pastry (32%)
ii) Cabbage (21%)
iii) Bean sprouts (20%)
iv) Carrot (12%)
v) Other: Water chestnut, spring onion, chilli, garlic, ginger and pepper
Energy - 46 Kcal
Protein - 1.4g
Carbohydrate - 4.1g
Sugars - 0.3g
Fat - 2.6g
Fibre - 0.3g
Sodium - 0.1g
Energy - 36 Kcal
Protein - 0.8g
Carbohydrate - 2.1g
Sugars - 0.5g
Fat - 2.7g
Fibre - 0.2g
Sodium - Trace
---Mini Spring Roll---
Energy - 41 Kcal
Protein - 0.8g
Carbohydrate - 4.6g
Sugars - 0.6g
Fat - 2.2g
Fibre - 0.5g
Sodium - trace