Let’s get one thing straight: The Shameless Consumer has nothing against vegetarians. What you eat, or don’t eat, is none of my business unless I’m reviewing it in which case it is. The Shameless Consumer is not a vegetarian, although I will occasionally enjoy products by Morningstar, even if it does share a name with Lucifer.
I don’t like bad vegetarian food.
I have a couple of problems with this product, right off the bat. First, putting the fill line on the outside for water. Who does this? Why would you take instant noodles, an inherently fast food, and turn it into an imprecise science by making me guess if I’ve put in enough water?
Secondly, I find the product a bit pretentious for something that lives in a cardboard box and comes with a plastic fork. The packaging is plastered with countless reminders that it is gluten free, msg free, and contains a lot of protein. A lot more protein than the competition. Did I mention the protein? And the gluten? And the MSG? It’s organic, with protein!
Yeah it contains 41% your daily requirement of sodium and actually comes with a package of pure table salt, but that’s not the point. Look at all that protein!
Thankfully Explore Asian is kind enough to reinforce that its “vegetarian beef flavor seasoning” is imitation and does not, in fact, contain any authentic vegetarian beef flavor. If the consistent reminder isn’t enough, they went ahead and made the seasoning taste nothing like beef. In fact it’s less beef-like than the seasoning packets you find in Top Ramen, and like many meat-like vegetarian products was likely focus tested on a group whose only experience with a hamburger was on the protest sign they were using to club a meat packer over the head with.
While Crave Asian hasn’t quite hit the imitation beef target, it does make for a nice bowl of hot garbage. The gluten free high protein soybean noodles with extra protein and protein take on the consistency and roughness of a bowl of stale rubber bands, down to their ability to repel water and, thus, flavoring.
They look nothing like what’s on the box, and they taste like rubber. The whole experience is unpleasant and unsatisfying, and I’d be lying if I said I had the stomach to finish even half of the 2.2oz bowl. I imagine the noodles are more pleasant to eat if you’re the kind of person who enjoys those tiny octopus legs.
The Explore Asian Vegetarian Beef Noodle Bowl is a new product available in the international section at Wegmans for $1.99. At that price and for such low quality, I wouldn’t feed it to my worst enemy.
If I could give Crave Asian a zero score, I would. Luckily, I can.
Verdict: 0/5. Stay away, stay far away.
Calories – 214
Fat – 3g
Cholesterol – 9mg
Sodium – 990mg
Carbs – 20g
Fiber – 10g
Sugar – 7g
Protein – 25g
Iron – 41%