A few months ago, I got to try three versions of Lenard’s Barbie Bags, and found them to be innovative low-effort dinner options that were tasty and not horrendously unhealthy. There’s really something to be said for a ready-made meal for those times when working professionals like myself get home after a long day.
Packed with flavour and ready in just 15 minutes, they’re sure to become a regular item on your shopping list. These exciting, easy and tasty meals are freshly prepared in store with 100% fresh chicken breast and include the perfect accompaniment to complete your meal.
With the support of Lenard’s, I got to road-test two different Fresh Meal Kits last month.
Korean BBQ Fresh Meal Kit with Hokkien Noodles
As someone who’s grown up eating nearly exclusively food from East Asia, I was quite sceptical about the concept of a ‘Korean BBQ’ meal kit that included hokkien noodles. As most people will know, hokkien noodles are more commonly associated with the cuisines of Singapore and Malaysia. A more accurate noodle choice would possibly have been dangmyeon, or noodles made from the starch of sweet potatoes.
Recognising however, that I tend to be more pedantic than most people about these small cultural differences and sensitivities given my own cultural background, I was eager to try the kit.
The veggie and chicken mix was in an interesting soy-based marinade. Primarily consisting of green beans, carrots and baby corn with a healthy amount of chicken strips, I added some bamboo shoots to bulk up the veggie content. The veggies could have done with more preparation – there were small things that annoyed me, like the fact that the carrot tops weren’t cut off.
I ended up serving this dish with a side of steamed bokchoy with oyster sauce. As the meat to veggie ratio in the marinade mix was approximately 50/50, I really wanted to increase the amount of veggies presented on the dish.
In truth, there wasn’t much of a “Korean BBQ” flavour to this dish as they were very subtle – they definitely weren’t distinctive in the way that typical Korean barbecued meats has a smoky grilled flavour that really makes it special. It would be more accurate to simply call this dish stir-fried noodles with chicken (however less exciting it sounds from a marketing perspective) and thus not raise any unrealistic expectations of having the smoky goodness of bulgogi.
Fajita Fresh Meal Pack with 10 Tortilla Wraps
I can’t claim the same amount of familiarity with Mexican food as I can Asian – however, I still consider the meal I had in a little roadside cafe in Mexico to be one of the best I’ve ever had in my life. The sheer heat and flavours of the simple tacos, nachos and fajitas served to me by the sunburnt and wrinkled Mexican lady were truly memorable. The spiciness of that meal actually caused me to go into a chilli coma and nearly hallucinate on the streets of Tijuana.
These fajitas are a far cry from those I sampled when in Mexico, and the marinaded mix has been largely tamed for less experienced palates – you won’t find hallucinogenic chillies here! For a more characteristic spice mix, I added some extra Mexican chilli powder at the end to heat up my dining experience. Some fresh chopped jalapeno chillies would do the job just as well.
I found the mix interesting actually – unlikely the more balanced 50/50 mix of chicken and vegetables in the Korean BBQ kit, this was more meat-heavy with a ratio that was more like 85/15. The pieces of capsicum and beans seemed more like an afterthought and I would have personally preferred more vegetables for a more balanced meal. With some personal adjustments for the degree of hotness, and the addition of some fresh veggie-based side dishes, these fajitas would be my choice out of the two Fresh Meal Kits.
Keep in mind of course, that each Lenard’s store around the country is largely franchised. Fresh Meal Kits from different stores will taste slightly differently, and be made up of different ingredients, or different ratios of the same ingredients. The thoughts above are only representative of the products I received from two stores on the northern suburbs of Sydney, and you may have different experiences to mine.
Note: I received these two Fresh Meal Kits from Lenard’s free of charge for review purposes, however all words and opinions are my own.