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Chinese dinner kits please panel’s palate

Wed., April 16, 2008

Forget take out. Take home Wanchai Ferry.

The Spokesman-Review reader food panel members really liked the two Chinese dinner kits we served at a recent meeting.

Tasters said the Kung Pao Chicken was delicious and spicy. It received four-and-a-half stars out of five for flavor.

“To find chicken and rice cooked well and actually accompanied by a worthy sauce is unheard of. Kudos, and, oh yeah, don’t forget the water,” said Skip Hubbard.

Nancy Robinson liked the dish, but it left her tongue on fire. “Very nice flavor, but why can’t the heat be optional? The flavor would be great if it weren’t so spicy,” she said.

The Kung Pao Chicken dinner kit came with jasmine rice, roasted peanuts, sauce and red chilies. Boneless, skinless chicken breast, water and a bit of vegetable oil must be added during cooking and is not included in the kit. There are tips on the box for making it spicier by crushing the chilies to release the seeds.

Panel members also liked the Sweet and Sour Chicken, giving it four stars for taste.

“The sweet and sour combo is a grand slam,” said Gabe Kohler.

Larry Inman agreed, saying, “Very tasty. (The) sauce was perfect.”

Robinson was happier with a dish that wasn’t spicy. “Very, very good. Rice was great, big thick moist chunks of chicken, great sauce. I really liked this.”

The sweet and sour kit includes jasmine rice, seasoned cornstarch, sweet and sour sauce and pineapple and water chestnuts. Chicken breast, water and oil are not included and must be added during cooking. Instructions on the box also include ideas for substituting pork or shrimp for the chicken and adding onion and bell pepper to the mix.

Wanchai Ferry Kung Pao Chicken

Price: $4.99 per kit, chicken not included

Nutrition per serving: 320 calories, 9 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated, 25 percent fat calories), 23 grams protein, 37 grams carbohydrate, 50 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram dietary fiber, 640 milligrams sodium.

Taste: • • • • 1/2

Value: • • •

Comments: “Two-star heat, tender meat, good rice – lots to like here.” – Andy Hoye

“The chicken is tender, the rice is cooked well and the spice of the dish is softened up perfectly by the peanuts.” – Gabe Kohler

“The meat is a little chewy and dry. The rice is perfect, and the sauce is very tasty. Spicy taste is just right.” – Larry Inman

Wanchai Ferry Sweet and Sour Chicken

Price: $4.99 per kit, chicken not included

Nutrition per serving: 290 calories, 7.5 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 23 percent fat calories), 19 gram protein, 41 grams carbohydrate, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram dietary fiber, 310 milligrams sodium.

Taste: • • • •

Value: • • •

Comments: “Good value and flavor. Easy to make, also.” – Andy Hoye

“Too sweet for me. Not enough sour to balance the sauce.” – Marcia Oranen

“Not being a fan of sweet and sour doesn’t help when what you’re eating is really sweet and sour.” – Skip Hubbard

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