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Purchased at: Pei Wei Asian Diner
Price: $3.75 (2 egg rolls)

Pei Wei is the carryout/more wallet-friendly version of PF Chang’s, a restaurant I’ve never actually been to. I’ve never felt the need to try it because Pei Wei is so damn good. These egg rolls are no exception.

I got two, but only needed to eat one. Of course I didn’t actually do this. They’re a lot different than most egg rolls I’ve gotten from Chinese take-out places. The meat in these egg rolls is GOOD. It’s cooked, ground pork, but it isn’t dry (a problem I find happens too often with ground meat). In fact, it’s really moist and delicious. There are a lot of different vegetables in these, too -carrots, mushrooms, cabbage, and scallions – and they’re all really good. I’m not usually a fan of mushrooms, but they’re cut small enough that they add flavor, but you don’t get any huge pieces of them.

The only downside to these is the fact that they’re greasier than I would prefer. They’re great, but felt a little weighed-down with grease. The filling has a lot of flavor and is pretty rich. Two for $3.75 made a good snack at a good price, but I was really full after I ate both of them.

4.5/5

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Purchased at: Kroger
Price: $1.00 (on sale)
According to the box: A delicious mix of rice, vermicelli, and Asian seasonings

Like I said yesterday, I’m lazy, which means I like pre-seasoned, easy to make rice/pasta sides. And I eat them as meals. I grabbed this box at my local grocery store during one of their 10 for $10 sales, because I figured I didn’t have much to lose for only $1.00

The rice and vermicelli both cooked nicely, absorbing the flavors of the seasonings/sauce very well. The entire dish takes on a yellow hue, which is from the turmeric that’s added just for color. I don’t think adding turmeric was necessary since you can’t taste it and I don’t think the yellow looks very appetizing, but I’ve gotta give Rice-A-Roni credit for using spices for color (versus artificial coloring).

Yes, this is a pretty solid dish. But there is one problem…I didn’t think it tasted any different than the original Rice-A-Roni, except that there were some dehydrated leeks and celery pieces in this one. Soy sauce is listed in the ingredients, but I didn’t taste any. If there wasn’t a picture of a dragon on the box, I probably wouldn’t have known that this was supposed to be an Asian-inspired side dish.

Overall, I’d buy this one again. I think it would be pretty awesome served with some chicken and stir-fried veggies. It’s good, but don’t expect it to taste like the fried rice that your local Chinese carryout place serves.

***/*****