Why buy Noodles when there’s Kabuto?
When these arrived at our offices we couldn’t wait to take a look, even first thing in the morning, the gentle aroma permeating through the cardboard box made us all glance at the time to see if it was lunchtime yet.
After some food related chat whilst waiting for midday, we realised that it had been some years since any of us in the office had tried noodles of the pot variety, the last time was perhaps as a teenager, or at best twenty something. But these days we’re all mums and strive to *enter yummy mummy mode* absolutely-must-have-the-best for our little cherubs. Isn’t that right?! So we’ve steered clear of this type of snack…until now. It turns out that Kabuto noodles have all the good bits of instant noodles but none of the bad. Who knew that even existed?
Here at MumsClub HQ we all have pre-teens so our needs have changed, and so have our kids, who are becoming less fussy and more intrepid when it comes to food and trying new things, and eating straight from a pot – well that’s just pure decadence and something our kids found fabulous and for us Mums, the idea of something as quick, easy as this was never really going to disappoint.
Kabuto’s range consists of typically Asian favourites, and can be prepared in minutes, allowing you to get on with life and work and kids and the washing and so on.…
Fabulously they are free from additives and preservatives, have great tasting fresh flavours like Chilli, lime, ginger and coriander and are low in fat – in fact the entire range all contains less than 350 calories, so you can enjoy a great tasting and convenient lunch without the guilt. We love that they are bio degradable pots too – won’t go clogging up the landfill sites.
So as our review sample packs were sent out on their merry way to our reviewer panel, we got stuck in too!
The flavours sampled were:
- Chilli Chicken Ramen (noodles)
- Thai Green Curry (rice)
- Chicken Ramen (noodles)
- Beef Pho (noodles)
- Vegetable Laska (noodles)
- Miso Ramen (noodles)
First of our reviewers was Mikaela whose initial reaction was “Wow, how noodles have changed!! I remember the old plastic pots of college days many moons ago, so was very pleasantly surprised with the packaging of Kabutos Noodles & Rice pots.”
“Gorgeous cream pots in a takeaway coffee type style with stylish printing that was neither young nor old”
She immediately told us that they were far more sophisticated & “infinitely more classy” than she was expecting, describing the packaging as “Gorgeous cream pots in a takeaway coffee type style with stylish printing that was neither young nor old”. Interestingly they are for sale at Mikaela’s local skate park & look super cool, but they are equally suited to high end supermarket shelves.
Mikaela notes that nothing seems to have changed much in making them; boiling the kettle, add the water to the line & then leave for 4 mins. However, she tells us “the packaging & flavours already had us wafting the aromas towards in us in anticipation. A quick stir & off to the table we went……4 boys & me armed with bowls, noodle pots, chop sticks & forks (just in case!)”
The plan was to mix & match as they had 5 flavours to try, but once everyone had read the pots, favourites were quickly identified, thankfully with no argument and they all offered theirs around for each other to try a bit. ’Just a small bit mind’ was the comment from her youngest; a very fussy eater who was far too happy with his Chicken Ramen to share it with the family!
Three of Mikaela’s boys went for what appeared to be the less spicy options of Beef Pho Noodles, Chicken Ramen Noodles & Thai Green Chicken Curry Rice whilst Mikaela and her eldest both went for the spicier looking Chicken Laska & Vegetable Laska. Nobody was left disappointed, and found the flavours of each fantastic.
“Enough to burn your lips a little, but still really flavoursome!”
“Each was very different which may sound like an odd comment, but we were expecting them all to be alike with little flavour variation, possibly a pre-conceived idea, but a totally invalid one. The hotter Laska’s were just right….enough to burn your lips a little, but still really flavoursome!”
“I can honestly say I was expecting these to be ‘something for the kids’, but my partner & I loved them too & I would definitely grab a few whilst shopping as a quick, easy, grab & go option or a Saturday night TV dinner as this was. Oh and the chopsticks never got a look in as they tasted far too good to eat that slowly & everyone threw them to one side & grabbed forks within seconds!”
Second to review was calorie counting Jo and her family who found Kabuto pots a great option for a quick meal: “As a woman running her own business these pots are great meals that I can prepare quickly and enjoy at my desk when I don’t have time to take a proper lunch break. I’m also often calorie counting so I really appreciate the clear packaging with very clear calorie and nutritional information on there. And if I was going to be out and about and knew I wouldn’t be stopping for lunch, I’d probably consider taking one of these with me rather than resorting to a motorway service station for lunch! “
Jo liked the taste of both the noodle and rice pots. but wasn’t expecting the rice pot to have so much liquid: “I assumed the rice would absorb all the liquid and, to be fair, would probably have preferred it if it had done so. But the flavour was always good… lovely and spicy and warming. And the rice pots were less messy to eat than the noodle ones which do tend to splash more.”
Jo’s husband enjoyed the pots less. The taste was good in his opinion but he does eat this style of food frequently in London from itsu and his feeling was that it’s then hard to compare a pot like this to something bought from a restaurant.
“Why create washing up when you don’t need to?!!”
Kabuto were a clear winner for Jo’s 9 year old, who particularly loved the noodle pots. She chose to empty her noodles into a proper bowl but the rest of the family ate them out of the pot and this worked really well. She very wisely pointed out “Why create washing up when you don’t need to?!!” She is keen for her mum, Jo to buy them and keep a couple in the kitchen cupboards for those easy mealtimes in place of her more traditional soup choice!
Next up was Lisa. Lisa had grown up with a brother and sister who lived on pot noodles, which created long lasting memories of a smell that very much displeased her! However, now, with her modern busy family she often struggles for ideas for lunch, especially when away at a show which is common for running her hot tub business; Ruggles Leisure. To her, Kabuto Noodles seemed like a perfect solution. Like a Pot Noodle, they only require boiling water to be added, a quick stir and hey presto. Lisa had the whole family taste test the Kabuto Noodles: Keith (Dad), Lisa (Mum), Zeeks (16), Jonathan (4).
Lisa gave a great tip that the girls in our office agreed with; she found filling to the recommended liquid level left them a little watery, so reducing the amount of water added improves the texture:
“I would also recommend giving them a very good stir. You can miss the tasty flavour-packed bits if you don’t get right down to the bottom.” Lisa noted that all of the Kabuto Noodles have a pleasant aroma and will not require everyone to leave the vicinity, not like their rival.
Soon into their taste test, Lisa realised the flavours were a little too developed for her 4 year old’s pallet. Jonathan (4) found the chilli kick a little too much for him, so after trying a few mouthfuls of different pots, he was reluctant to try any more!
However they went down very well with Zeeks (16) who found them slightly hot although he would have preferred a thicker liquid. However, he liked the thought of taking them camping and even to university. Even a university budget should stretch to £2 for lunch…
Both Lisa and Dad, Keith agreed that the noodles have a nice texture and they are certainly packed with flavour but also felt the meat pieces were not entirely necessary, finding they tasted a little dry even when they had been soaking in the water for sometime.
Lisa and Keith found the Thai Green Curry rice pot was a wonderful flavour, they felt the rice didn’t have the texture of rice they were expecting and found it left a slight powdery after taste but it didn’t put them off.
Lisa says “I do think they are a great option if you are pushed for time and only have a kettle to hand. I wouldn’t have thought many children younger than 14-15 years old would find the level of chilli appealing though. But we enjoyed them”
Next it was Martina who enlisted sons aged 16 & 14 and vegetarian daughter age 11.
Being on a strict diet and having a vegetarian to appease, Martina allocated pots to members of her family, but they all ended up tasting each other’s too…
With a loitering vegetarian secretly wanting a taste, 16 year old Reece enjoyed his Chicken Ramen, saying it’s hotness was just right – not too spicy but very tasty. Mum, Martina wasn’t so keen as being an enthusiastic cook, she would have liked a thicker liquid to have been used. Evie the vegetarian would have preferred a ‘chicken flavour’ so she could have eaten it too!
Max (14) took on Beef Pho and enjoyed it more than the others, giving it the thumbs up. Martina felt it had a lovely balance of garlic and soy which gave a different feel to the previous coconut based versions.
Evie (11 & vegetarian), well, let’s just say that Miss Evie was a little disappointed that the Vegetable Laska was the only vegetarian option in the mix! She really enjoyed it and said it was ‘yummy’; she loved noodles and these didn’t disappoint, nice thick noodles and tasty coconut with a mild chilli flavour. This one was gluten free and branded as lower calorie (274).
Max (14) also took on the Chicken Laksa and wow, he found it the spicy one! From the noises he made eating this, it was clear the chilli hit was fierce… he didn’t give in though and ate it all, Martina – the chef – would have preferred more coriander to balance out that chilli… Max was fine with it though.
Martina’s clan were positive after trying all the flavours and types of Kabuto pots – Evie voiced a distinct preference for more vegetarian options and Martina was impressed even being on the diet – she said the pots averaged out at 2-3 sins per pot, in other words; not too bad.
Lastly the MumsClub office 🙂
It’s been some years since we had noodles in a pot, they were really popular back in the 80’s but they weren’t the most healthy of snack foods to choose so it’s not surprise their popularity didn’t last. They’re still on the shelves of course but we’ve always steered clear of any potted snacks – purely because of the lack of healthiness from those, so being intrigued we couldn’t wait to get stuck in to the Kabuto’s.
First off, they’re really very convenient, taking just 4 minutes to prepare with boiling water. We found that filling up to the recommended level was a little too high; simply filling to the top of the noodles was just fine for us, but this is obviously down to personal taste.
“it’s actually a really tasty soup after you’ve exhausted the noodles!”
While waiting the 4 minutes, the instructions on the pot are fun to read, providing suggestions on what to do in those 4 minutes – although I was too busy reading to neither mediate nor practice karate! It was also interesting to see the nutritional value printed on the pots too, this helped convince us that they were in fact healthier than we had initially imagined. Made it taste even better too!
Overall the taste was a winner all round – far gone is the manufactured taste and smell of the pot noodle, some people liked the mild yet highly tasty rice noodles and rice pots – these were absolutely delicious to taste, and far easier to eat than the noodles which could get messy! Which was also a distinct advantage for the younger tasters who found it splashing on their faces whilst sucking the noodles hilarious.
The rice was a more risotto style rice, than a typical pilau and it was nice that you could eat it with a spoon, and the taste was really lovely. The rice noodles were very soft and tender, and easier to eat than the standard noodles range which were thin – tasty but can create a few splodges on your dining table!
There are small veggies and chunks of meat in the pots which take more of a supporting role in the dish…or pot, but it’s the noodles and taste that are the main event. Being able to keep a stash of them in the cupboard – they don’t need to be kept refrigerated – is a huge advantage to creating a quick in- between social activities snack to keep the kids going. Or to take away – camping and festivals will benefit greatly from these marvellous little gems, or for simply when you just haven’t the energy to make lunch.
Our kids love the unusual; something different, maybe a bit of spice but not too much, eating out of a pot is totally unheard of for ours, so to be able to sit in front of the telly, or chat to mates on Skype whilst eating from a pot was a great idea – but if there is technology or delicate fabrics nearby – get them covered. Once you hear that slurp of a noodle you know there’s a splat to be followed.
Finally, the ingenious little testers found that after the noodles are finished you can drink the remaining liquid – it’s actually a really tasty soup after you’ve exhausted the noodles! Then pop it in the recycling. Fabulous!
Kabuto Noodles can be found in:
Tesco, ASDA, Waitrose, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Co-Operative, Booths, Budgens, Amazon, Wholefoods.
The full Kabuto range includes:
- Gluten Free Rice Noodles £2
- Chicken Pho, Vegetable Laksa, Noodles £2
- Chicken Laksa, Chilli Chicken Ramen, Prawn Tom Yum, Beef Pho, Miso Ramen, Chicken Ramen, Gluten Free Rice Pots £2
- Thai Red Vegetable Curry, Thai Green Chicken Curry
With thanks to our reviewers:
- Lisa Ruggles is a mum to Gemma (20), Zeeks (16), Jonathan (4) and step mum to Nicola (27) & Georgina (25). She works in the family hot tub business, is a keen runner and blogger and trustee for Blue Skye Thinking. www.rugglesatleisure.com & www.hottubstudio.co.uk
- Jo Mackay – www.bookingsforyou.com
- Miki Mansell, Age 43 & Owner of Sunshine & Daisies – Swarovski Wine Glass Charms & Gifts and 4 very important, special boys aged 46, 13, 12 & 10.
- Martina Gomez, with Reece Evie and Max, owner of Martina’s Pampervan and My Crafty Candles
- And of course, MumsClub HQ and families 🙂