Monday, October 26, 2009

Congee in a Can (and Curds in a Can too)!

Taisun's Mixed Congee and Peanut Soybean Curd Jelly

I love T & T Supermarket. It's my one-stop shop for Chinese specialty items like dumpling wrappers for homemade jiaozi, freshly made bean curd skins, or the distinctively flavoured and coloured, century egg. But to me, T & T is more than just a supermarket to meet my meal-making needs; I think of it as a kind of curio shop, a place to discover things new and unusual. I love wandering up and down the aisles, checking out the latest in stock, or what I may have missed on my last trip. This last time around, I discovered Taisun's Mixed Congee in a can. I felt a need to try this thing and while I was at it, decided it was also necessary to take home a can of their Peanut Soybean Curd Jelly. There were several other Taisun varieties, but these two seemed the most intriguing.

I tried the Peanut Soybean Jelly first and as much as I tried to like it, I can't say that I did. The soybean jelly looked curdled and broke easily into unappetizing bits, and the few peanuts to be found had lost their flavour in the overly sweet, gingery syrup. I could only have a few bites before I had to put it down. The Mixed Congee on the other hand was more doable. Made of glutinous rice, oats, lentils, peas, peanuts, red beans, longan and more, it was somewhat similar in taste to Chinese red bean soup, but more runny and more textural. I wouldn't say it was delicious, but for a meal in a can, it felt pretty nutritious. Perhaps it wouldn't be a bad snack to have once in a rare while, when not in the mood for fruit, or a granola bar per se. And that they are made in Taiwan, and from all natural ingredients is certainly a plus, as is the price point at just over a dollar a can.

But what I found truly cool was the nifty cover it came with, complete with its own spoon folded neatly inside. Unfold it and snap it into place, and it's like a transformer spoon, only it really just turns from a folded spoon into a fully functioning spoon. But that is still pretty great design for instant food packaging, and it's super sturdy! Even if I never buy Taisun's curds or congee again, I will be re-using the spoons for as long as they'll last me.

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