Trader Joe’s Chicken Fried Rice Review – I can’t believe how long I’ve been reviewing and I have never reviewed one of my favorite food items at Trader Joe’s! I have been buying this since I started shopping there almost 15 years ago. It’s so stupidly easy to make and tastes so good, I think everyone should have a couple in their freezer for a quick dinner or lunch.
My love affair with Asian food started when I lived in Thailand as a small child in elementary school. My father worked at the US Embassy in Bangkok and I was forever changed. After we came back to the US, all I wanted was Thai and Chinese food (according to my parents). They became quite good chefs (both of them) over there and the home-cooked Thai food all the time.
Fast forward to today, Asian food, especially Thai and ethnic Chinese foods, are everywhere. Cookbooks and cooking shows and not to mention food blogs and Youtube are everywhere and it makes it easy to find and create your own authentic Asian foods. What this frozen dish is the most basic chicken fried rice dish you would ever find.
If I got this at a restaurant, I would be very disappointed, but this is not that. This is a cheap, wholesome food that you can make in a few minutes. If I was a starving college student or even living on my own, I’d probably have a freezer filled with this (along with many Trader Joe’s pizzas). It’s like ramen, so cheap and easy to make and fills your empty stomach with nourishment, why not?
This is plain Jane, run of the mill Americanized Chinese Fried rice. Plain and simple. It’s not nearly as good as the Thai Shrimp Fried Rice or Japanese styled fried rice that Trader Joe’s sells but is cheap and nourishing and easy to doctor up. If you want more flavor, go for those two fried rice that I mentioned before. But where else are you going to find 20 ounces of food for under $3 that could feed a normal person for two meals? Hardly anywhere, that’s where. You can try to make it yourself from scratch, which I do all the time with excellent results. But for a starving college student, this is a great meal with a little help from some sauces.
As for the preparation, there are two methods. Stir Fry or microwave. If you have the time, go for the stir-fry method. It’s going to make it taste a lot better. Microwave, only if you are in a hurry or just want to dump the bag in containers to bring to work for lunch. This is the ultimate easy to prep take to lunch food. Just put it in a microwavable container and nuke for a minute or two and presto, instant lunch.
If you want to spice things up a bit, you can use Sriracha or hot sesame oil. I even grind a little black pepper on top to give it more flavor. You could toss some hot pepper flake or turn it into curry rice by dumping some Trader Joe’s curry sauce in there. My best trick is a squirt of Ketchup. Yes, ketchup. You have to remember that Ketchup’s origins are Indonesian so it makes perfect sense. The ways to make this taste better are numerous and I suggest experimenting with them because it’s going to get really boring, just like that ramen you ate in college every day, day after day. Just don’t have high expectations for this but at the same time, it solves a basic need for anyone that wants to eat and save money.
As I mentioned before, this product isn’t going to win any awards for flavor but it makes up for that with ease of preparation and the sheer volume of healthy calories. Cheap and easy eats that are ready to eat in about five minutes. I eat it all the time for a quick lunch and there is not guessing as to why this product has been on Trader Joe’s shelves for well over 15 years. It must simply be one of their most popular products.
I am going to rate this 7 Bells!
How to Prepare
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS STOVETOP:
1. Heat approximately 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a non-stick • frying pan or wok. • • 2. Add 1-1/3 cups of frozen Chicken Fried Rice, cover with lid or foil, and stir • frying occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until cooked thoroughly to 165°F. MICROWAVE: 1. Empty 1-1/3 cups of frozen Chicken Fried Rice in a microwavable container and cover. 2. Cook on HIGH for 2-3 minutes or until cooked thoroughly to 165°F. For safety, contents must be cooked thoroughly to a temperature of 165°F
COOKING MAY VARY ACCORDING TO MICROWAVE WATTAGE
cooked rice, cooked seasoned chicken dark meat (chicken dark meat, soy sauce [water, soybeans salt, alcohol], sugar, sweet cooking rice wine [sake (water, rice, koji (aspergillus oryzae)), sugar, water, salt, yeast extract], sake (water, rice, koji (aspergillus oryzae), salt), water salt), carrots, scrambled eggs (whole eggs, modified food starch, citric acid), soy sauce (water, soybeans, wheat, salt), green peas, leeks, red bell peppers, sweet cooking rice wine (water, mirin [rice, alcohol, salt, enzymes] sugar, lactic acid), contains less than 2% of each of the following: canola oil, onions, sugar, seaweed extract (water, kelp extract, dextrin, alcohol, salt, xanthan gum), sesame oil, salt.
CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGGS AND SOY