Ready-to-cook meals in Shanghai

2015-08-30_0003Having been an expat for quite sometime, whenever I visit the States, I’m always taken back by how easy things are. How convenient things are. And during my six weeks at home this summer, I became pretty spoiled.

Coming back to Shanghai has taken some time to get settled. It’s been a month and I’m just now getting on a proper schedule. I’m finally stocking my fridge and pantry. I’m realizing that eating street food for every meal isn’t the best idea.

Thankfully, after one too many dumpling dinners, ready-to-cook meal delivery service, Xinwei Cook, contacted me to see if I could review a couple of their dishes.

This concept seems to be taking off in Shanghai. Due to the fact that foreigners make up a large chunk of the city’s population, and that everyone works entirely too much, food and grocery delivery services have become a mainstay for busy residents. I have personally been a much-too-faithful a customer to online grocery stores Kate & Kimi and Fieldsas well as restaurant delivery service Sherpa’s. But now that I have the option of ordering a box of pre-washed, pre-portioned ingredients, along with the recipe, I’m inclined to do so. If nothing else, to say that I cooked something. And maybe impress my boyfriend from time-to-time.

So how was it?2015-08-30_0001Xinwei Cook delivered a well-organized, clearly labeled box right when they said they would. All of the ingredients were fresh and vacuum-sealed. Condiments and seasonings were in separate plastic containers. Super convenient, but also not very environmentally-friendly.

The first dish I made was pan-seared cod with black bean sauce (58 RMB). Pros: The cod was mild and the vegetables were clean and crunchy. The black bean sauce was already prepared. The portion was generous (2 filets) and could be shared if you’re not as big of an eater as I am. Cons: The recipe called for too much oil, in my opinion, so I used about half of what they recommended. The directions also called for more salt than was included, although I think it was a good thing, as the black bean sauce was salty enough. Also, the recipe the company included was in Chinese.2015-08-30_0004Overall, the dish was really tasty and relatively healthy. If I were to make it again, I would also make a pot of brown rice in order to serve two people. In that case, the price point would be very reasonable, at approximately $4.50 USD per person. Here’s a look at the final product:2015-08-30_0005The next day I made stir-fried snowflake beef with black pepper and garlic sauce (98 RMB). Pros: The mushrooms were hearty and paired well with the beef. The beef was high quality. The black pepper sauce was already prepared and very flavorful. Cons: Again, the directions were in Chinese, so I had to look online in order to follow the recipe exactly. The recipe called for quite a lot of butter, so I used half of what they recommended. The beef was a bit tough to cut, so I struggled a little and realized I need to buy a better knife.2015-08-30_0006Overall, the dish had a nice variety of vegetables, and the addition of fresh arugula added some crunch and brightness. It was savory and satisfying. Again, I ate the entire thing, but probably shouldn’t have. It was enough food for two people, especially if served over rice. In that case it would only cost $7.50 USD per person. Not bad for a steak dish. Here’s a look at the final product:2015-08-30_0007 To wrap up: I enjoyed the food provided by Xinwei Cook and liked not having to worry about whether I had all the ingredients to cook a complete meal. If I wasn’t such a pig, and shared both meals, the price point is actually pretty good, especially for Western-style food in Shanghai.

For more information, visit http://xinweicook.com/Would love to know what you think! 

*Note, Xinwei Cook did provide both meals, in return for a review; however, all opinions are my own. I will always be honest with my readers.

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