Friday, June 12, 2020

Hai Di Lao - Self Heating Beef Hotpot (Tomato Flavour) from #OctoBox

I was back at work for three days this week and while waiting to collect the makan from my favourite restaurant, Waa Cow, i dropped by the neighboring OctoBox and got attracted to the self heating beef hotpot (tomato flavour) from Hai Di Lao!

At S$9.90, it's not cheap but i thought it might be worth a try as i have never played with self-heating food. Plus, i need to think of new topics to write in this blog before laziness and procrastination take over.

After removing the plastic film, let's continue to explore what's within the box.

A whole ton of stuff which made me feel real guilty as i don't think any of them could be recycled! There were another translucent container, a self heating pad, a pack of cutlery and the edible stuff like tomato soup base, picked vegetables, vermicelli and beef.

It's convenient if you are out camping as the only other thing you need is just plain, normal temperature, drinkable water. However, a key disadvantage is that the box itself was a bit bulky and for me, the cheaper instant cup noodles from Nissin seem more appealing.

Don't throw away the paper wrap around the box! It contained key cooking instructions which would be essential for a first-timer like myself, especially when i am a stickler for step-by-step guide!

Tore the aluminium pack containing the pickled vegetables and no, it's not the pickled vegetables i was expecting. Instead, there were black fungus, slices of lotus roots, potatoes, kelp and small pieces of bamboo shoot; none of which caught my fancy except for lotus roots and kelp.

Every edible stuff thrown in the translucent container and i proceeded to fill up with normal temperature drinking water (non-boiling); up to the maximum level indicated on the container. To make it easier for reference, refer to the red arrow i have drawn in the above photo.

Next up would be to fill up the original box with normal temperature drinking water. This time, the water level required would be much lesser. Refer once again to the red arrow.

After which, remove the plastic from the self heating pad and put it inside the original box. The pad would soak up the water and you must immediately put the translucent container on top!

The chemical reaction was slightly delayed as the pad had to soak up the water first and it was shocking to see smoke emitting from the pad, with water boiling almost instantly! It was scalding hot and i personally feel the self-heating hotpot is unsuitable for children to self-service; too dangerous!

Remember to cover the box with the lid. You can't see from the photograph but in real life, you can see steam shooting out from the ventilating hole.

Set an alarm for 15 minutes, as per instructions.

Unpack your cutlery which includes a pair of chopsticks, a spoon, a piece of serviette and toothpick! Very thoughtful alright although i prefer floss over toothpick.

15 minutes were up and here's my bowl of pipping hot hotpot! To be honest, i am selective when it comes to hotpot and count sotong ball, prawn paste, meat balls, hotdogs, crab sticks etc as my favourite ingredients. Oh well, my mom would be happy to know i am having a balanced meal with some vegetables.

On one hand, I didn't have much complaint about the hotpot, except for maybe the lotus roots which were harder than expected. On the other hand though, it wasn't spectacular enough for me to fork out S$9.90.

Even the inclusion of about 5-6 pieces of beef failed to impress me. While tender and soft, the taste was more like the canned meat from the Narcissus brand. On second thought, i should have thrown in a can of Narcissus Spiced Pork Cubes to increase the meat ratio before i put in the self-heating pad.

It's S$9.90; i have reached the age whereby we shouldn't waste food.