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Feast Box review: Delicious and authentic Asian meals cooked by you

What's it like to cook the meals from a Feast Box?

2y ago

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There are a few recipe boxes out there now, but Feast Box is a food box service with a difference. Yes, you go online and pick the meals you’d like to eat and then you get a box full of ingredients delivered to your door. However, the ingredients are authentic and chosen specifically to give you the genuine flavours of whichever world cuisine you’re cooking. And they’re not ones you can easily find in a supermarket.

Feast Box focuses on Asian and Middle Eastern recipes. You can pick from a menu of 12 options a week, and at least four are vegan. From there, you choose whether you want two, three or four recipes, for two or four people. The price ranges from £5.50 per person per meal, to £8.50 (on this week’s menu).

When your Feast Box arrives in a big cardboard box, you’ll see the packaging is as eco-friendly as possible, with lots of cardboard used, and minimal plastic (there is a small amount, but it’s unavoidable). The meat and other products for the fridge is packed with small ice blocks to keep it cold during transit, and wrapped in WoolCool, which is: “100% felted sheep’s wool washed in a natural process, scoured then sealed within recyclable industry grade micro-perforated polyethylene wrap”. The box suggests you either reuse it for something creative, or you can recycle the lot.

While a lot of recipe boxes focus on speed and convenience, part of the joy of a Feast Box is taking your time to enjoy what you’re cooking, while creating something new and exciting. That might make it a little more complicated, but you definitely get more joy out of cooking something from a Feast Box.

See how much James May enjoyed cooking his:

What’s cooking in my Feast Box?

My Feast Box contained two meals for two people: Vegan Vietnamese pancakes ‘Banh Xeo’ and Korean Chicken Wings with a sweet and spicy sauce. Each comes with a detailed recipe card with an introduction, how long it’ll take, the ingredients and the method.

Korean Chicken Wings with sweet and spicy sauce

Before the war, chicken was a delicacy in Korea, stewed with gentle aromatics like ginseng for special occasions. But starting in the 1960s, chicken came to symbolise post-war abundance and stability – the latter is perhaps ironic, given that it’s typically served as an anju (drinking food) and nicknamed chimaek (‘chicken with beer’). Many chicken hofs (pubs) deep-fry their wings, but for a less hectic weeknight dinner, we recommend roasting. There are plenty of variations on Korean chicken, from lightly battered to rotisserie-roasted, but this sticky, spicy yangnyeom glaze is our favourite way to grapple with these iconic crispy wings.

These wings were really easy to make, and incredibly tasty. I visited Seoul last year and the sauce really reminded me of the chimaek there. I’m so pleased I now know how to recreate it on the other side of the world. The marinade worked perfectly on the chicken, which was really good quality meat. So much better than from a supermarket... I do think the pak choi – which accompanied the dish – would have been better stir-fried than boiled though, as it held on to quite a bit of the water. But apart from that, I enjoyed every finger-licking mouthful (and yes, there was a lot of that going on. It's basically impossible to eat chicken wings with a knife and fork).

Vegan Vietnamese pancakes ‘banh xeo’

Vietnamese cuisine celebrates variety, harmony and soothing fresh herbs, but that doesn’t mean the resulting food has to be conservative or understates. In Vietnam, this type of pancake is called ‘banh xeo’, literally, ‘sizzling noise cake’, presumably because of what happens when the coconut milk and rice flour batter hits the pan and starts crisping up. The batter is dyed a distinctive turmeric-yellow shade and develops a beautiful, lacy edge as it fries. We’ve packed each pancake with a rainbow-coloured riot of stir-fried and raw tangy vegetables, delivering on the explosive promise of that sizzling noise.

The pancakes took a little bit more work than the chicken wings, but the reward was worth the effort. Most of the prep time was shredding and chopping the vegetables, so nothing too arduous. I’ve never had pancakes like these before, and I’m glad I read the above warning about the translation of ‘sizzling noise cake’. When these hit the pan, they really do sizzle! The crunchy raw veg mixed with the stir-fried cabbage, contrasted satisfyingly with the soft, coconutty hit of the (very vibrant yellow!) pancakes. Topped off with the balanced dipping sauce (garlic, chilli, lime, mirin, soy sauce, water), these were a treat.

A sign of success for me in a recipe box is if I’d go out and try to find all the ingredients to make it again. Both these dishes were so tasty that I’ll definitely be adding them to my list of things to cook again. And the pancakes will be getting made more than once in Veganuary! Feast Box can really get you out of a cooking rut, expand your cooking horizons, and teach you new techniques and ideas which you would never have considered before.

If you fancy giving Feast Box a go, FoodTribers can get £10 off their first two boxes.

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