Through one of my children’s schools, I became friends a few years ago with a woman who grew up in Thailand, and one of her favorite things to cook for us when our small group of mom friends gathers is green curry chicken. I enjoy trying cuisine from other countries and cultures, and her green curry chicken is flavorful and delicious and just spicy enough to clear my sinuses.
The best way to try food from another culture — short of visiting that region or country personally — is when someone native to that area cooks it, so you can be guaranteed you’re getting an authentic experience. But not everyone knows someone from Thailand who likes to cook for friends, and not everyone has a Thai restaurant nearby or the budget for takeout.
That’s where Aldi comes in. For a limited-inventory grocery store, Aldi sells a surprising number of international dishes, from Tikka Masala sauce and Butter Chicken sauce (both Regular Buys available year round) to seaweed snacks and an array of German foods that show up as limited-time specials at different points in the year.
If you want to try Thai food, Aldi sometimes sells that as well.
Aldi sometimes sells pad Thai rice noodle bowls, green curry rice noodle soup, and red curry rice noodle soup. On a recent shopping trip, I picked up the pad Thai and green curry bowls. (I thought the red curry might be more spicy than I prefer, so I left that for another day.)
The Journey to Thailand Pad Thai Rice Noodle Bowl or Journey to Thailand Green Curry Rice Noodle Soup cost $1.99 each at the time of publication.
These are Aldi Finds (Special Buys), which means they’re only in stores for a short time. Aldi does not offer online ordering for its specials, so once these sell out at your local store, they’re gone until next time.
Both of these are a product of Thailand. When Aldi stocks them, they can be found in the nonrefrigerated Aldi Find food aisle. They are individual servings in a plastic bowl that can be quickly prepared in the microwave, making them ideal for lunch for one, especially if you need to take your lunch to work. All you need is a fork or spoon.
Read on for more information about each.
Journey to Thailand Pad Thai Rice Noodle Bowl
This comes in a 3.53-oz. package with a packet of noodles, a packet of dried diced vegetables, and a packet of pad Thai sauce. I have more experience with green curry and less experience with pad Thai, so I can’t speak as well to how authentic this tastes, but I liked it, and so did my child who is a pickier eater, which is saying a lot. It was only mildly spicy, with tender noodles and a flavorful sauce. It would be better with fresh vegetables rather than dry ones, but that wasn’t a deal breaker.
I forgot to take photos of the noodle bowl after preparing it in the microwave because my kids were clamoring to taste it, but when you scroll down to read about the green curry soup later in this post, you’ll see what the plastic bowl and lid for these meals look like as well as the rice noodle packet.
Sauce ingredients are: water, sugar, shallot, peanut, soy bean oil, salt, tamarind paste, garlic, soy sauce powder, modified corn starch, red chili, citric acid, plain caramel, xanthan gum, and paprika color. The veggie packet includes dried carrot and dried spring onion, while the rice noodles contain rice flour and water.
If you’re watching out for allergens, this contains soy and peanut. It was produced in a facility that uses crab, shrimp, and fish.
One serving (98 grams) has 280 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat (6% DV), 1 gram of saturated fat (5% DV), no cholesterol, 540 mg of sodium (23% DV), 55 grams of total carbohydrates (20% DV), 2 grams of dietary fiber (7% DV), 11 grams of total sugars, 10 grams of added sugars (20% DV), and 5 grams of protein.
To microwave, remove all contents from the bowl. Empty the noodles into the bowl. Add water, filling the bowl to the lower inside ridge. Cover loosely with lid and microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until soft but firm. Drain well. Empty the contents of the sauce and vegetable pouches into the bowl over the noodles. Stir well and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove lid carefully and enjoy.
These were easy to microwave, but it was a little difficult to safely drain the water from the hot cooked noodles without burning my hands. I fastened the lid securely on the bowl and drained the water through some small ventilation holes on the top of the lid, but the plastic bowl and lid are hot and not so easy to handle. It works in a pinch, but the best way to drain the noodles might be to use a separate colander.
I cooked my noodles for 3 1/2 minutes during the first microwave session, where the instructions state to cook for 3-4 minutes. After it was all done, I thought the noodles might have benefited from cooking for a little less time, so next time I might only microwave them for 3 minutes initially.
Journey to Thailand Green Curry Rice Noodle Soup
This comes in a 3.5-oz. packge with a packet of rice noodles and a packet of green curry sauce. I thought this was quite good, and it has the green curry flavor I’m familiar with from eating my friend’s homemade green curry chicken. Beware: this soup has well over half of your daily allotment of sodium (keep reading for specific nutrition info).
Because this is a soup with long noodles, it’s a little harder to eat than the pad Thai noodle bowl, but it also feels and looks like a more substantial meal because of all the broth. I used my spoon to try to cut the noodles to more bite-sized pieces. If I buy this again, I might break up the noodles a little before microwaving them. I also drank a lot of water with this soup, not only because it is slightly spicy (it’s not that bad) but because the sauce/seasoning mix had some small bits that sometimes caught in my throat and made me cough while eating. Overall, though, I liked this soup.
Sauce ingredients are: green curry paste, coconut milk, water, sugar, salt, soy bean oil, coconut powder, wild ginger, modified corn starch, kaffir lime leaves, yeast extract, lactic acid, and xanthan gum. The rice noodles contain rice flour and water.
This contains soy and tree nuts (coconut). It was produced in a facility that uses peanuts, crab, shrimp, and fish.
One serving (98 grams) has 250 calories, 5 grams of total fat (6% DV), 3 grams of saturated fat (15% DV), no cholesterol, 1,480 mg of sodium (64% DV), 47 grams of total carbohydrates (17% DV), 4 grams of dietary fiber (14% DV), 7 grams of total sugars, 6 grams of added sugars (12% DV), and 4 grams of protein.
To microwave, remove all contents from the bowl. Empty the noodles and sauce into the bowl. Add water, filling the bowl to the lower inside ridge. Cover loosely with the lid. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes or until water is hot. Remove lid carefully, stir well, and enjoy.
I cooked this for 3 minutes — on the lower end of the suggested cook time, and the noodles turned out perfect.
The Journey to Thailand Pad Thai Rice Noodle Bowl and Journey to Thailand Green Curry Rice Noodle Soup are a pretty good way to get a taste of Thai food. They’re not the same as homemade or restaurant food, but they’re quick, conveniently microwavable, and inexpensive.