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Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai with Chicken Key Features
Serving Size: 95 grams
Calories Per Serving: 410
Servings Per Container: 2
Macros Per Container: Carbs: 99g | Fat: 34g | Protein: 41g
Recommended Soak Time: 15 minutes
Retail Price: $12.99 at time of publishing
What We Liked
- Not one but two accessory packets of peanuts
- Pleasing harmony of flavors
- High calorie density makes this a great value
What We Didn't Like
– May be too “peanuty” for some
– Only reminiscent of Pad Thai flavors (where’s the tamarind?)
HIKEFULL Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai with Chicken Review
MIKE: The word “festive” comes to mind. Here are not one but two bags of garnish – dry peanuts and a packet of creamy peanut butter. What a luxury for the backcountry? The dry ingredients are also very colorful with a confetti of red and green peppers dusting the rice noodles. Who is ready to party?
CHAD: Yes, certainly festive! We prepared this meal at 10,200ft at Stewart Lake in the Pecos Wilderness and soaked a little longer than the recommended time. I too noted the accessory bags of Peanuts and Peanut Butter. This is a bonus for flavor and texture but my partner who prepared the meal noted it can get a bit messy having multiple extra packages – something to be mindful of.
The first bite welcomed a nice kick of heat and tanginess. “Tastes like Pad Thai!” I exclaimed to my fellow hikers sitting around the dinner circle. There is a subtle sweetness here as well as some depth from the tomato and paprika. All the flavors harmonized but it seemed to be missing a layer. Or it could have been the peanut butter overpowering the other flavors?
MIKE: Yeah, flavorwise, this dish is dominated by peanuts. In my opinion, it’s almost as if Backpackers Pantry prioritized nutritional density over nuance of flavors. For someone with an appetite, I’m sure that will not be a problem, especially because it all still manages to taste delicious.
CHAD: Well, does it taste like Pad Thai?
MIKE: That is the question. “Tomato powder” is the third ingredient listed on the packaging and it amounts to a certain “zesty” punch to the sauce – almost veering into marinara territory. There is a noticeable omission of tamarind in the list of ingredients, an element which is typically the heart and soul of Pad Thai flavor. Although there is no tamarind, there is a pleasant zing from the crystalized lime and vinegar, as well as a robust backbone of spiciness as well. It’s not a burn-your-face-off heat but a gentle lip-tingling glow. I would say it is reminiscent of Pad Thai.
MIKE: This dish comes together really well. Of course, an extra level of creaminess is achieved with the peanut butter. The noodles maintain their integrity. The colorful green and red peppers, along with the cilantro add some textural flair (and flavor) to the dish.
CHAD The texture of this dish was pretty darn good. While many meals have a one-dimensional texture, the peanut packets create a dynamic texture. While some reviewers note issues with the chicken, our rehydrated perfectly. The noodles held up well and didn’t disintegrate. We even could have soaked for a bit less time. One pro tip would be to crush up the peanuts. They come halved and it’s not as aesthetically or texturely pleasing.
Final Verdict: Recommended
CHAD If I bring in something promising Pad Thai, I’m expecting a level of heat and complex flavors. Backbacker’s Pantry delivers here by committing to a bold level of spice and a Thai-inspired harmony of flavors. The meal rehydrates nicely. Overall, it was satisfying, filling, and delicious. Also, you get a good calories to dollar ratio here, making this an incredibly filling meal or one that’s easy to share. For all of these reasons, this is easily a top contender for the best Pad Thai we tested. I definitely recommend!
MIKE: Again, the inclusion of two separate forms of peanuts feels like a luxury in the backcountry. This could not only be a hearty, nutrient dense meal but a conversation piece or source of envy as well, as in “look at the fancy meal I’m assembling from multiple packets.” The portion size is also such that not only could you spark envy, you could inspire gratitude, as this is easily shareable amongst friends. You could also do so with no qualms, as this meal is one most people would find agreeable, if not totally delicious. All said, this is a tasty and satisfying meal in the backcountry. I recommend.