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As I’ve mentioned a few times before, even though my preference is to eat fresh, whole foods, I’m not above picking up a frozen dinner in a bag to use in a pinch. In fact, I almost always have one in my freezer for those “in case of emergency” moments. While I generally tend to go for Italian/Mediterranean type meals, this Chinese style Beef and Broccoli from Wanchai Ferry couldn’t have arrived on my doorstep at a better time. Last week was more than a little crazy, and I was happy to enjoy a good meal that didn’t require a ton of thought, energy, or effort.

I was a little wary of this meal at first, since I’m really not a huge fan of Chinese food and frozen meat in the types of meals tends to weird me out, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was actually very enjoyable! The back of the bag suggested adding more vegetables — while this would certainly have added some more bulk to the meal and freshened up the flavor a little, I didn’t have any that would have been appropriate to use and I honestly didn’t feel that they were needed. The broccoli, red peppers, and water chestnuts included in the bag was plentiful and flavorful. I particularly enjoyed the broccoli, which wasn’t soggy at all and which soaked up the sauce really nicely. Unlike the meat-heavy beef and broccoli that you might get from a take-out place, the vegetables made up the bulk of the dish. I thought that this was great, but those of you who are looking for a very meaty dish might be disappointed.

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Of course, there were a few downsides to this meal: The beef, while very tender, did have a little bit of an oddly fake flavor to it (not the “freezer” flavor that meat in these meals can sometimes have, but something artificial tasting, like they tried to “enhance” the beefiness somehow). The sauce was also a little thick and syrupy for my liking, but probably not unlike a similar dish would be if you ordered it from a local Chinese restaurant. The directions also call for the rice to be microwaved. We actually don’t have a microwave, so we improvised by warming the bag in a pot of simmering water. It came out just fine, but was a little annoying – I wouldn’t have expected a “skillet” meal to require anything other than a pan and a stove.

At about $6 for a two-serving bag (what you see in the photos is one serving, it was on the small size but was enough to satisfy me) this is a good value for a quick meal. Would I buy it again? I’ll be honest and say that it isn’t likely. I did enjoy it, but it was a little sticky and fake tasting for my liking and I’ve had similar meals that I enjoyed more. If you like Chinese take-out a lot though, you might enjoy it!

Want to give it a try? MyBlogSpark has offered to send a meal — plus two teacups with infusers and loose-leaf green tea — to one reader so that they can try the meal for themselves. Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite dish to order from Chinese take-out is. I really enjoy steamed dumplings and vegetable lo mein! I’ll pick a winner on July 5! (Sorry, but this giveaway is only open to those of your who live in the US). You can also click for a coupon for $1.60 off.

Disclosure: This sample, along with the giveaway items, was provided to me by Wanchai Ferry through MyBlogSpark. All opinions are my own.