Food Finds · hiking · Other · Trail Cooking · Vegetarian

Commercial Meal Review: Pad Thai

Today’s review is of Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai.


The pouch is 8-ounces and runs retail for $5.90, making it one of the more affordable commercial meals on the market. It seems with Backpacker’s Pantry if you choose the veg entrees they are surprisingly affordable. This one does contain TVP for extra protein as well, so keep that in mind if you don’t like soy products.

The pouch contains the noodles/dry sauce, a 1 1/2-ounce packet of peanut butter and a small packet of halved roasted peanuts. While it is a great concept to have the packet of peanut butter I was shocked to see the low quality used – the peanut butter contained bad oils (Roasted peanuts, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil – rapeseed, cottonseed and/or soybeans oils- , salt*). I would suggest that the company use something a wee bit healthier such as Justin’s Nut Butters which are fabulous tasting and a whole lot healthier. [*It does seem that the newer bags of the Pad Thai do contain a better peanut butter that got rid of the bad oils. Nice to see that. Too bad they are still selling the bags with the bad PB!]


Looking into the pouch at the dry rice noodles/sauce mix:


It is pretty straight forward, as with most commercial ‘no-cook’ meals – add hot water, seal tightly and let sit for time on package. With the pad thai they have you add in the peanut butter and peanuts, then the water. You will need a long handled spoon to be able to mix it well. The noodles being rice must be submerged to cook properly. The company suggests 13 minutes for the sit time for up to 5,000 ft elevation, if you are in cold weather or higher in elevation I would suggest 15 to 20 minutes or up to 30 minutes if above 10,000 feet – or you may have chewy noodles. In higher elevation/cold I would suggest a cozy for these bags, they are not as thick as some other brands. Not a bad thing, just keep it in mind!


Ford was my taste tester for the meal. He liked it and was happy it wasn’t “too spicy”. That is something to consider, it is spiced for the average American taste bud. And that is nice really – one can always ramp up the heat by throwing in some dried Thai chilies or dried red pepper flakes. (Or some rooster sauce!)


Overall the meal was good. The smell of the dry ingredients was a nice aroma when opening the bag.It has a pleasant flavor though for me I would shake in some more heat – or a little more lime powder.

The nutrition stats were also on the good side. The bag is technically 2 servings, with each serving being: 460 calories, 18 grams fat, 580 mg sodium, 8 grams fiber, 19 grams protein.

This makes this an unusual choice in commercial meals – the high fat, high protein and high fiber with reasonable sodium levels. Most commercial meals lack in all of this.

But….as with nearly all commercial meals this does NOT make 2 servings unless you eat like a hummingbird. As you can see in the photos above, I served the full bag in the Fozzils Bowl. This is a meal the boy would eat on his own. If we were to split it I would have to provide another meal for him. Again, something to consider when making meal choices. Still, with the sodium levels a person could eat the bag by themselves….but be warned, if you don’t get a lot of fiber in your diet, well…..16 grams of fiber in one meal is a lot 😉