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Review: Hello Fresh 2 Person Box

I received an email with 40% off, so I figured it was time to try this particular food delivery company. Be aware though, when I was changing around the meals that I was going to have delivered to me, the total updated each time to be more expensive. So I just went back to the original things they had put in, bringing the cost to $35.97 for three meals.

In the lead up to the delivery I got three different emails saying that some ingredients had been substituted due to COVID etc. I get it, but man was I looking forward to those snow peas! Not for myself, but for my sun conure who would kill bite hard for a snow pea.

The box arrived nicely packaged etc etc. It had three paper bags inside plus the cooler containing the meat. It also had what I’d consider useless advertising material basically congratulating me on buying it, and then using

What is laughable to me is that they have a whole page of their website devoted to recycling, yet the only things you can recycle are the cold packs (actually they suggest you reuse, otherwise it’s tip the contents out into general waste and redcycle the plastic), reuse/redcycle the meat cool bag and recycle the box/recipe cards. There’s no mention of what to do with each of the little plastic bags with the condiments in them. Unless I’m willing to wash them, they are going to go in the trash.

The ‘pantry items’ make up more than half the ingredients list for some of the dishes! Considering this one comes in at more expensive than Dinnerly (2 person, 3 meals – $28.50) and Marley Spoon (2 Person, 2 meals – $15), I’d expect to be provided with more.

Korean Beef Bibimbap with Sugar Snap Peas & Black Sesame Rice

The Bibimap was chosen as the first meal to make because it had eggs, and we love eggs. Also, meat strips are more our style than a steak. Eli views herself as a beginner cook, so she figured that the rissoles would fall apart on her (looked too advanced) and the chicken recipe might end up too spicy (since the last time she did the one with a chili it was VERY spicy).

First, the good points. All three of us liked the flavour and the contrast between meat, slaw and aoli was very nice. I actually liked the rice, it looked good with the black sesame seeds. But seriously! Way too much effort. It made enough to feed three healthy appetites + a spare for the next day.

From the cook’s mouth: Why are you telling me to cook the rice before I cook the meat?? Especially if the beef needs to be marinated for 15 minutes first. Why have water there twice for the rice and the marinade? It’s just water! The marinade could have had less water actually, because it was runny.

It had a lot of plastic rubbish for not much reward. The aoli sauce could have come in a hard plastic container instead that could be recycled rather than chucked. It says it will create less waste… Yet! It came with a full bulb of garlic but actually only wanted 1 clove for the marinade sauce.

It also came with ginger. We keep garlic and ginger in our house as default, so we might make the sauce again. However, the way it was made ended up with the beef marinade sauce being really runny and then it sunk to the bottom and it didn’t really marinade it. The bits of meat at the bottom got a nice marinade at least. The Dinnerly box had it stick to the meat and it was more tasty.

The wording of the instructions is hard to read, all the ingredients are in tiny font in no particular reason. When you’re in a rush, it’s a pain to have to keep making sure you are looking at 2 people, not 4 people recipe. The pictures are not particularly clear. It might be more useful to have an image of slicing the veggies instead of showing a white bowl with aoli in it. The step says multiple things to do at the same time, so it’s not really 6 steps.

Sugar snap peas (you know, the ones in the title of the dish!) were replaced with asian greens. Mixed greens and grated carrot… Very finely grated because Eli’d already gotten the grater out for the ginger. Since the options were to thinly slice into matchsticks or grate the carrot grating seemed way easier. One of the 10 is chilli flakes which is tiny! And somehow chilli flakes aren’t a pantry item and come in their own tiny little package. It does need five pantry staples, but eggs aren’t a freaking pantry item! Why do a recipe that needs so many ‘pantry staples’?

Everything needs multiple bowls, multiple pans, lids on everything to keep it warm and it made a whole lot of mess. You only cook the veggies, then take them out, then put in half the beef, then take it out, then put the last of the beef in. Then FINALLY cook the eggs. It meant that things were going cold while I was trying to coordinate everything.

The chef this evening wanted the Dinnerly box back!

Teriyaki-Glazed Pork Rissoles with Garlic Rice & Asian Slaw

The pork was amazing. It fell apart in the mouth. But, you know, you put teriyaki sauce on anything and it’ll be tasty. We’ll be making the rissoles again, and buying/making some kickass teriyaki sauce. I wouldn’t order it again from HelloFresh. This fed three mild appetites with a serve left over.

Special garlic rice was kinda meh. Not at all garlic-y. Weirdly, this one came with just two garlic cloves. The order of the recipe was stupid, why cook the rissoles and let them go cold while you make the coleslaw. Uh, what? Also, it’s constantly telling you to look at the ingredients list, when it would be just as quick to just list the ingredients needed in the step.

The coleslaw was pretty average. No snow peas, substituted in as cucumber. It’s just coleslaw, and I prefer mine with walnuts. Mayonnaise + ?Japanese dressing?, lime juice and black sesame seeds. We still have half of each of all the things left over… So again, not actually reducing waste. I’ll have to buy some mince and do it for us.

Jerk Chicken & Caribbean Couscous with Charred Corn & Coconut Sweet Chilli Mayo

This was the most sensible of the three recipes. It told us to chop everything first and get it ready before setting out to cook the meal. It asked to stir through the baby spinach at the end, but I did it a bit earlier so that it wilted more. Couscous is also pretty forgiving for set-and-forget, better than expected.

The chicken was fantastically flavoured, and the couscous was soft and nicely textured. The corn came in a tin (yay, recyclable!) and turned out very nicely. Perhaps the couscous was a little bit capsicum-y (is that even a thing?) but I enjoyed it.

Let’s talk about the drawbacks. It came with two chilis, but the recipe for two people called for only a half chili. By my counting, that means that there was enough chili for eight people? After our last experience with chili in a dinner box, we didn’t actually ever end up doing it.

HelloFresh was ok overall, but I wouldn’t buy it again. It comes with far too much plastic waste for my liking, and it sells itself as far more fancy than it actually is. It’s also more expensive (3 meals – $35.97) than Dinnerly (3 meals – $28.50) and Marley Spoon (2 meals – $15). We are not a fan!

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