I often look for new foods when at the grocery store. It’s fun to try new products, especially if you’re looking for healthy alternatives. Yesterday, I decided to try the Tai Pei Pepper Beef. It’s a dish that I was pleasantly surprised by in a few different ways.
UPDATE: So, the mushiness of the rice may not have been because of the product. After cooking the Sweet and Sour Chicken, which had perfect rice, I am wondering if I cooked this one too long. I will have to try it again and see.
What Is Tai Pei Pepper Beef?
I’ve been a fan of pepper beef since I tried it at Panda Express a couple of years ago. So far, it’s hard to find a microwavable brand that can do it justice. Tai Pei Pepper Beef is a product available in many grocery stores, Safeway in my case, and it’s essentially a frozen dinner.
It comes with rice, carrots, broccoli, peas, celery and beef. Unfortunately, this meal was a bit shy on the beef part. However, the meat looked more like beef than what you’d expect from a frozen dinner. You know what I mean; when the chicken looks and has the texture of Styrofoam filler.
This meal was more close to what it might look like if you prepared it at home. Because I am terrible when it comes to preparing rice, this dish was right on par for my house.
Why Should You Want Tai Pei Pepper Beef?
I am a fan of most Asian foods. In fact, my default answer is Chinese if someone asks what I want for dinner – even if I know we don’t have the money for it. The Tai Pei Pepper Beef is one of those that rests in the middle somewhere.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely better than most of the $1 frozen dinners I’ve had in the past. But it’s a far cry from something fresh or homemade. Still, you can’t argue with a $2.50 price tag for a 420 calorie meal that actually had some decent taste to it.
One thing I didn’t like about the Tai Pei Pepper Beef is the mushiness of the rice. It was quite soft after the 4.5 minutes it spends in the microwave. The texture wasn’t too soft to gross me out, but it wasn’t like fresh and properly cooked rice either.
Another point that upsets me about any brand is the size of the container. You think you’re getting this huge tub of pepper beef when it’s only perhaps three-quarters of the way full and mostly rice. Then again, this is common practice for most brands.
I do like how easy it is to prepare, though; simply remove the freshness seal around the top and pop it into the microwave, lid and all. This is pretty convenient for someone who doesn’t have a lot of time at lunch to prepare a decent meal.
One of the highlights to the Tai Pei Pepper Beef is the taste. Although you have to mix up the seasoning that is resting at the bottom after you microwave the container, it didn’t taste all that bad. In reality, it tasted like a lunch that was $2.50.
What Kind of Health Benefits Are In Tai Pei Pepper Beef?
I’m constantly looking for easy meals that have some health value behind them. So, let me share some of the values that are in the Tai Pei Pepper Beef.
This dish is loaded with vitamin A, C and iron – thanks to the various vegetables within. In fact, this is one of the most vitamin A-rich meals I’ve had from the microwave. So, I would have to say that as far as vitamins and minerals go, Tai Pei Pepper Beef is fairly good.
Obviously this dish is going to be rich in proteins, about 13g. Between the beef and the plant protein available, it’s a good meal for those who work out or need protein to stabilize moods.
There is a good amount of sodium in the Tai Pei Pepper Beef. However, it’s manageable as long as you pay attention to the rest of the day. Although you need sodium, too much of it can be bad, and this dish sits at 800mg for a single serving.
The components in this meal also promote a high level of carbohydrates…62 grams, far more than most of the foods I eat. A large portion of it is sugars. On the upside, it does have 4g of dietary fibers.
Will It Work to Help Lose Weight?
It’s difficult to judge whether the Tai Pei Pepper Beef will be a staple for me to continue losing weight. It’s high in vitamins and proteins, but it also reaches pretty far into carbs and calories. As this product is 420 calories total, it’s nearly 100 more than I usually have at lunch.
I can see this being a good product for those who are far more active than myself. After all, I work and play at my computer. This means I don’t get a lot of physical activity unless I take a break from something.
What’s the Bottom Line?
At the end of the day, I found Tai Pei Pepper Beef to be a pleasant change from the other foods I eat throughout the week. While I probably won’t buy them as often as foods I get from Trader Joe’s, I’ll definitely try the other styles available. In fact, I plan on having the Sweet and Sour chicken today for lunch.
As for the price, I am a bit on the fence. If the rice wasn’t so mushy, it would absolutely be worth $2.50. As it stands, though, I’ve had other Asian-style frozen dinners that were near perfect on the rice for the same price.
Because I don’t have a lot of money, this will probably be one of those guilty pleasures I’ll eat once in a while if I can afford the calorie count.
Where Can You Get It?
I found Tai Pei Pepper Beef at my local Safeway, so I am fairly confident it’s a common enough product to be available in other stores. In fact, and I just looked this up on the company’s website, it’s also available at Walmart and King Soopers.
Next payday, I’ll have to take a look at the nearby Walmart and see if other flavors are available.