I’ll start this with unabated honesty: I get asked to review foods on a somewhat regular basis. Almost always I'm told the samples will be a redefinition of the wheel or better then sliced bread and it always accumulates in my inbox. So being the adventurous introvert I am, I cordially accept. Samples soon arrive, and my anticipation of perfunctory satisfaction is almost met with a gigantic “let down”. However, something felt different when Saffron Road approached me to review their products. Maybe it was the certified Halal branding or the gochujang sauce mentioned in the ingredient list, but I knew that upon arrival, these samples wouldn’t last long nor would I be disappointed. Firstly I think it imperative to mention that I do not work for, nor do I have a direct affiliation with Saffron Road. Secondly, I had honestly never heard of Saffron Road before first contact. With that, this review is truly unbiased, done strictly by a genuine foodie, yearning for a difference in the gastronomic world.
Now that’s out of the way, I want you to think about a typical, rushed weekday lunch. Does it consist of frostbitten additives, congealed unknowns and sodium laden goop? Same here. However the frozen entrees from Saffron Road have broken the proverbial mold of what your quick lunch or dinner can be. While the process is the same – poke holes in the top film, heat and eat – the contents under that film figuratively blew my mind, Halal style.
Initially, I was intimated by the entrees. Not because of a Halal certification or the gluten-free aspect, but because I legitimately had never heard of the cuisine I was about to eat. Gochujang chicken and bulgogi beef were the samples of the day and I genuinely thought these titles were grammatical errors. Regardless of the names that I still have no clue how to pronounce correctly, these entrees are entirely legit.
The gochujang chicken comes with, among other things, scallions, broccoli, red pepper and brown rice. The spice level is generous but not overpowering and the fresh crunch of all the vegetables was euphoric as I had never heard a genuine crunch from a frozen entrée after it had been heated. The chicken was – gasp – real chicken, not “parts” and tasted like – gasp – real chicken. The rice seemed a perfect accompaniment but not in a front-line battle with everything else.
So now the bulgogi beef and thank you to the creators of bulgogi beef. The entrée was generously overflowing with ingredients like yellow soybean sprouts, bok choy and mushrooms. Within every bite held a discernible vacation to Korea, basked in the opulence of culture. In layman's terms, the Saffron Road bulgogi beef is nonsensically delicious.
Let’s not kid ourselves - these are frozen entrees. However, and this is a gigantic however, these frozen entrees redefine, well, frozen entrees. I tasted the departure time, arrival time and early hotel check-in straight from Korea with every spoonful. Am I overplaying the frozen entrée? Maybe. But Saffron Road is reshaping the frozen entrée landscape, straight from Korea. So, what's for lunch?