A tasty, quick and convenient chicken, rice and vegetable dish from Costco!
I generally try to make healthy meals for dinner most nights of the week. We often eat salads, and when we do have carbs, we try to stick to healthier options like sweet potatoes, whole-wheat pastas, etc. However, for those nights where I just want something quick, convenient and delicious, the Costco freezer section offers quite a few good options. This Yakitori Chicken with Japanese-Style Fried Rice from Ajinomoto mostly fits that description.
Location in Store
The freezer section with the other frozen meals.
I really enjoy Asian food, and the Costco Ajinomoto yakitori chicken sounded good and looked super easy to make, so that was enough to sell me on giving it a try. Overall, it tasted pretty good! As you might expect, it basically tastes like a typical chicken fried rice dish. The chicken was slightly on the rubbery side, but not enough to really bother me. It’s definitely well-seasoned.
Let’s talk a bit more about the vegetables. To put it simply, I wish there were more! The variety of vegetables included is good – you get carrots, corn, peas, edamame, red pepper and onion, to name some of them, but the volume is lacking. This is something you could fix by adding extra vegetables yourself, but that really hurts the convenience factor.
Even though the yakitori chicken is the star in the title, the fried rice dominates; there’s more rice than chicken or vegetables. I found that a bit disappointing as this definitely seems like more of a side dish than an entree. That’s fine, but the box doesn’t necessarily make this super clear; the photo makes it look a bit heavier on chicken and vegetables than is actually the case.
In my opinion, the price of the Ajinomoto Yakitori Chicken with Japanese-Style Fried Rice is a little on the expensive side. I paid $15.99 Canadian (regular price). You get six 255 gram bags in the box. That works out to about $2.67 per bag. One serving was enough for me, but my husband probably could easily eat two bags for dinner. We also had some other food along with it. I could definitely see some families of four going through a whole box in a single meal, and they’d probably want to serve something else with it (maybe extra vegetables or protein!).
This fried rice and yakitori chicken definitely scores high marks in the convenience department. All you have to do is take one of the plastic bags of rice, chicken and vegetables out of the box directly from the freezer, tear a corner off, microwave the bag (with the seam side up) for three minutes on high, cut open the bag (carefully, as it will be hot!) and pour it onto a plate.
There is one more optional step for the keeners out there. If you want your Yakitori Chicken with Japanese-Style Fried Rice to look like mine does in the photos (kind of like a rice sandcastle), you can follow the presentation instructions. Instead of putting the cooked fried rice directly onto a plate, you pour it into a bowl, pack it down, put a plate over top, flip the whole thing over and lift the bowl off. I do think it looks cooler this way!
One thing that immediately annoyed me was the fact that the nutrition information is given for 206 grams of the fried rice, chicken and vegetables when the bags contain 255 grams. Why do companies do this?! Who is going to carefully measure out 80.78% of one of these bags? Anyway, I calculated the calories, macronutrients and sodium content for a full 255-gram bag and here’s what I got: 446 calories, 10 grams of fat, 69 grams of carbohydrates, 19 grams of protein and 904 milligrams of sodium. When I look at the calories, fat and sugar, it actually doesn’t look that bad. What’s not good is the amount of sodium, though a lot of frozen meals are high in sodium.
The ingredients list is pretty much what you’d expect for a relatively unhealthy frozen meal like this. There are the ingredients that are obvious and self-explanatory (such as rice, chicken, salt, vegetables, etc.), and the ones that you can barely pronounce but sound like they might be out of a chemistry textbook. This meal doesn’t fall into the high-in-calories-but-full-of-nutritious-ingredients category. It’s worth noting that it contains soy and wheat, so that might keep some people away.
Must buy! (as a side dish)
I enjoyed the taste of the Yakitori Chicken with Japanese-Style Fried Rice, but I found it slightly expensive and wish it had more vegetables and meat and less rice. I would buy it again, but I would plan to use it as a side dish or as part of an a la carte type dinner with some of the other great Asian-style dishes from the freezer section at Costco. Another good Ajinomoto one that you might want to check out is the Vegetable Yakisoba!
What’s your favorite frozen meal at Costco?
Please note that this review was not paid for or sponsored by any third party. This product was purchased by Costcuisine for the purpose of producing this review. The opinions in this review are strictly those of Costcuisine. Costcuisine is not affiliated with Costco or any of its suppliers. In the event that Costcuisine receives compensation for a post from the manufacturer of a product or some other third party, the arrangement will be clearly disclosed (including where the manufacturer of a product provides Costcuisine with a free sample of the product).