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Hurray HECO! Shrimp Wonton Soup

Now that was a day-after-Christmas “episode” that took what I said in the last entry “basking in the moment” to a whole nother level. Almost literally, time stood still.
You’re probably already well aware of the island-wide power outage Oahu experienced from approximately 6:45pm yesterday (Friday) evening, until, at least for my section of the Honolulu grid, 7am this morning (Saturday). A solid 12 hours.

While not quite as long as our last major outage that occured after the 2006 earthquake, it was enough to test our patience, as well as our emergency supply kit, having us break out every candle, flashlight and bottled water we had. We even lent some of those supplies to a neighbor who wasn’t quite as prepared. Like most other folks, eventually we just called it a night and went to bed early, vs. what we normally like to do on a Friday night, which is to stay up late and watch new release Blu-Ray movies.

So what does this Shrimp Wonton Soup have to do with a power outage? Well, in pointing out the obvious, three essentials are needed in order to properly store and serve this soup as packaged: 1.) a refrigerator/freezer 2.) water, and 3.) a microwave oven. All of the above requiring basic utilities.

You know the saying “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. That saying can be applied to health, relationships, and, yes, POWER. As in electrical power, then having a trickle-down effect from there. Especially when you’re a condo-dweller like me, where every necessary household function is reliant on that, from the elevators to get you up to your floor (try walking up and down 24 or more flights of stairs twice consecutively), the lights and appliances (of course), to the water supply. High rises depend on electric-driven pumps to get water to the upper floors, and when that’s not operating, once the pressure is gone, pau, no H2O. All you got is what’s in the plastic bottles.

And without any or all of the above, this Shrimp Wonton Soup is a no-go.

So now you’re probably thinking, “why didn’t you just boil water on a portable stove to serve that?” Believe me, I wish I could have done that, but I DIDN’T HAVE ONE! And this latest power outage reminded me of that very essential survival item that as of yet is the missing link in our emergency preparedness supply kit. Therefore today I’m heading straight to Don Quijote after this writing and picking one of them butane-fueled stoves up. They’re currently on sale there for $13.99 plus $1.17 each for the butane cartridges. That’s a good price.

Secondly, this being a frozen food item, wouldn’t be a good choice, as you must open the freezer door to get, causing unnecessary loss of valuable cold air needed to keep your other frozen foods in tact. Better stick with canned soup from the pantry in this situation.

That said, in all its glory, now that electrical power has been restored thanks to all the hard-working HECO crews out there, I’m celebrating it by enjoying a good ‘ole frozen, open the freezer door whenever needed, ready-to-serve meal, cooked quick and conveniently using fresh, clean TAP water and the microwave oven. YES! Just one of the many conveniences and modern luxuries we take for granted day-after-day, never really appreciating what it takes behind the scenes to keep them running.

Now let’s take a closer look at this microwavable CP brand Shrimp Wonton Soup. The box shown above contains 6 individual shrinkwrapped bowls like this…

Each bowl measures 4¾” diameter x 2¾” height from lid to base. They’re not barcoded for individual sale, and the instructions say to keep them frozen, so I’m not sure if they could be sold even in a refrigerated vending machine, lest the shrimp spoil quickly once it’s defrosted.

Let’s open the cover and see what we got…

It’s still frozen here, so of course isn’t going to look very pretty. If you look carefully at the bottom of the black plastic bowl, you can see there’s an oily broth base, along with chopped green onions. You simply add water up to the line marked in the bowl, which is about halfway up the height of it (not to the top rim).

Then it says to cover it loosely and microwave on high for 2½-3 minutes. Then enjoy…

For the love of me, I tried my best to “arrange” this to look as good as it does on the label, but it just wouldn’t behave. The shrimp wontons seemed to have a mind of their own, tossing and turning under their own will. lol

Here’s a pretty good angle…

…the angle going into my mouth as I’m about to eat it!

And how is it? Not bad. The broth is rather mild, nondescript and neutral; not bold like, say, shoyu or chashu ramen broth (OK, I’m biased!). It tastes like wonton soup is supposed to taste, I suppose. I’m not a Chinese soup expert anyway, so I can’t assimilate which one it tastes like. But I CAN say, after the first few sips, I immediately added a dash of shoyu to give it a little more zip, which certainly helped.

The wonton is simply an entire Vannamei shrimp tail wrapped in a wonton. It says there’s also soya, gluten, sesame and egg, which I’m guessing are more functional than for flavor.The wonton wrapper itself was a bit too thin. It could have been thicker to hold up to the tougher flesh of the shrimp. If it had been thicker, that may have sealed the deal.

Here you can see the quite sizable Vannamei Shrimp encased within the thin and delicate wonton wrapper…

Next time I’ll make Wonton Min (Saimin with wontons in it) using the the stuff inside this bowl. I’m betting that’s gonna’ be ono!

Whether it’s frozen Shrimp Wonton Soup, TV Dinner or any other culinary convenience that makes our life easier and tastier, let’s show an appreciation of thanks to the hard-working folks at HECO and celebrate the use once again to the technologically-marvelous, so-glad-we-have-it, electrically-powered, never-take-for-granted REFRIGERATOR and MICROWAVE OVEN!

What? Shrimp Wonton Soup
Who makes it? CP Products (Charoen Pokphand Foods & Public Co., Ltd., Thailand)
Where did you buy it? Costco Hawaii Kai
How much did it cost? 12.99 for a frozen carton of six 5.1 oz. bowls
How is it prepared to serve? 5.1 oz. of food and 8 oz. of Board of Water Supply Water, heated by 700 microwave watts of HECO power
Big shaka to: Just-add-water microwavable convenience, generous amount of shrimp, inclusion of chopped green onions, HECO restoring our power
No shaka to: Not having a portable butane stove, wonton wrappers too thin, rather non-exciting broth, elongated power outage (delay in watching Invincible and House Bunny on Blu-Ray)

11 thoughts on “Hurray HECO! Shrimp Wonton Soup

  • December 28, 2008 at 3:14 am
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    I didn’t realize how small the bowl was until I saw the picture with the spoon in it. All the pictures prior to that one made the bowl look like it was the size of a Cool Whip container. HA!

    I think I need to get my eyes checked…again.

    All I ate for dinner last night during the power outage was peanut butter on bread.

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  • December 28, 2008 at 4:21 am
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    Yum that soup looks good! My dinner last night was a can of tuna and some tomatoes. I need to get one of those portable butane stoves too.

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  • December 28, 2008 at 4:23 am
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    Pretty neat, but it would take at least two bowls to satisfy my belly. Worth checking out next time I’m home.

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  • December 28, 2008 at 5:07 am
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    Wow, that’s a sparkly clean microwave oven you have there, Pomai! (I don’t know if you want to go into Marvo’s archives to see his biohazard level dirty microwave oven with accompanying booty-shaking dance.) That wonton soup seems really tiny for the price. You might check out the “Instant Sansai Udon” (also available at Costco) which has thin udon noodles topped with fiddlehead ferns and a thin slice of kamaboko. Pretty tasty and not excessively salty.

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  • December 28, 2008 at 6:24 am
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    Man, what would we do without basic utilities? Walking up and down 24 stories must have been a huge pain in the arse. And what if you’ve got knee/hip problems? You’ll never make it.

    Those portable butane stoves are really good for small pots of water but it won’t do for big soup pots. Good thing the power came back on relatively quickly.

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  • December 28, 2008 at 8:21 am
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    They sell those at my nearby Costco, too, and I’ve been wondering whether to get them or not. Now that you’ve shown us the photos I think I’ll pick some up soon. I hadn’t even thought of adding noodles to make my own won ton min at home.

    Wish I had picked this up two weeks ago before we got snowed in here. However, I’m happy to report that my power stayed on.

    Happy New Year, Pomai!

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  • December 28, 2008 at 6:15 pm
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    My friends on mainland in research of solar and wind power will soon install all over wind and solor chargers. Hawaii will also use more of solar and wind power so this blackout will be just a memory. My cousin use own Mee Linn Restaurant on School St. told me when power out did best business ever in chow mein, wonton soup and other cooked food order.

    They use gas burners and even had portable gas burners as backup. BurgerKing done well gas flamebroil burgers Macdonald no they use elec. grills. Many years ago on westcoast blackout that last one day and half and people thought they were under attack. No atms worked gas pumps stores registers all cash only sale which people did not carry much cash were stuck no food or gas.

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  • December 29, 2008 at 5:32 pm
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    Sorry about your power outage! Seems in our neck of the woods, if someone sneezes in the wrong direction the power goes out!

    Our longest was three days, and after that third day you appreciate your appliances!

    I LOVE that wonton soup – I have to look for it again. Thanks for the reminder! And nice price on the portable stove!

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  • December 30, 2008 at 7:15 am
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    Yup. After the earthquake when we had NO COFFEE for an entire day, we made sure we had a little camp stove (a single burner on top of a canister) in our emergency kit. And, like the day of the earthquake, we lucked out in that we had leftovers that were already cooked and we could eat without reheating. The other addition to our kit since the earthquake was to make sure we had a phone that actually plugged into the wall — our cordlesses were useless!

    Anyway, glad you were able to have your soup. Glad we’re ALL able to have our soup again. Nothing like a lengthy blackout to make you appreciate everyday conveniences, eh?

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  • December 30, 2008 at 8:23 pm
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    I really like this soup also. Thanks for mentioning the source. I bought it once and kept on going back to the store (Sams) so many times and they never had it. Well, now that you mention it, I probably did get it at Costco but kept on insisting I got it at Sams. Duh. Gonna go get some now. ;)

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  • December 31, 2008 at 8:10 am
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    Save your money, it ain’t all the great. One of the few things Costco has that isn’t work the money.

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