Last week, we ordered from yet another grocery prep startup (third time’s the charm!) to see if team Vulcan Post can redeem ourselves in the cooking department.
Spoilers: eh… kinda?
This time around, we sought our cooking redemption with GoGoCook, founded in 2015 who promised delicious, pre-measured and healthy meals delivered with step-by-step instructions for even the most ardent of noobs.
Their stated aim may not be so different from other cooking startups that we’ve previously reviewed like Urban Stove or Fooddit, but as they say, the devil is in the details. And in this case, the details would be how delicious and beginner-friendly these eats are.
To bring GoGoCook’s recipes to life, the 8 of us squeezed into our Editor’s kitchen to split 5 GoGoCook recipes between us as our team bonding activity of the month.
And I cannot express how much was on the line. Our health, for one thing. Our tastebuds, for another, as ardent foodies. Being the Asians that we are, our mamas raised us right. We weren’t going to waste any morsel even if it comes out bad, and vowed to eat all of it.
GoGoCook’s food came to us in a large box, and managed to come to our doorstep with minimal hiccups even though we had a last minute switch of delivery location the day before, so that’s a star for them.
The dry ingredients were neatly packed in labelled paper bags by recipe, which included portioned out ingredients like two cloves of garlic, or a small bag of soy sauce (also labelled, in case kitchen noobs can’t tell the difference between black pepper, white pepper and sesame oil).
The more perishable of ingredients (like chicken, duck or soft veggies) came to us, in a thermal bag that one of the other writers happily brought home (looking at you, Gary).
When the clock struck 6pm, we began our cooking adventure.
The recipes are definitely beginner-friendly. Even a team of two extreme noobs managed to produce a dish that tasted good, thanks to the pre-measured seasonings. And all of this was achieved with no food-poisoning, while still managing to stay edible, and dare I say… delicious?
The recipe cards also had photos of each individual ingredient, which was a great help for some who probably had difficulties distinguishing between spring onions and celery.
It did take us longer than the appointed time though (30 mins to 45 mins based on recipe), seeing as we started eating at approximately 7:30pm. That being said, we had limited utensils, kitchenware, counter, oven and stove top space to work, so there were times we were waiting without doing anything. Also, some of us took a little longer to cut and slice up the meat and vegetables too.
So if your knife skills are on point, it would probably take you less time.
That being said, there were some aspects that we feel could be improved on:
- The uncooked meat came to us frozen, and since we didn’t take them out of their ice packages, it was still solid by the time cooking time came. We actually put the whole cooler bag into the fridge because we thought to keep the vegetables in it fresh. A little notice to tell us to thaw the meat would have been nice, either on the recipe cards, or stickers on the box or bag.
- While we understand not providing salt, pepper, or cooking oil, we would argue that not all kitchens come equipped with olive oil that is suitable for cooking or raw consumption (for salad), which the salad recipe required. They should’ve included packets of that along with the rest of the well-measured sauces and syrups.
- The preparation times should also include time it takes to cool everything, especially for desserts like the panna cotta, that takes 4 more hours to chill on top of the 30 minute cooking time. While panna cotta is notorious for deceptively easy to make yet difficult to perfect, beginner-cooks might not know this and it would mess up their timing.
Time to break it all down by recipe.
Duck Confit And Summer Salad
Despite the presentation (we kept the salad and the dressing separate as this was the first dish we completed and we didn’t want it to become soggy), this dish more or less came out like how it was supposed to.
The duck was already marinated, and the salad was just an issue of assembling together miscellaneous fruits and vegetables into a bowl.
We found the duck to be a tad salty for our tastes and tough, especially since it was supposed to be eaten without any carbs. There was also way too much corn by the time we were done with the salad.
Parcel Wrapper Seafood Spaghetti Napolitana
The 40–45 minute cooking time apparently includes a dip into the oven, which confused us. By the time we were finished stirring our (slightly over al dente, shhh) pasta into the sauce, everything looked and tasted perfectly cooked to us. Also, we had no parchment paper, so we had to skip that step.
Maybe we did something wrong here, but the pasta did taste perfectly fine without needing to sit in the oven for another half-hour.
We thought the oven-time would make more sense if the recipe called for some cheese, but it didn’t. We also found it a a little under-seasoned, but we ran out of salt (and dropped the bag of herbs on our kitchen floor), so that is more on us.
Thanks to the tomato, it’s a little sour on our tongues. This was one of the least popular dishes for the team, though we don’t know. Would the baking have changed smething?
Korean Fried Chicken
This particular dish impressed us the most, because it was made by two extreme kitchen beginners from scratch, and it all came out delicious. My first bite was just to humour the pair, but I found myself reaching for more because I genuinely liked the taste.
The pair were even using blunt knives to cut into the chunks of chicken, which is doubly impressive. Definitely recommended, both for taste and for cooking virgins.
Korean Japchae (Fried Glass Noodles)
The Japchae came out great, if you ignore how it looks.
It does take a bit of manpower to julienne all of the vegetables, so be warned. And the recipe may include healthy amounts of brown sugar, but our Japchae-snob tongues and demanded another spoonful of white sugar for it to actually taste good.
And it did. Health-consciousness be damned.
This was our biggest failure. First of all, we were surprised upon reading the recipe card to discover that the 4-hour cooling time was not included in the cooking time up-front, and this messed up our dessert plans.
Secondly, we put large quantities of the mixture into two Chinese soup bowls rather than dessert glasses (like we said, we were short on crockery). This meant that even after a full night’s cooling, the mixture was still wet and runny in the center.
It was a shame, because the mix and the passion fruit sauce did in fact taste delicious. If only we didn’t have to scoop it up like soup.
This is why you get no picture. To hide our shame.
With a little bit more clarification on the instructions, the food would definitely have come out super bomb, which is in no small part also thanks to our superb cooking skills, of course.
With the panna cotta and the pasta as exceptions, not only was the taste at least decent, it can all be done in relatively speedy cooking times.
Some of us are even taking the recipe cards home, especially the Korean chicken and the Japchae so that we can replicate the recipes.
But would we fork out our own hard-earned cash for this?
I would say, depends on the recipe and price point. Personally I find that the pasta at almost RM50 is not worth the price of admission despite the pricey oysters and mollusks. On top of that, the Asian fare like the Korean Chicken and Japchae tasted better to us anyway.
For the two members on our team who’ve tried Foodit and Urban Stove, they agreed that GoGoCook’s packaging was better thought out, but both preferred the range of more “Western” recipes that the former had to offer.
The team agreed that though the experience was good, we couldn’t see ourselves regularly buying these, as most of us actually enjoy the process of grocery shopping (shocking, I know). Instead, we could see ourselves getting this for special occasions, like cooking together for a date or a celebration of some sort.