MUNCHMOBILE: Ninja Express

Written by Jake Welch on . Posted in Food

WEEK 6 — NINJA EXPRESS

In the latest ride of the Munchmobile, our fearless heroes of hunger decided to go oriental as they tried the grub of Ninja Express, located near the southeast corner of 820 North and 700 East. The Munchmobile first heard of Ninja express when one muncher received a flier on their door. They claimed to deliver their food in around five minutes, leaving the Munchmobile crew very intrigued. The munchers wondered if this claim of speedy delivery was legitimate and, if so, was it at the expense of quality? Red flags were further raised when the delivery boy explained that the restaurant was going to change the menu in the next two weeks. Hmmm…

The Munchmobile was hoping to find an alternative to the classic Chinese food favorite, Panda Express. The munchers knew they were taking a risk, because it is a well known fact there are few things better than good Chinese food; However, there is also nothing worse than bad Chinese food. What was the verdict? Let’s just say there was very little good, but a whole lot of bad and ugly.

Ben Wagner — Orange Chicken, Sesame Chicken
As a “fan” of Chinese food, I must say I was quite disappointed with Ninja Express. While the food did arrive as advertised (within an astounding 6 minutes), the food itself was subpar. The chicken lacked much flavor and the rice was probably cooked that morning and left out all day, thus giving it an extremely dry taste. The only thing that stood out was Ninja Express’ unique spin on an old favorite: white chocolate-covered fortune cookies. This was quite excellent and something I wish I could see at other Chinese joints. Overall though, an excellent cookie and blazing fast service didn’t make up for the low quality of food and, therefore, I’m forced to give it 2 out of 5 chopsticks.

Jamie Wood — Fried Tofu, Sweet and Sour Chicken
In a word: Weird. In nearly 22 years of existence, every serving of sweet and sour chicken has come and gone without a hitch. It’s chicken fried in tempura (or whatever fancy thing those darn foreigners call it) and some sweet pink sauce that gets a thin film over it if you leave it out for a few minutes. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less — and it never ever leaves me dissatisfied. What could possibly go wrong? Obviously a lot, in this case. The speed of delivery was ninja, but if you were to expect an army of stealthy killing machines to perform at any level above “sluggish” on a steady diet of this chicken, then you would be sorely out of luck. The sauce was tart, thick and weird, leaving me with a quasi “bitter beer face” after just a few pieces. My tofu was OK. Amen to the crusty sitting-out-all-day rice. This place would have a lot better chance at hitting it big in some other college town where half the campus population has the munchies and just wants anything to eat — now. 2.5 out of 5 weird-looking leftover microwaved gyozas.

Jake Welch — Teriyaki Beef, Sweet and Sour Pork
My mother (or maybe the movie Bambi) taught me that if I don’t have anything nice to say then I shouldn’t say anything at all. However, I feel it would be a great disservice to our readers if I didn’t speak the truth about this meal. I didn’t have very high expectations coming into the meal, because of my prior experience with cheap college town Chinese food. Needless to say, Ninja Express wowed me by going below and beyond my meager expectations. The teriyaki beef had the consistency of beef jerky, but not nearly the flavor. After a half hour of chewing, I was finally able to try the Sweet and Sour Pork, which didn’t fare any better.  I wasn’t sure if I was eating pork or some kind of mystery meat — and trust me when I say I know my mystery meats. This was about as bland and absurd as anything I have ever tasted. I give them props for trying. Our selection here in Provo is very limited and an effort is appreciated. Hopefully things will look up after the menu change. 1.5 out of 5 chocolate-covered fortune cookies.

The take-home message of this week’s Munchmobile is that Ninja Express will be able to deliver with speed, but not with quality. The combo meal was priced at $7.50, which includes two entrees, one side, a chocolate covered fortune cookie and a drink. Maybe our munchers will return in a few weeks to try the new menu but, as for what Ninja Express offers right now, it’s a no-go. 2 out of 5 grains of rice.

For suggestions on where you’d like to see the Munchmobile head next week, leave a comment below, send an e-mail to rhombusmag@gmail.com or send a message on Twitter to @rhombusmag.

Jake Welch, Ben Wagner and Jamie Wood are correspondents for Rhombus. They should learn that you can never trust a ninja — even with Chinese food.

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