No battle was ever won on an empty stomach. According to historians, one Roman legion had to consume 120 sheep a day for their meat ration, crusaders would recharge on dry meat and grain, while Napoleon’s soldiers spent most of their time desperately hungry.
But fast forward to the modern day and we see a whole different story. Neatly packaged and super-compact, military food rations are an easy way to provide that much-needed nutrition. But it turns out, every country has its own take on front-line dining. Thanks to one Youtuber named David Hong, who tried a variety of MREs from different countries, we now know what exactly army troops’ taste buds can expect when they open one. And surprisingly, some look better than my dinner ever has.
Apple sauce; Pea stew; Meatball; Bacon in fat; Crackers; Rice with peas and meat; Cheese spread; Carrot and potato substance
Muesli oats with milk; Sports drink, coffee and tea; Candy; Cranberry cereal bar; Fruit cake; Vegetarian pasta; Oatmeal cookie and hazelnut spread; Tomato pasta salad; Salted nuts
Breakfast: Biscuits; Chocolate; Jelly; Spoon; Coffee; Sugar; Salt. Lunch: Tortellini; Beef; Fruit salad; Biscuits; Coffee. Supper: Crackers; An entry bar; Tuna; Soup
Bored Panda reached out to David Hong, a Youtuber behind the series of videos that revealed what’s inside these military food rations. It turns out, David is also an artist in the furry fandom and Warhammer Horus Heresy project, which recently became his main focus.
The thirty-year-old Youtuber started out back in 2011 and his channel was mainly about blogging and gaming. ”I never have thought it would be an MRE Review Channel since I first opened a US MRE ration that I bought from an expat living in my country,” he recounted.
Terrine forestiere; Crackers; Chocolate, nougat and candy; Muesli, oats and fruits; Instant tomato soup; Braised ham; Crozets et diots
Hazelnut pudding; Rindfleischlyoner grob; Pea stew with mettwurstchen; Hackfleischrollchen with rice; Muesli, oats milk and fruits; Roggenschrotbrot; Cranberry cereal bar; Roggenschrotbrot; Dark chocolate; Crackers
Hot chocolate; Orange drink; Coffee; Coffee creamer; Banana flavoured oatmeal cereal; Bread; Sliced apples; Baked beans; Ketchup; Peanut butter; Strawberry jam
But it turns out, David isn’t connected to any military himself. “This question comes up due to the fact that MREs can only be had if provided by the army, or bought from a commissary in a base.” He explained that this isn’t the case anymore because military rations are now available publicly.
It’s hard to say which food ration was David’s fave since “every ration is unique to the taste and culture of their corresponding nation.” Having said that, he loved “the Russian IRP because it offers the most protein of all the MREs I had. The pork fat or sowbelly is probably the oddest choice in it; it tastes like bacon when you mix it with the rice included.”
Other nice treats included meatballs that “feel and taste realer than manufactured ones that are soggy and bland” and crackers that “are great to snack on, dunking it in the sauces of the entrees is heavenly.”
Biscuits with pepper; Salt crackers; Chocolate; Pineapple; Papaya; Turkey pate; Liver spread; Sardines Beans; Coffee taffy's; Orange drink; Tea; Beef soup
Marble pound cake; Skittles; Grape flavor energy drink; Crackers; Chili; Macaroni
Tea; Coffee; Chicken casserole; Hardtack; Hard candies; Stick of gum; Honey; Condensed milk ; Pepper; Salt; Raisins
Moreover, David believes that “the entrees in the Russia IRP are the best seasoned,” which means you don’t need to add salt or pepper. “The mini stove is also very cute when warming the entrees within their containers, as a civilian, I feel like camping when using it,” he added.
The Youtuber, who is originally from the Philippines, also told us about the time he tried living on “twenty-four colon-blocking [army ration] flavors to choose from.” It may sound fun, but in reality, “It is quite a fattening and a constipating endeavor as a civilian with moderate exercise, the amount of calories in each pack is designed for soldiers.”
Drink; Chicken soup; Hazelnuts; Crackers; Chocolate; Chicken and rice
Biscuits; Tea bag; Jam; Pate; Squash; Rice; Corned beef with soup
Breakfast: Iced tea; Biscuits; Rice with beef; Wipes.
Lunch: Spoon and tissue paper; Pate; Pork; Drink; Sugar.
Not only can the MREs truly be fattening since they’re packed with calories, they can also get dull easily. “Once you already cycled through the menus as they can have the same desserts or spreads in consecutive packs.”
All in all, David wouldn’t recommend relying on MREs as a quick meal even for an athlete because “they can really throw off your diet and bowels.”
Tuna; Mix fruits; Beef and peas; Instant vege soup; Pate