Looking at 7-Eleven’s Chili Bean Bento, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the ingredient ratio makes it appear Chili Island is floating on the White Rice Ocean. This looks unappealing because I’m so used to seeing the opposite with Zippy’s takeout offering — an island of rice in a lake of chili.
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On its label, the newest bento from 7-Eleven says it’s chili sauce with ground beef and beans topped with shredded cheddar jack cheese. But that short description is being a little modest. Scan through the ingredients list and you’ll learn there’s also diced Portuguese sausage, bell peppers, mayonnaise (which is rumored to be in Zippy’s recipe), and, of course, lots of rice.
The amount of the white stuff bothered me so much that I decided to figure out how much we’re talking about here. Although the label says 11.7 ounces, I weighed the bento with the container (minus the lid) and it ended up being 13.7 ounces. I scooped away as much of the stew as I could and reweighed it. That brought it down to 9.1 ounces. The container itself is 0.5 ounces. So there’s around 8.6 ounces of rice and around 4.6 ounces of chili.
The amount of rice ends up being an issue. Even after mixing everything well, it tastes as if there’s a little too much of it.
But enough about the carbs, what about the chili itself.
It’s meaty, heavy on the tomato flavor, a little sweet, and there’s no heat. Much like Zippy’s offering, it’s an inoffensive chili that’ll appeal to most taste buds. It’s not quite as complex as Zippy’s, but what helps 7-Eleven’s version is the shredded cheese. Although it gets melted to oblivion, it leaves behind a cheesy and salty tang. Actually, the spoonfuls that had a bit of cheesiness were the ones I noticed the rice less.
7-Eleven’s Chili Bean Bento is filling, thanks to all that rice, and tasty. But at $3.99, which is on the lower end of the price scale for 7-Eleven bentos, it seems a little steep for a product that’s mostly rice.