Field Rations:1 Man x 24 Hours
In Singapore, all male citizens and second-generation permanent residents of Singapore must go through compulsory National Service in the army. During this two-year period of service, they would have to go through outfield training where they have to stay out on the battlefield for a few days.
During the training, Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will provide them with ration field packs, containing their meals, snacks and beverages. When my brothers were enlisted in the army, they would bring home such meal packs and I would give them a try. It was, of course, not very appetizing. Many years later, I had the opportunity to try them again – all thanks to Sam’s friend. And it looks like things have not changed much.
It just so happened that SAF recently released a video showing thumbs-up from US soldiers after trying SAF field rations. Is that really how all army rations taste like? Or perhaps US ration packs are worst? Watch the video below.
Prior to this, I actually did some research on other countries’ army ration packs. I was actually quite impressed with Australia’s PR1M (patrol ration 1 man) field packs as it contains several healthy snack options – unlike the ones I see in here.
The Accessory Pack
I decided to do a taste test of our SAF Army ration field packs and imagined what it would be like having this food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We laid out all the food and snacks on a metal meal tray shown below.
Accompanying the field rations is the accessory pack which contains assorted fruit bars, biscuits, drink sachets, isotonic drink mix, candies, tissue paper and hexamine fuel with matches. Instant noodle packets were distributed to them separately.
According to Sam, the soldiers would not have time to prepare hot meals or hot water so they would actually crush the instant noodles and eat it dry like ‘MAMEE’ monster snack. For drink mixes, they would mix the powder and water right in their mouth.
I mean, if you are seriously out there fighting on the battlefield, you wouldn’t have the luxury of time to prepare yourself a warm proper meal.
As for the tissue paper, it is for them to clean themselves up after doing their big business. And hexamine fuel is for them to start a fuel to heat up their rations.
At the start of the day, they would usually consume breakfast fruit bars or biscuits with some hot beverages like coffee, tea or cereal milk.
Lunch and Dinner
According to the instructional guide provided in the army ration pack, the rations provides an approximately 3350 Kcal per day. The meals can also be consumed directly without heating them up.
There’s usually 2 entrees and 1 dessert pack in each field ration. There’s two menus to choose from – spicy or non-spicy. We tried three ration packs of different menus and interestingly, we found that there’s one ration menu we find it quite pleasant. It is Menu 6 which contains Tomato Masak Pasta(Chicken) and Chicken Dumpling. The rest of the menus were unpalatable. Desserts did not taste like it was edible at all. Not delicious is one thing. The fact that most of the food tasted very salty and unhealthy is another.
Watch the video above to find out more!
At the end of the day, it is really puzzling to discover that with today’s technology and improved quality standards, the rations prepared for the army is still horrible tasting and unhealthy. At the very least, we should be providing our army with some nutritious food items as they are sacrificing their time and effort to protect the country.