Spanish Ration Review – Lunch A5

Spanish Ration – Lunch Menu A 5

By: SpikNik
Date: November 26, 2007

The Spanish combat ration is supplied in a small box, 7″ x 4½” x 2¾”. This is wrapped in dark green plastic and stamped with menu info and a corner band in Spanish flag colours. It is a single meal, equivalent to an MRE.

The first observation, and it’s not a good start, is that the items in the box are loose. There is definite rattling when the box is shaken, even lightly. After opening it is clear from the way it is packaged that this wouldn’t damage the contents, it’s just the opener and the tins knocking together, but such noise, although muffled, is clearly not an ideal situation.

Spanish Lunch A 5

Spanish Lunch Ration A5 The contents consist of 2 tins of food, 2 mini tubs of pear jelly/paste, a sachet of chicken soup, tabs for water purification, vitamin C, extra hydration and glucose energy. A small disposable fuel heater with 3 fuel tabs, a tin opener, 10 sheets of tissue paper, a book of matches and an instruction leaflet.A side note is that although the outer pack has a specific “best before…” date, the individual items also each have their own dates. None are less than the outer pack date, but some are notably more. For example the outer pack is listed as Nov 2007, but the 2 tins are best before FEB 2009.

The first tin is of “Enslada campera de bonito”, Country Tuna Salad, 195g. This would be best eaten cold but can be heated in the tin. The quality is very good, nice pieces of firm tuna, good vegetables, and not too oily.

Country Tuna Salad
Spanish Ration A5 country salad tuna can Spanish Ration A5 country salad tuna

The second tin is “Magro de cerdo cocinado”. Cooked chunks of pork, 200g. Although this has only one ingredient, pork, the quality is very good, firm and tasty chunks of good quality pork, no gristle at all, and a light sauce. Very nice.

Cooked Pork in Sauce
Spanish Ration A5 cooked pork can Spanish Ration A5 cooked pork in sauce

Also included is a sachet of chicken soup. This is meant to make just 200ml of soup, and is just a simple plain taste, so considering you would have to heat water just for this, unless you’re very hungry I can imagine this rarely being used.

Soup packet
Spanish Ration A5 soup packet

Finally there are 2 very small tubs of pear paste, 25g each. This tastes fine, but there is barely a hint of pear, by far the overwhelming taste is sugar as it is very sweet. There are no supplied crackers or similar, so this is just eaten direct from the tub as a candy/dessert item.

Pear jelly/paste
Spanish Ration A5 Pear Jelly/Paste
Spanish Ration A5 Pear Jelly/Paste

That is unfortunately where the food ends, but more about that later in the summary.

Heater – The disposable heater is small and convenient and supplied with 3 fuel tabs. The tins can be placed directly on it and heated, having first either opened the tin or put 2 holes in the top.

Heater and can opener
Spanish Ration A5 Heater Spanish Ration A5 can opener

Various tablets

Apart from the heater tabs there are 4 other types of tablets included. There is a 1g tablet of vitamin C to be eaten whole rather than diluted; 2 glucose energy tabs, also for eating; 2 hydration tabs meant to replace lost salt (drink with plenty of water); and 2 water purification tablets, each tab treating 1 litre of water, ready to drink after 30 minutes.

Fuel and tabs
Spanish Ration A5 various fuel tablets  Tablets

An important observation about all of the tablets is that they are worryingly similar, notably the fuel and glucose tabs, and the water purification and hydration tabs. Also, although in the picture the writing seems clear, this is only due to the use of a flash. In normal light, and certainly in low light, it is almost impossible to read the text on any of the tabs without close and careful examination.

Enclosed leaflet/menu sheet

Front Middle Back
Spanish Ration A5 front of menu sheet/leaflet Spanish Ration A5 middle of menu sheet/leaflet Spanish Ration A5 back of menu sheet/leaflet


Unfortunately there are a lot more cons than pros, see below.

The good…..

The outer packaging is compact and in a box, making stacking or storing multiple loose items easy and convenient. The 2 tins of food are very good quality, firm and tasty. The hydration  and glucose tabs are a useful addition. Specific dates listed on every item.

The bad…..

The box opens from the largest face upwards, meaning once opened it needs to be left out or everything removed and put in a pocket. Although there is a reasonable amount of food, there is not really enough, especially considering the contents of the breakfast pack (see other review-LINK), also there are no snack items unless you count the 2 mini tubs of pear (sugar) paste. There is no calorie or nutritional info on any of the food items, although ingredients are included. No cold drink mix or tea/coffee.

And the just plain ugly…..

The tabs are very hard to read and the box rattles.

Final comments

If the Spanish military took 3 of these packs, breakfast, lunch and dinner, put them all in a larger box, packed it properly, and added a couple of snacks like biscuits or chocolate, that would then make a very good 24 hour pack that would rival the British, French, or German equivalents, especially on food quality. However, as it is, a stand-alone single meal, it falls significantly short of an MRE.