Every now and then, one stumbles upon a corner of YouTube that is entirely unexpected. Such is the case with these extensive combat ration unboxing videos, in which a narrator opens and explores the contents of assorted ready-to-eat military food boxes from around the world. 

These very thorough videos, which are each about 20 minutes long, are certainly a commitment to watch. But there’s something soothing about their slow pace and careful attention to detail that makes them appealing. 

Not only does the narrator go through each item in the combat rations, he tastes them as well. (This often has the byproduct of making the viewer very hungry). Some of the MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) boxes, such as the Swedish Army combat ration unboxing in the video above, contain an extensive amount of snacks and paraphernalia, such as gum and peanut butter, while others, like the Japanese one below, are fairly simple. 

We went down the MRE YouTube rabbit hole, so you don’t have to. Here are some of our favorite unboxings.

The Japanese Army combat ration is sparser than the others featured, but looks delicious nonetheless. The ration packs often have heating mechanisms to allow soldiers to heat up or cook their food before eating. Around the 6:30 mark, you’ll see the narrator fill up the pack with boiling water, after which the pack swells up and steams like a kettle. 

The two packs of rice come with a sautéed pork dish with ginger, and plenty of packets of dry “Furikake” seasoning to flavor the rice. Watch to the end of the video to watch the narrator’s adorable daughter try out the Japanese ration for herself. 

The food in the Singapore Army combat ration wouldn’t be out of place on a restaurant menu. The meals, which are halal, consist of Mongolian fried noodles, chicken masala rice, and a dessert made of peanuts and lotus root. Each ration pack is intended to provide a soldier enough food for one day, and though the meals don’t look like much, it would probably be amazing to have fried rice and hot noodles in the field. 

The Norwegian combat ration contains a very Norwegian dish: Chicken Tikka Masala. 

Every day we track down a Video Wonder: an audiovisual offering that delights, inspires, and entertains. Have you encountered a video we should feature? Email ella@atlasobscura.com.

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