This Angolan 24-Hour Ração de Alimentos or Food Ration was produced by Portuguese supplier Albisabores of Castelo Branco in 2023, writes Bob Morrison.
Founded in 2007, Albisabores is a company which produces a wide range of Western, Halal, Hindu and Vegetarian bagged and boxed ration packs for the home and overseas markets in addition to its core business of supplying foodstuffs and drinks to the Portuguese retail industry. I first met up with them at WDS 2022 in Saudi Arabia, where they had examples of two Portuguese Air Force ration packs on display and when our paths crossed next at IDEX 2023 in the United Arab Emirates they promised to send me samples from current production runs.
The contents of this Angolan boxed Ração de Alimentos are not too dissimilar to the Angolan Ração Individual De Combate pack which I covered back in July 2019, but as the supplier of this ration carton is Portuguese (Albisabores) rather than Spanish (Ucalsa) it is still worthy of review. As, like many national specifiers, the Angolan Ministério do Interior only makes minor tweaks to its rations requirements when going out to tender for new stocks it is unsurprising that there are few real differences between the pack produced in 2018 and that produced in 2023 ~ but if it ain’t broke… don’t fix it!
Measuring approximately 210 x 190 x 80mm and weighing 1921g, this loosely packed and minimalist in design carton was nicely packed and pretty much full. Its listed edible contents included: 2x Ready Meal, 415g cans; 2x Fruit Juice, 200ml cartons; 1x Canned Fish, 120g; 1x Pâté, 25g; 1x Fruit Jam, 20g; 1x Water Salt Crackers, 125g / 48pcs; 2x Soluble Coffee Powder; 2x Teabags; 2x Sugar; 2x Salt; and 2x Bubblegum. This example was Menu (Ementa) 2, and the canned main meals were Feijoada À Transmontana, which is a traditional Portuguese slow-cooked brown bean stew with pork belly plus blood sausage and chorizo, and Feijão com Chouriço, which is a white bean stew with pork belly chorizo. The Fruit Jam was Plum Marmalade and Pulped Tomato was provided as the Pâté. The Tuna was canned in olive oil.
The inedible contents listed were: 1x Safety Matches, boxed; 1x Heating Device, fold-to-use; 1x Pack of Paper Tissues, 3-ply x9; 1x Fuel Tablet, Esbit; 2x Water Purifying Tablets, Aquatabs; 1x Cutlery Kit – plastic knife, fork, spoon and serviette; 1x Information Note ~ instructions on one side and contents on the other; 1x Plastic Bag, for refuse; 1x Card Carton. No real surprises here, though the heating kit (stove) is minimalist and only a singe tablet was included even though there are two main meal cans. The cutlery was also pretty basic, though as many switched-on soldiers carry a personal KFS set or a pocket knife and spoon / spork this is probably just supplied as a back-up.
As someone who likes Iberian / Mediterranean foods I had no taste issues with anything included in this ration pack, though I must admit that I’m not a great lover of pork fat so I didn’t eat it all. I found the Feijão to be a little on the bland side, so after the initial taste test I added some ground black pepper, but I really enjoyed the subtle flavours of the Feijoada. Baked beans in tomato sauce are okay with a full English, but in my opinion you really can’t beat some of the traditional hearty bean stews originating from the Mediterranean countries.
For my next article in this series, subject to operational developments of course, I’ll turn my taste buds to a Portuguese Marines bagged ration pack; also supplied by Albisabores.
[images © Bob Morrison]