Trader Joe’s “THAI WHEAT NOODLES”


NEW PRODUCT

I was so happy to see these packages of vacuum packed fresh noodles in Trader Joe’s NEW ITEMS area recently. I think sometime in the past Trader Joe’s sold some kind of fresh Asian noodle (rice noodles?) but none I can recall for a few years. Trader Joe’s “Thai Wheat Noodles” are a pretty typical Asian style noodle. Think Udon maybe? As far as these being “Thai” these are as much Chinese or Japanese as they are Thai. They do say Product of Thailand hence the name. These can be used for any kind of Asian dish. A 21 oz package is $2.99. They’re basically cooked and ready to use and come in 3 individual bags of about 1 portion each, ready to use in a recipe. Each bag has about 7 ounces of noodles. To me frankly that makes a skimpy portion of noodles for one and I wish these had just a bit more in a pack, say 8 ounces each for a more decent portion. I found one bag will make a portion for one for a finished noodle dish factoring in other added stuff. So I definitely suggest you “beef it up” with stuff: veggies, proteins, etc. For my dish (pictured below) I had a a few pieces of cooked chicken tenderloins in my fridge so I topped it with this chicken plus a lot of scallions and slivered cucumbers. I basically used the recipe they have on the box for “Sesame Scallion Noodles”. TIP: Right out of the package these noodles are really stuck together into an almost impenetrable noodle brick. To get them unstuck and loose I really had to work at them using chopsticks and tongs to get them loosened when I added the liquid sauce ingredients. It was not easy to get them loosened up. So I experimented the next time I made them with hot/boiling water first. You can use very hot or boiled water, rinsing them in a bowl / colander. I used my fingers/chopsticks/tongs to get them as unstuck as possible. Then rinsed them in cold water and drained them. That worked better to prep them before adding them to your dish so suggest you try this.

You can of course also use these noodles in any stir fried dish of your own choosing. Some other ideas for toppings would be some grilled pork (Cha Siu?), grilled shrimp, or even just a fried egg on top with some Gojujang. I would say these wheat noodles are basically the same as Japanese “Udon” – so you could use them in Japanese cooking, say you could make “YAKIUDON“. I did a kind of YAKI UDON with these and it worked. The recipe on the box for “SESAME SCALLION NOODLES” worked fairly well when I made it. Another tip: The recipe on the box is for just one package so double or triple the recipe if you are making more than one otherwise you will not have enough sauce. The recipe on the box is a basic recipe that you can modify as you wish. I added a heaping tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter to it, to make it more “Thai”. I also used a little Bomba to spice it up. These noodles are handy and not bad at about a buck a portion, even if they don’t match up to fresh noodles you would find at an Asian grocery. One more thing I just thought of, you could say add these to Trader Joe’s GINGER MISO soup and come up with a noodle version of that! I hope TJ’s keeps these around so check them out so they see they are selling!

I would buy these again.

VEGAN

My finished noodle dish with slivers of cucumber and scallions and topped with some slices of chicken. Very tasty!
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Trader Joe’s Liquid HAND SOAP (Bath & Kitchen)


TJ’s sells these bottles of liquid hand soaps in three different scents. This one is “Pink Pomelo Grapefruit” and it has a really nice citrus-y grapefruit smell. They also have a Lemon version, and that one says “Kitchen Hand Soap”. Not clear on why only the Lemon one would be for the kitchen / hands. Looking at the ingredients they seem more or less the same to me. My wife however specifically told me to get the her the Lemon “kitchen” version, for her in the kitchen. In fact, when I bought this Pomelo grapefruit one home for what I thought would be a nice little variety in our kitchen she looked at me like I was crazy and then told gave me a very clear “No Way” to this Grapefruit one for the kitchen. Why? It doesn’t say “Kitchen” on the label and the Lemon one does. I see the grapefruit one says it has Jojoba and Argan oils which I would think would be good for hands, no? The Lemon one doesn’t include these Argan or Jojoba oils, but then what do I know? Anyway all the 3 kinds of TJ’s hand soaps are good, make lots of lather and smell great. These go for $3.99 each for a large pump bottle (17 oz.). I would buy it again.

Grapefruit Soap

Lemon (Kitchen) Soap

Trader Joe’s PUMPKIN CHEESE CAKE (Fall / Seasonal Item)


(Fall Seasonal Item)

We really enjoyed this Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cheesecake. Especially after our upstairs neighbor gussied it up with some whipped cream when she invited us to her Halloween dinner (hence the black spider napkin holder) and served the TJ’s pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. What I liked about this cheesecake was it they did not over do it in the “pumpkin spices” department, it’s pretty subtle and tasted first and foremost like cheesecake with just a little something extra, with pumpkin. Its very yummy. $7.99 for a rather large cake (30 oz). This could make an especially nice dessert for Thanksgiving, or anytime you can get this during the Fall/Winter season when it may be available. Frozen, defrost in fridge overnight or 4 hours and leave at room temp for about an hour or so. I would buy this again.

Trader Joe’s: “We couldn’t fit an entire pumpkin into the box but we did fill it with rich pumpkin flavor…blended into the tangy sweet goodness of cheesecake….perfect for holiday dessert….”

TRADER JOE’S MEXICO “La Laja” Small Lot COFFEE


This stuff is my new favorite Trader Joe’s coffee! I saw it in the NEW PRODUCTS area. I tried it and found this to be a really excellent coffee It’s Mexican small lot, shade grown, 100% Arabica originating from the mountains of Huatusco, Mexico which seems to be between Vera Cruz and Puebla.

I found this to be a wonderful high quality coffee, and I thought it made an outstanding cup of brewed coffee. Now the package says this is a “medium roast” – however I would disagree and say it’s darker than a medium roast. I’ve found Trader Joe’s descriptions (light, medium, dark) really vary wildly from coffee to coffee and are inconsistent. To my eyes, this is a bit darker than “medium”. I would say its on the edge of being a (light) dark roast. Maybe about a “French Roast”? The beans are darkish and even slightly shiny. If you want a “medium” roast TJ’s Azmari Bunni is actually a medium roast or even a shade lighter. So let’s say this lovely Mexican coffee is roasted a little bit into the edge of a dark roast which actually seems perfect for these beans. The brewing method I used was making it in my Moka pot but this coffee will work for any kind of brewing method you prefer (drip, pour-over or even an espresso machine). This is a whole bean coffee of course so ideally of course you will grind up your beans at home just before brewing. In a pinch use the grinder at Trader Joe’s. When freshly ground you get an incredible aroma from these beans. It made a rich dark flavorful cup of Joe that I just loved. I find this coffee is delicious and excellent. I would buy it again gladly. In fact I may stock up a bit as these small lot coffees from Trader Joe’s can go bye-bye easily. TJ’s sells this for $9.99 for a 12 oz bag (whole bean. For this quality I’d say that’s not outrageous and a pretty fair price. PS I also experimented mixing this 50/50 with TJ’s BUUNI coffee, which is a medium roast, and together that was also quite excellent as a blend of a medium and darker roast, Middle American, South America and African coffees!

UPDATE (Dec 1 2022) : Sure enough a few weeks after writing this post, I can’t find any more bags of this coffee in either of my two nearby TJ’s (NYC) ! I really hope more comes in… Please leave a COMMENT if you see it in your local TJ’s (with location)

Trader Joe’s “Super Amazing Reusuable KITCHEN CLOTHS”


“SAVE PAPER, REDUCE WASTE”

We’ve tested these out in our kitchen and are finding them to be pretty useful. They seem to me like those orange “Chamois” cloths you get at a dollar store. But as my “dollar store” has now gone up to being a $1.29 and up store, these Trader Joe’s viscose cloths are convenient to buy and are not out of line price at $2.99 for two cloths in the package (though I wish they were a little bigger). We’re mainly using them for kitchen counters and the like. These cleaning cloths are strong and quite absorbent. They do absorb a lot even when wet. You just wring them out till damp and they absorb a ton of liquid again. These are useful and “eco”, saving some paper towel use. I would buy these again.

Trader Joe’s BATTERED FISH NUGGETS (+ Fish Taco recipe)


Trader Joe’s Fish Nuggets are tasty and these taste like a real battered piece of fish. They are perfect for making fish tacos for one thing. The first ingredient is Alaskan Pollack. Don’t confuse this item (“Fish Nuggets”) with TJ’s “Fish Sticks”which are terrible, way inferior to these at a dollar less. I used these nuggets to make Fish Tacos for dinner the other night. BTW I didn’t bake these as it says on the package. I sauteed them in a cast iron pan till they were crispy on both sides.

We really enjoyed these when we made them into fish tacos. The popular TJ’s Fish Tacos recipe is easy to make. You take a package of these, Corn Tortillas (which I think will taste better than flour ones) and top with crunchy slaw made with the Cole Slaw Mix, some Greek Yogurt, and lime juice. Optional but nice would be some ripe avocado and your favorite hot sauce. I would recommend TJ’s Green Dragon and/or Peri-Peri hot sauce as being a good match with fish tacos.

TJ’s BATTERED FISH NUGGETS are now $5.99 for a 1 lb package. The other thing these might be good for is an English style Fish & Chips with some french fries?

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/recipes/battered-fish-nugget-tacos

“These tantalizing tacos combine the tart, tangy, and savory flavors of fresh Lime juice and crispy Battered Fish Nuggets with a mix of soft, crunchy, and creamy textures, courtesy of our Corn Tortillas, Organic Broccoli Slaw, and Plain Greek Whole Milk Yogurt. Endlessly customizable with your favorite hot sauce, salsa, or crema, one batch of these can feed a family of four and even more, depending on your hunger level.”

FISH TACOS

  • TJ’s Battered Fish Nuggets
  • TJ’s Plain Greek Whole Milk Yogurt
  • 1 Lime
  • TJ’s Organic Broccoli Slaw or Cole Slaw Mix
  • TJ’s Corn Tortillas

Add yogurt and lime juice to the slaw mix; let sit a 1/2 hour to marinate. Cook up the fish till golden brown and put two pieces into a warm corn tortilla and top with slaw and a few drops of salsa or hot sauce.

Trader Joe’s TURKEY BURGERS (frozen)


Ground turkey is something I tend to buy often when I go to Trader Joe’s, maybe like many of you, as I find it so versatile as well as affordable. So besides the fresh stuff in the meat case, I also decided to check out this package of Trader Joe’s frozen turkey burgers. Any advantage of buying this versus buying a package of fresh ground turkey? Normally I would probably just buy fresh ground turkey and form burgers myself. However I can see reasons some might like these frozen turkey burgers instead of fresh. For one thing I imagine some folks (especially singles?) might find this more convenient as if you just wanted one burger you have that ready to go and are not left with extra turkey which you would have to use in a few days or freeze. Or maybe some people don’t like touching meat and forming burgers, or just find this faster and easier to make? Certainly one benefit of these frozen turkey burgers is the frozen burgers are cheaper than fresh ground turkey. These go for $3.49 for a pound (4x 1/4 lb burgers). Whereas one pound of TJ’s fresh ground turkey will cost you at least $3.99 presently. So the frozen ones are good value.

Cooking: Trader Joe’s instructions say to “Cook From Frozen”(as usual for them on frozen stuff). Now I don’t like to cook food from frozen if I don’t have to. So I defrosted these on the counter for about an hour or two, after cutting open the package and putting the pucks on a plate to defrost but in a pinch you can cook from frozen. The cook time will be shorter if defrosted of course.

The cooked turkey burgers were tasty. TIP: Turkey is pretty bland so I really season them before cooking with a real good dusting of the TACO SEASONING spice blend, which really jazzes up turkey burgers. Don’t add salt as there is some salt in the spice mix, and they have some salt already added in the burgers. Also I made them as cheese burgers by putting some grated Unexpected Cheddar on top which works great as it is amazing melted (cover the pan for a minute to help melt the cheese). I put them on toasted Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns and dressed them up with some spicy ketchup (mix some Peri-Peri or Bomba into some of the Organic Ketchup) . Our turkey cheese burgers were yummy with toasted buns, lettuce and tomato and we quite enjoyed them and wouldnt even know it was turkey and not beef.

Trader Joe’s DRIED ORANGE SLICES


Trader Joe’s Sweetened Dried Orange Slices

“Exactly what the name implies. Very sweet orange slices which are full of wonderful citrus flavor. You can eat the whole slice, rind and all.”

Personally I think these are a terrific little snack with an old world taste and esthetic. I just love these. They are whole slices of orange including the rind and the peel (but no pits) which are sweetened and dried to be slightly chewy. They have a wonderfully intense orange flavor which includes a slightest bitterness from the peel. These are so good I could eat the whole package at once but I usually stop myself at around 3 slices. OK maybe 4. They’re $1.99 a package which is just over 5 oz. “Product of Thailand”.

Trader Joe’s CHICKEN CILANTRO MINI WONTONS


Trader Joe’s CHICKEN CILANTRO MINI WONTONS

You could easily describe me as a dumpling fanatic. I’m fortunate to live in a city (NYC) with a huge Asian population and can get really excellent dumplings, such as at “Vanessa’s Dumpling House” to name just one place. So having said that, while I can’t honestly say these Trader Joe’s mini wontons compare to to really good handmade chicken and basil dumplings I can get at a place like Vanessa’s, or Shiu Jiao Fu Zhou dumpling house, these are decent little wontons, and they are certainly convenient. So if you can’t go buy a big bag of frozen dumplings from Vanessa‘s or another Chinese dumpling maker as will I do on occasion, these may be the next best thing as they are so easy to buy at TJ’s. They seem popular and I usually see a few people grabbing a bag. On the web, I know there is some hack with these dumplings cooked in TJ’s Miso Ginger broth, which I tried and is pretty good – but for me that broth needs more miso and way more ginger! These are mini wontons and are smaller than regular wontons or dumplings. These are just one bite each. They’re good made by either boiling or pan frying them.

If boiled, I like them in a strong chicken broth (preferably homemade) or possibly one of Trader Joe’s broths or the Ginger Miso Broth (I would add more miso if you have that and some fresh grated ginger) They are good also cooked up as pan fried wontons. These will taste much better with a good dumping sauce. For me, that is mandatory. Also the cilantro flavor in the dumplings is weak so I recommend adding a good handful of chopped cilantro just before serving. Some people hate the cilantro’s flavor but I love it and it’s a very essential Asian taste. These Mini Wontons are $3.49 for a package (12 oz). I would buy these again.

https://www.traderjoes.com/home/products/pdp/chicken-cilantro-mini-wontons-099085

Trader Joe’s BOBA TEA Kit (Brown Sugar Tapioca Pearls Drink)


If you are not familiar with BOBA TEA (aka bubble tea) it’s a popular (very TRENDY) drink that has very large pearls of Tapioca that sink to the bottom. The tapioca pearls have a very chewy texture that most people really enjoy. The pearls are so large that to suck them up it comes with a special ultra wide straw. These drinks are sold by specialty tea shops like “GONG CHA” that serve up a premium (and a bit pricey) Boba Tea Drink.

Trader Joe’s BOBA TEA kit is a (poor) approximation of what you might get from a specialty Boba Tea shop. I have had Boba Tea from quite a few different Tea shops and in short, Trader Joe’s Boba Tea Kit won’t put any of them out of business. The drink you get in a real Boba Tea shop is way better than this, however if you’ve never had it before this may give you an idea of what “boba tea” is. As my wife commented “this is a Trader Joe’s version”. She meant it as a knock as in “cheap knockoff of the real thing”. A specialty shop boba tea drink usually costs about $5-6 bucks each. This kit sells for $5.50 for 4 drinks. So yes a cheap knock off. Granted, its a high profit item (sugar, tea, tapioca)

Anyway if you can’t have it at one of these shops and just want to try boba tea in that case then his might be a good starting point. For one thing the tapioca pearls in Trader Joe’s are much smaller than the ones that the shops make which are huge and so chewy. This kit has 4 pouches of a concentrate with the pearls. You mix this package up with milk or tea (or combo of the two) plus a handful of ice to dilute its sweetness, and you need to add enough of these things in, otherwise it will be way too sweet. I put the defrosted pouch into a glass jar with a lid so I could really shake it up with the added ice and liquid. The kit even has 4 big straws. Not bad, but again really no comparison to a Boba Tea shop drink. I probably wouldn’t buy it again.

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