Boy it seems like I’m really zipping all over the world in this blog lately! In the last week it’s been to Germany, Thailand, India, the USA and now to China!
Next up we have the Trader Joe’s Pork Shu Mai Pork Dumplings. (Trader Joe’s also makes a Chicken Shu Mai which I assume is very similar). These are in the freezer section and you get 9 dumplings in the box. Trader Joe’s has a lot of these dumpling, gyoza type things in the freezer section lately and they seem to be very popular. I’m always a little leery of these frozen Chinese food items. I just think it’s hard to recreate something like this and freeze it.
On the cover of the box, the dumplings look really appetizing and they have some funny browning on them like they tossed them in a wok, which is completely wrong since these dumplings are usually steamed. Shu Mai (or Shumai or Shaomai) are typically ground pork, mushrooms, ginger and shallots in a wonton wrapper and then steamed. There are endless variations on this but these look to be pretty standard Shu Mai.
One thing I noticed when I pulled the bag out of the box is that there are pieces of frozen wonton wrapper that had broken off the sides of the dumplings. The wrappers look a little thing to me also, but the proof is in the flavors! I never advise using the microwave method on these things, it tends to make them gummy, so I always recommend steaming them if possible. So I fired up my steamer and steamed them for the recommended time, something like 12 minutes. In the meantime I prepared a soy sauce, ginger, garlic concoction to dip them in.
They look really tasty, but I decided to pop one in my mouth without the sauce so I could get the full flavor without dipping them and I found the texture and the flavor to be actually quite similar to some really good Chinese restaurants I’ve been too. The problem is the wonton wrapper. It’s gummy and thin! (Also, it really needs to be dipped in something salty like soy sauce). It’s a bit of a detractor from the overall presentation of the dumplings. I’m going to have to take a couple of points off for that! Otherwise, the flavors and textures were just fine…
Having said all of that, I don’t think I would buy these again. They are just OK for me, not great and I can go down the road here in my town and get better. I’m going to rate these 7 bells!