Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trader Ming's BBQ Chicken Teriyaki

Again, we have the "Trader Ming's" brand signifying that this is authentic Chinese food. Er, wait...isn't teriyaki Japanese?

First we had Trader Ming's Mandarin Orange Chicken...definitely Chinese...what with "Mandarin" and all. Orange Chicken = Panda Express = Chinese.

And Teriyaki = Kabuki restaurant = Japanese. Hmm...I don't know, I'm thinking maybe this should have been Trader Yoshi's or something.

Whether Trader Joe's got its nation of origin correct or not, this chicken teriyaki is pretty tasty. Sonia cooked it up like a pro. Well, I guess it's already cooked; you just put it on the stove for a while to heat it up and add some sauce. But she totally nailed the heating up and adding sauce process.

Yet again, Trader Joe's...<a'hem> Trader Ming's, rather...whoops, excuse me...Trader Yoshi's BBQ Chicken Teriyaki is a victory for TJ's Asian food efforts. I liked it quite a bit. Almost as good as the teriyaki chicken I've had at classy Japanese restaurants. Sonia claims hers was a little too chewy. I guess I can see where she's coming from. The texture may have been slightly off. But I definitely liked the flavor.

I give it Four out of Five Stars. Sonia gives it Three and a half Stars. Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.


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  2. I love your blog and I love Trader Joe's, but this meal was disgusting! I had a friend over, and my husband cooked this for us. We all found it to be inedible and threw the entire dish into the garbage.

  3. I bought this for when I don't have time to cook, so I microwaved it. I thought it tasted pretty good, though the sauce became watery-thin prepared this way.

  4. Worst thing I've purchased from trader joes yet. Blech.

  5. I started cooking this on the stove this afternoon and thought I had purchased pork, because it sure didn't smell like chicken!! It smelled like a wet dog. My husband was like, "just put the sauce on it, it's just dark meat." No...this did not look like any type of chicken I've ever eaten. Have to throw it away! :( very disappointed!

    1. It was over 3 years ago since we reviewed this, so the quality of the meat may very well have gone down hill over the years. You know you can take your unused portion back to TJ's and get a refund?

  6. This is one of my families favorite meals. But I don't use a microwave, so instead I boil a pot of water then put the meat on top in my vegetable steamer. When it's finished I put the sauce on. So good! And it is chicken thighs, not breasts. Making for a much less dried out chicken.

  7. It's true, the quality of the meat in this item has been *substantially* reduced. I used to eat it regularly, now I can't even force it down. My dog still likes it.

  8. You're all so exaggerated. This dish is still good. You've probably just had bad batches, or your expectations are just too high for a $4.99 bag of frozen chicken.

  9. Tried it, didn't like it so much. Guess it's back to the orange chicken :)

  10. The qality of chicken is fine. It's dark meat. When you go to a Chinese restaurant, you're getting the same thing 99% of the time. The key to Trader Ming's BBQ Chicken Teriyaki is how you cook it. If it's not cooked somewhat close to well done, the consistency is going to be semi disgusting and borderline slimy because it is DARK MEAT! If you buy it in a restaurant it's going to be pan fried at the very least, not microwaved.
    I buy this from TJ's all the time, never read the directions and wouldn't even try cooking it in the microwave. Obviously you can but there's better ways to go.
    I always put mine on the foreman grill for a good 10-15 minutes until it's crispy. Throw the sauce on it and toss the pieces of chicken onto some brown rice, add some broccoli, carrots, peas, whatever...beyond delicious. The chicken just needs to be cooked, not thawed out in the microwave.
    It's a great product, especially the sauce...it's so good it's hard to believe it's not made with high fructose corn syrup, but it's not.