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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Trader Joe's Thai Lime & Chili Cashews

I'll admit it: Sandy and I bought this bag of Trader Joe's Thai Lime & Chili Cashews fully expecting to not like them. I do that sometimes, for the sake of the blog, otherwise we'd never review ca-taste-trophes like the meatloaf muffins or the watered down raccoon p...I mean Name Tag lager. You see, years ago, well before becoming a TJ's regular, I happened to stroll in one day to see what the big fuss was about TJ's, saw these and bought them, gagged on the first handful, and promptly returned them, and didn't really come back to the store 'til a few years later. I had kinda forgotten about them, but then my folks, who've become recent TJ regulars themselves, made the same rookie mistake I did, bought them, hated them, and returned them right away, and made sure I knew about it. I figured it'd be worth the time and obliterated taste buds to revisit this bag o' nuts, if for no other reason to spread the word about their grotesque existence, and maybe indirectly get TJ's to spend their precious shelf space on some other worthy snacky food.  Doing that based off a five year old memory wouldn't be fair, hence our purchase. I think I even talked Sandy into them by saying we'd buy them, be grossed out, return them and then go get ice cream with our returned dollars.

But a funny thing happened: Sandy ripped the bag open, popped one or two in her mouth, and then kept going back for more and more. "Mmmmm," she said, unbelievably to me. "I like 'em." So, I grabbed a few myself.

Surprisingly....they're not bad. Granted, they're hotter than a pair of sweat pants full of barbeque, so their appeal to the general population may be somewhat limited. That "lime" you see in the title? If you were expecting these cashews to be mostly lime flavored with a little Thai spice, or perhaps offer some relief from the heat (like, say, bleu cheese dip for some hot wings), you're about to be very gravely mistaken. The lime is very, very, very subtle. The packaging says it has something to do with the lime leaves it comes from, or something like that. What's not subtle at all is the literal barrage of Thai chili seasoning coming from each and every nut. It's unrelenting. It's liberally dusted over each nut, and by the end of your snack it will not only cover your fingers but also seemingly every bit of your existence. Behold the power of Thai chili, and have water nearby just in case. If you do not absolutely love very spicy Thai food, you stand no chance of liking these whatsoever. Buy carefully.

If I recall correctly, I didn't like them years ago because they were way-off-the-chart-too-spicy, even for me back in my younger days. I phrase it that way, because I used to be able to eat a habenero and not even wince, and these days, on the other side of 30 with a wife, kid, mortgage, full-fledged bald spot and regular chiropractic appointments, anything much more than Frank's Red Hot make me want to take a knee for a spell. So either these have toned down over the years, or there's some part of me wishing desperately to ignore all the radio ads about my supposedly declining testosterone and to hold on to the days of my youth, and for whatever reason this has all subconsciously manifested into a newfound tolerance for a sack full of spicy nuts. Or maybe I just don't want to look like a sissy next to my wife. Not sure. 

They're $6.99 for the pound, which isn't too bad for cashews these days. And while they're not something we'll inhale, or even necessarily buy all that often, they're good enough for the occasional handful. We'll have to finance our next ice cream trip thru different means after all. Sandy does seem to enjoy them a smidge more than me, and I like them to the tune of about three Golden Spoons, so add half of one for her.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Thai Lime & Chili Cashews: 6.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons 


  1. These are EXCELLENT in a recipe my friend sent me that was in the Fearless Flyer at some point - essentially you mix them with tricolor quinoa, yellow curry sauce, and dried green mango. So good (if a bit pricey - I don't make it very often for that reason...).

    1. That sounds SO delish. Definitely adding all those items to my TJ shopping list :)

    2. I don't know if you'll check back, but here's the actual recipe:

      Empty the curry into a large saucepan. Fill the curry bottle with water twice and add that water to the saucepan too. Bring to a boil. Add the package of quinoa and cook over low heat for around 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 package of the cashews and the mango. Eat hot or cold (it is SO GOOD COLD). Tadaaaah.

  2. Hmmm, I make a Coconut Cashew Basmati Rice dish that I love. It has a small yellow onion, one cup of green onions, a can of coconut milk, 1/2 cup of chopped cashews, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, and 2 cups (I use brown) basmati rice. I think these might work well in the recipe. Any thoughts? Perhaps as a garnish?

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  5. Of the lime chile nuts, this is the only one I don't like. The new Thai Lime and Chili Almonds are excellent (only 40 mg sodium, too.), but unfortunately, the Lime & Chili Mixed Nuts were just discontinued.

  6. I just tasted these for the first time this week and I LOVE them. I admit that they are probably too spicy for the average person, I am happy to not fall in that category. Growing up with a Korean mother and Chinese father who both cook expanded my palate at a young age.

  7. I have had the opposite experience. I liked them the first time I bought them and disliked them the second time. Way too much seasoning.