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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Trader Joe's Shrimp Soft Tacos

Another week, another shot to grind my gears about something. Made my annual autumnal rant last week about pumpkin spice. Man, that felt good to get out. This week's target? Food trucks. By in large, I think they're dumb. I get that in some scenarios they may be a way of life...but man. Stand around forever in line just to overpay for one item, have to wait around forever in another line if you want anything else, all from some typically greasy grungy kitchen on wheels. No thanks. Here in the 'burgh, the whole food truck craze has really hit in the past few years. We're kinda slow on a lot of trends - can't wave a Terrible Towel without hitting a mullet or three - but in the past two or three years, any kind of community event anywhere, it's food truck bonanza! And everyone gets so excited! FOOD! FROM A TRUCK! WITH WHEELS! STAND AROUND ON ASPHALT AND EAT FOOD! WOW!

No thanks.

I bring this up in relation to Trader Joe's Shrimp Soft Tacos because on the official TJ's website, there's a whole thing about taco trucks when they start talking these tacos. Blah. That may be a way to entice a lot of potential eaters, but not me...but then again. it's a shrimp taco, so twist my arm.

I'm not going to say these are the best shrimp tacos ever, because they aren't. Far from it. But, I will say these are the best microwavable shrimp tacos that cost less than $1.25 each I've ever had. A three pack cost only $3.69, so keep that in mind with all I am about to say.

Though the taco filling looks nothing like what's depicted on the package, it's still plenty flavorful. There's a spicy heat radiating on nearly every bite, much more than anticipated - there's some potent jalapenos lurking in that salsa verde. Lots of black pepper bite, too. I wish a little more lime flavor were present to cut through the heat some - lime juice is listed as an ingredient - but something like a little lime basil would be killer on these tacos. Once done nuking, the soft 'n mild cotija cheese is kinda indistinguishable from everything else, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Surprisingly, there's plenty ample filling too. One could reasonably expect that a perceived premium taco stuffer could be shorted here, but it's not - not skimpy on the shrimpy. Each taco had at least two to three firm, fresh(ish) bites of shrimp in there. You're not getting cheated here.

As for the corn tortillas...meh. Listen, they do the job. Each taco is actually double-tortilla'd, which is probably the right call - if left with just one, it'd be too soggy and potentially messy. That being said, for a corn tortilla, they're not awful, but not particularly memorable either. I'm spoiled by the handmade ones from two trips to the mountainsides of Mexico, and it's an unfair comparision, but one I hold every other corn tortilla to. I would have preferred flour ones.

Really, not too many complaints. The tacos could really use some vegetation if you have some on hand, just to freshen them up a little bit. Some lettuce or tomatoes or avocado would be a welcome addition if I had any one hand. A little dollop of sour cream would be nice, too, especially to help dampen the spice. Both Sandy and I could totally justify picking up the shrimp soft tacos again, and, heck, probably will for a quick, easy, and somewhat different lunch. No food truck required.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Shrimp Soft Tacos: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons.     


  1. Frozen?? I can't see this holding up at all... These would probably sells better if they were in the refrigerated section... All I can think of is 'soggy mush'... Their little chicken tacos are just ok- maybe its the size... even then, the tortilla and filling is pretty congealed.

  2. I won't be purchasing these again - they looked great - the price was right, but ^^ above commenter (without even trying them:) nailed it. Congealed mush. I would stay away from these ones, gang. They were gross. And I love tacos.

    1. Hrmm, not my experience. Eh well. More for me! :)

    2. I somewhat agree with Unknown. They weren't great or very memorable. I had them 2 N'd - nuked & naked (nothing added). They really do require some dressing up. I suggest some chopped tomatoes/onions/cilantro (Pico), guacamole & some hot sauce. Some Cojita chz would also be good.

  3. I've been eyeing them for weeks, probably give them a try this weekende.

  4. I love food trucks and have had some GREAT snacks from them!

  5. They were terrible! Threw them in the trash!

  6. I tried them tonight I didn't realize it was a new item. They literally look nothing like what's on the front of the box. Not even remotely similar. The taste was OK but I won't get them again.

  7. Pop them in the oven instead of microwaves for a way better experience! i absolutely loved mine and will purchase more.

  8. They were okay, I cooked the 4 mins in micro then saw at full power that should have been 2-2:30. So my shells got overly hard except where filling touched. The filled part was good but spicier than expected & I can see where a little dressing up would improve or cut that. I could see where it was more restaurant style than typical freezer fare. Now, I'm a really mild spice eater so I sacrificed 3rd taco to my teenager- if it's not dressed in spice, he's not eating it. He found them bland & said he wouldn't bother dressing up bc you can't put hot sauce on cardboard & expect a flavor beyond hot sauce on cardboard. So maybe the conflicting comments come in that for us mild spice eaters- these are on the line of heat we draw. For those spice lovers- these are weak & forgotten quickly.