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, December 21, 2016

Trader Joe's Presents The Crispy Crunchy Mochi Rice Nuggets

Ever hear of the Mochi Rice Nuggets?

Man....they rock.

No, not like the band on the packaging of Trader Joe's Presents The Crispy Crunchy Mochi Rice Nuggets. I mean, that's a pretty ridiculous name...though I wouldn't be surprised if a band named that actually existed. There's bands with names like Neutral Milk Hotel, after all. I kinda would want to hear this nugget band though. I bet they could do a killer rendition of "Billie Jean" - you see that bassist with the 'stache and mane? He'd rock that bassline. And I will reward mega Internet points to anyone who can translate what the word bubbles are saying - I assume it's Japanese, because the nuggets are a Japanese product. But you tell me.

Nor are these particular rice nuggets particularly rock-like. Rocks, like stones (and not the Stones). Sandy and I neglected to get a pic of them out of the package, but they do closely resemble the non-cartoony aspects of the bag front - bite sized chunks of rice-type substance. Made from the same kind of glutinous rice paste as most other mochi, these mochi nuggets are crispified and fried. in a way - and this is meant as a compliment - they're more spongelike then the last product I reviewed, its name notwithstanding. Except instead of chewy, it's decidedly more crispy and crunchy while still retaining a slightly springy feel. Add in a little greasy comfort, and it's addictive.

The first time I bit into a nugget, the taste immediately reminded me of something familiar....something distinctive....something I haven't had in a long time. But I couldn't figure out what it was. Crispy, a little oily, definitely salty, with a grain kinda feel to it...ah, there it is. Bugles. Yes, the mochi rice nuggets taste almost just like Bugles, except in a form you can't easily stick on the end of your finger. And yes, I know Bugles are corn based, while these are rice...but the taste is very similar, and it's not just me saying it. One of Sandy's friends tried a few, and unpromptedly said the exact same thing. It's like each nugget was a handful of Bugles that got compacted down into a snackable cube-esque form.

It is worth mentioning that the nuggets are not labeled as gluten-free - according to the back, there's a chance of cross contamination with wheat. And also, of all things...mackerel. I don't even know how to say anything more than that. But there could be mackerel in your mochi. Seems perhaps some quality assurance could be better enforced at the factory, hmm?

I like the nuggets quite a bit. So does Sandy, and our kids too. I'm really hoping these become a thing with some different flavors and varieties coming out. Black pepper would be killer. So would garlic and herb, or even something like cinnamon and sugar. As is, though, the nuggets seem like they'd pair with almost anything, so there's some versatility. At $2.99, they'll be staple in our house for sure.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Presents The Crispy Crunchy Mochi Rice Nuggets: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


7 comments:

  1. David Lee Roth Nugget is screeching "CRISPY!" whilst Afro Tommy Lee Nugget is uttering "CRUNCH!"

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  2. I think maybe it would be nice alternative to croutons. Also they should sell actual mochi (chewy) minus the ice cream to have nice variety of mochi. I agree it needs some flavoring too

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  3. These are so freaking good. Even I thought they reminded me of something familiar, just couldn't put my finger on it. Bugles don't really come to mind for me either. I don't know. Salty, crunchy, slightly greasy. Just really really good.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. These were too greasy for me so I toasted them in the oven. Lots of oil came out. They became super crunchy, too!

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  6. I bought these because lots of people have been raving about them. As soon as I put them in my mouth I thought they were way too salty (and I like salty snacks). I also thought the texture was too dense. The overall flavor reminded me of a cross between a frito and a cornut. Not a fan.

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