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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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trader Joe's Yuzu Hot Sauce

Who knew about yuzu?

Not me, naturally. C'mon, you expect that by now. And now, as expected, here's the Wikipedia link describing what a yuzu is and how common it is in Japanese and other Asian cuisine that doesn't necessarily cross the ocean so well, at least in the suburban bubble I grew up in.

Didn't stop me from being excited about Trader Joe's Yuzu Hot Sauce. It's Trader Joe's. It's hot sauce.  You know I'm all in.

And...being not acquainted at all with the world of yuzu until now, I'm really hopeful that this was a great intro.

The second the lid lifts, this fierce, aromatic, super citrusy scent wafts up and hits your nostrils like a sniper shot. It'll knock back the unsuspecting. No kidding, it's strong. I can't recall a more fragrant hot sauce in my nearly 30 years of regular consumption.

But...so far it's all citrus. Where's the heat? It's there, in a seamless transition after the upfront citric hint. The first few bites tasted more orange-like, but after a more thorough shaking and resplashing of the sauce over my dinner, it's decidedly more lemony. But regardless, the heat  - it hits. It hurts. And it's pretty stellar how smoothly the possibly divergent senses of sweet, sour and heat flow. It's really something to taste.

Not to say it's perfect. I'm not a huge fan of the consistency - think medium pulp orange juice - and I have my doubts on how it'd work with burgers or steaks. It's more of a pouktry/fish/maybe pork kinda sauce, which isn't bad, but not all purpose either. That's the other point - it's strong enough, and perhaps different enough, that I'm not evenly remotely tempted to supplant my usual other go-to hot sauces.

But it's pretty delish for what it is, and I'm always up for a good culinary experience and education that's willing to meet me where I am. Especially for a fairly affordable price - price check anyone? Sandy picked it up and misplaced the receipt, but she recalled it being right around $3 for the TSA-compliant sized bottle. She's a huge fan of it as well, too. Double fours? Sure, sounds great.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Yuzu Hot Sauce: 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons


  1. Bought it yesterday! I had a Yuzu pepper sauce that I purchased from a local restaurant years ago and it's a dupe. I love ❤ it - even use it on pasta salad.

  2. HI have a squeeze bottle of a yuzu hot sauce (from a gift collection) and was worried about how I'd get more when it's gone. And now TJ's to the rescue! Haven't had this one, but the one I have is really good and tastes like how you described this one. It's a mix of citrusy flavors: orangey, lemoney, limey, a bit sweet with a reasonable heat that's not sharp or vinegary. Gonna get a bottle when I see it. (Didn't see it today, but grabbed a bottle of Green Dragon Sauce because I just ran out of that.)

    1. P.S> Try this: put a few squirts on some vanilla ice cream!

  3. This sounds like such a unique condiment! I really love the unique flavor of yuzu- on a scale of warm to hurts so much i cry when eating it where is this? I'm a bit of a spice wimp but am trying to fix that...

  4. Yusuf is great with pork - try it with a pork tenderloin or with the carnitas in the cold section

  5. Yuzu not Yusuf. Although he'd approve I'm sure.

  6. Serve as a dipping sauce for dumplings. Or even use it as a seasoning!!

    1. Better yet, mix it in some yogurt or sour cream for a great dipping sauce. (Also works with sriracha)

  7. Just picked this up. Very tasty hot sauce, more vinegary and more heat than the other yuzu hot sauce I mentioned above (Yuzu Pao). A really good sauce, excellent mix of heat and bite with citrus undertones. This is in my regular sauce rotation for sure.

  8. I tried this the second it hit our shelves (it's me again - I manage a TJ's in Chicago) and I'm thinking it would be BANG ON splashed over some fish tacos.