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Friday, September 1, 2017

Trader Joe's Gochujang Flavored Almonds

Gochujang.

Gotta admit: Never heard of it. Not sure how to pronounce it. Every time I type it, I've had to look back and make sure I'm spelling it right. Go-chu-jang. I'd butcher that any which way I could, for sure.

Must say something about how relatively sheltered my palate has been that a lot of my exposure to imported flavors have come from Trader Joe's. I mean, I'm a guy who's excited that Panda Express and their legendary orange chicken is finally coming to Pittsburgh. So, once again, forgive me here, as I have no other gochujang experience to relate to Trader Joe's Gochujang Flavored Almonds...

...but holy smokitos, these are some blazing almonds. These just be the spiciest widely commercially available product I've had. These nuts are the kinda deal where it doesn't really hit you right upfront, but more steadily builds and builds with each bite. Sandy's only had a few and has said she doesn't think they're that hot, but trust me...hot.

And, even better, it's a somewhat complex spice as well. Gochujand is apparently the name for a certain type of red chili paste that's a little sweet, a lot spicy, and definitely multilayered. I almost hate making the comparison, but think of the seasoning of Chex Mix condensed down into a more concentrated, potent powder. Some soy/Worcestershire sauce. Garlic salt. A few extra shakes of chili powder. Intensified. It's the best, easily relatable comp I can think of. Even then, it's not quite that. There's just this little sweetness, this little kiss of sugar, that somehow sneaks in through all of that just to keep it all grounded. Also, there's almost like a fermented savoriness at work here - makes sense with what I've learned about gochujang - and it just all ties together unbelievably well.

The almonds make a great base for really showcasing the spice, as well. Nicely roasted, crunchy, very munchable. The gochujang mix doesn't stick to the nuts all that well, which is just as well, as it's very potent...but man, the nuts at the bottom of the bag are gonna be spicy af. I'm looking forward to them, but not without some trepidation.

The bag cost only like $5 for 12 ounces. Not a bad deal. I'd be remiss of my duties that consumers may, like myself, experience some, um, digestive consequences after eating. Nothing so awful I won't go back for more, but there's a, um, pattern that's been established here. Let me keep that at that, please. After all - fermented product. I honestly have no real complaints and will probably snack on them and buy as long as they're available, and I'm sure I can get Sandy hooked on them too.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Gochujang Flavored Almonds: 8.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

4 comments:

  1. I agree that they're pretty spicy! I wouldn't say that this flavor is true to real gochujang, but they're pretty tasty. Try ordering bibimbap at a Korean restaurant sometime to get a taste of the real stuff. You control the amount of sauce you put in it, and it's absolutely delicious.

    www.mantoujoe.blogspot.com

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  2. Did you mean to spell Gochujang wrong in the paragraph that starts with "And, even better,"? 😉

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  3. Got a sample. I dunno, I just found em a bit (Genetically) spicy for a second then nothing else. I wouldn't buy them myself.

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  4. interesting tidbit: you actually mentioned gochujang when you reviewed TJ's korean bbq sauce last year :) picked these up today and they're delicious! thanks for the review

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