fried rice or curry or what have you out here, you're asked how spicy you want it on a scale of 1 to 10. There are certain things I may do in my life with a questionable percentage of my gluteus maximus invested, but heat is not usually one of them. I have to go ten. Sometimes, I get extra spice on the side. One particular time several years ago, an acquaintance whom I was dining with stated he could handle hotter food than I ever could. Game on. Ordered a ten, got extra spice, coated every bite with the hottest chile powder, peppers and curry paste, and didn't take a single sip of water, drip one tear, or heck, even cough. He tried to match me, and it was a cute effort, but it fell far short. That guy's still intimidated of me to this very day.
So, yeah, the Thai spices. Love 'em, though I'm also learning to appreciate other flavors and aspects of Thai cuisine, like sweet coconut undertones, and as experienced here and there, lime leaves. It's a good thing, because otherwise, these Trader Joe's Thai Lime Shrimp Skewers would've been a rather large disappointment.
If you have any preconceived notions that all Thai food is spicy, throw it completely out the window here. These are not spicy at all, in any way that any tongue, branch of science, or philosopher could ever discern. In yet another example of TJ's exemplary track record in overall shrimp quality, each one of these are firm, fresh, non-fishy tidbits that heat up quickly and easily. For flavor, instead of the usual spicy suspects, it's all about the lime, but not in a citrusy Warhead-esque way, It's more refined. Such is the way of the kaffir lime. Not sure how to accurately describe it - Wikipedia uses words like "aromatic" and "astringent" which sounds like a smelly zit remover description to me - but perhaps it's like a limey answer to lemongrass. The citrus is subtle, while the herbal taste isn't but it isn't overpowering either. It's just good.
However, it ain't all perfect. This is yet another silly pet peeve that I'm slowly becoming more cognizant that I have, but the tails on? Really? Haven't we evolved
past this? I hate shrimp tails, especially because it's not always easy
to get the last little shrimp nub in them. My toddler daughter also
kept reaching for pile of tails, much like she usually does while making a scene
trying to grab clementine peels, except she loves clementines and didn't care for this shrimp whatsoever. Also, these got cold really fast after finishing cooking them. I'm talking ice cold in about three minutes. That might be more me than my little crustacean cronies - anybody with some insight? I could also live without the skewer itself, but meh. Also, please just a little spice. Please.
All told, the shrimp skewers aren't a bad buy. They're definitely much better than our previous meat-unnecessarily-on-a-stick purchase. You get five sticks with five shrimp on each for either five or six bucks. That's less than a quarter each, and given that I saw a bar advertising 90 cent wings as a special the other day, I'm thinking a restaurant would charge much more. Sandy liked 'em enough to score them a four without much to say one way or the other. I'll counter with a three.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Thai Lime Shrimp Skewers: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons