Interesting, bold and exotic – Trader Joe’s Crispy Green Curry Shrimp Gyoza have a lot to offer – but they don’t quite manage to deliver.
I certainly love the idea of these gyoza – seafood, curry and Asian veggies all done up in a crispy dumpling – but while the idea sounds amazing on paper that’s a lot of moving parts to get just right. While by no means a disaster, these gyoza are more mundane than mind blowing.
Just to get this out there first – I love that Trader Joe’s comes out with daring products like this. If there’s a world where Trader Joe’s isn’t putting green curry and shrimp into gyoza I’m glad I don’t live in it. That said, as much as I wanted to like these I found myself underwhelmed. Previously I took a look at Trader Joe’s Thai Shrimp Gyoza, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, this time they’ve pushed their winning equation too far. The addition of curry, plus a change to the filling, plus a strangely crunchy shell results in a gyoza that doesn’t do anything particularly well.
Given the golden, crispy exterior – I’m not sure it makes sense to call these “gyoza” at all. While they share the shape, the texture and taste no longer resembles the chewy, tender pot sticker at all. Instead, we’re given a crunchy outer shell that has more in common with pie crust. That’s not a bad thing, a crispy crunchy shell would have been amazing if the gyoza contained some sort of soft, gooey filling. However, it seems out of place here where the filling is already so chewy and challenging.
That filling is a mixture of big shrimp chunks and big pieces of kale. Kale, really? Yes indeed – along with the more traditional lemon grass, limp pieces of well-cooked kale makes a big showing here. What’s more, unlike TJ’s Thai Shrimp Gyoza where they shrimp was an understated, mild presence these crispy goyza feature big chunks of shrimp you can’t miss. That should be a selling point, and it probably would be, if the shrimp could stand on their own. Instead, the shrimp runs up against the green curry and, yes, the kale, in a way that doesn’t really mesh all that well.
The curry is a good green curry to be be sure – you’ll definitely taste the coconut milk in it along with the cumin, turmeric, nuanced hits of ginger, kaffir lime peel, and lemon grass. And while it’s good, there isn’t enough of it to hold its own against the other flavors that are going on, nor enough to take prominence over the shrimp flavor. More like a dab of green curry in a gyoza, instead of a gyoza green curry.
What you end up with is a dumpling that ends up doing nothing all that well. The crunchy exterior is pretty good, but doesn’t go that well with the veggie-shrimpy filling. The shrimp is fine, but doesn’t match all that great with the curry sauce. The curry sauce is okay, but there isn’t enough of it to pull the whole thing together. Trader Joe’s has a pretty diverse selection of gyoza nowadays, from chicken and pork gyoza, to vegetarian gyoza. The next time I’m in a gyoza mood, I’ll be skipping these for one of those classics.
Would I Recommend It: Not really, there are better gyoza available.
Would I Buy It Again: I’ll stick with the authentic gyoza, thanks.
Final Synopsis: Hybrind quasi-gyoza that fail to make a case for their own existence.