Chinese Groceries

Big John Jumbo Pork Meatballs Classic Shanghai Style – Grocery Review

I am glad that I turned down Big John’s offer to comp me a bag of their fab frozen dumplings after my stellar review, because it leaves me free to write a less gushing review about one of their other products. As someone immersed in the Sydney foodie social media scene, it always makes me feel uncomfortable how many of these influencers are taking money or freebies from industry. I understand that for some this is a job rather than a mere stupid hobby, but I find it very difficult to trust recommendations from anyone who might have a conflict of interest. Even when a review is not directly paid for or comped, there’s a general understanding that if you’re someone who’s a negative Nancy you’re less likely to be invited to collaborate with other brands.

So I’m glad to say that I have no conflicts of interest to declare when it comes to reviewing Big John’s Jumbo Pork Meatballs, Classic Shanghai Style. I had been craving a lion’s head meatball ever since I was reminded of their existence in some kind of Youtube video. My last such meatball was from Taste of Nanking in Waterloo, two years ago, and it was time to have it again.

These meatballs were cooked as per the instructions, in a light broth of ginger and light soy sauce, though I forgot the ginger. I also later cooked them steamed and then another time boiled with just plain water.

No matter how I cooked them, I felt like they were too wet and too loose in their structure. Perhaps it’s because my view of what these balls should be like are coloured by my last experience. Perhaps they’re not even meant to be the same kind, as these are Shanghainese and those were from a Nanjing-themed restaurant. Who knows, not me, for I do not read Chinese. I invite commenters to tell me that I’m comparing them to the wrong benchmark if that is the case.

I also felt, probably related to their structure and texture, that there was too much ginger in the meatball itself, let alone for it to be boiled with ginger as per the instructions. Perhaps if the ginger was minced more finely the ball would stay together better.

Ultimately though, while some may like these, they were not what I was after.

UPC 9356993000017

Chinese Groceries

Chi Lin Restaurant Pork and Chives Dumplings – Grocery Review

Pegfeeds adherents know that this blog originally started as an idea to catalogue all different types of Asian groceries and snacks so that I could remember what I liked and what I didn’t like. That never really took off, and to this day I still keep buying the same snacks having forgotten that I don’t actually like them.

That said, I have done one previous frozen dumpling review from the yet-unparalleled Big John. Are these frozen dumplings from Orange Supermarket from Wentworth Point NSW going to cut the mustard? Find out more literally in the next sentence.

I boiled these Pork and Chives Dumplings (15 for $12.50) in the usual way. While they were not bad, and definitely better than 90% of the other frozen dumplings on the market, they weren’t quite as good as Big John’s. There was a good quantity of chive, with a good filling to wrapper ratio, but at the end of the day I didn’t feel like the texture of the meat was as good. It kind of faded away into nothing, where I prefer a bit more of a coarser grind to the pork to give it a bit of bite.

Having said that, they’re not bad, right. The flavour was OK, and they certainly slide into the premium tier of frozen grocery store dumplings. They just don’t beat the reigning champ.

麒麟 手工韭菜猪肉水饺

UPC 0793420734661

Chinese Groceries

Big John Pork and Chive Dumplings – Grocery Review

Before I die of dementia afraid and alone I need to tell you guys about these amazing frozen dumplings that my parents bought me. These are plump, with a real filling of meat and chives and a wrapper that far exceeds even the best of your standard Asian supermarket frozen dumplings. My partner grew up in a household without handmade dumplings. For the first 21 years of her life she thought that dumplings were these tiny, poorly filled machine-made things with more dough than taste. Her first encounter of having handmade dumplings with my family is probably what led her to stick with me for this long, and I’m honestly afraid that now that we have found such good frozen dumplings that she may leave me as there is nothing else that I can offer her that she can’t get herself.

They’re actually better than the ones I make myself at home. A pork, prawn and chive variation would be absolutely killer.

UPC 9356993000239

Instant Noodles

Uni-President The King of Tomato – Instant Noodle Review

We interrupt your regular programming for an impromptu review of Uni-President’s “The King of Tomato” instant noodle/ramen cup.

This cup noodle was taken out of its natural habitat and cooked on the stove with an addition of two eggs. The noodles were ordinary, but the soup was delicious. It had a rich tomato taste and tomato, as you are aware, is rich in glutamic acid, one of the key umami providing compounds in food. Every sip of soup provided a wave of umami flavours to my senses and left me wanting for more. The packet included these little soft egg bits which were a bit weird, a bit fishy, and no substitute for real egg.

A recommendation.

Instant Noodles

MAMA Tom Yum Goong Instant Rice Noodles Soup Spicy Shrimp Flavour – Instant Noodle Review

This is not commonly known knowledge, but this blog was initially started as a way for me to keep track of Asian grocery snacks that I enjoyed.

I’ve done over 180 restaurant reviews (including those scheduled but not yet published) since then, and yet this will be my first review of something straight out of the Asian grocery store.

MAMA’s Tom Yum Goong Instant Rice Noodles Soup Spicy Shrimp Flavour is quite good. It comes with its own tiny shrimplets but I chose to dress it up a little bit with the addition of some I&J Patagonian Prawns from the freezer. The noodles were cooked on an induction cooker in a saucepan – I’m a big believer in cooking noodles on the stove where accessible. I enjoyed the nice sour tom yum flavour of the dish, and would recommend this for your next soup noodle.

UPC 8851876001439