Thai Joe’s Coconut Curry Chicken Stix

Thai Joe's Coconut Curry Chicken Stix
Thai Joe is apparently a tenderfoot dude. You’ve never heard of this guy? I haven’t either. He certainly has an interesting name. I’m referring to Trader Joe’s, which also has Trader Ming (flour), Trader Joe-San (flour), Trader Jose, Trader Jose and Trader Josef (flour). Although there is no doubt that they are of Thai descent, the names don’t necessarily refer to Thai Joe. You wouldn’t buy something from someone named Chinese Joe. This sounds at best sketchy. It’s probably because there aren’t many Thai names that sound like Joe. After doing a quick search for shady baby-naming sites, I found that Chao-Fa (which means “crowned prince”) was the closest I could find. Hmm, Trader ChaoFa… That’s a name I would be happy with. This name sounds a lot more appealing than Thai Joe and is a better match for the Trader Ming characters. The Thai Joe name conjures up images for me. Imagine a Thai kid entering school in second grade. His name is almost impossible to pronounce. He says “Call me Joe” in an attempt to be friendly. However, there are already five to six other children in the class called Joey or Joey. To distinguish him from everyone else, one culturally conscious, yet snotfaced punk calls him “Thai Joe.” Well, it could just be me.

However, Thai Joe’s Coconut Curry Chicken Stix is a great debut product. They are a typical spring roll size and shape, and even though the stix were baked, they still tasted great. They would be great Fry-Daddied up. But that would be too tempting for too many good things. The insides taste just as good, if not more so than the wrapper. I was unfortunate enough to be served spring rolls of food court variety with mushy garden work inside. Despite being a little sparing in cabbage, the contents were firm and delicious. The chicken is white meat, with small pieces of chicken. The predominant flavor is lemony. There’s lemongrass as a main ingredient and in the curry sauce. However, it’s well controlled by the coconutty undertones. These will not register as a 10 on a scale from one to ten for spice-averse sissies. Although I would have preferred more spice as Thai cuisine is known for being extremely hot, it doesn’t compromise the other flavors. They are still delicious.

Thai Joe, however, made a mistake like any rookie. It is easily fixed. On the box, he shows a small bowl of awesome looking peanut-and-something-else sauce. TJ products also come with a small sauce packet or a recipe card for the sauce. These are not these. They don’t include a bonus packet and the instructions only say to “enjoy your favorite sauce” (or something similar). My household means Red Devil, Frank’s Red Hot and barbecue sauce. Sandy may also like ranch dressing. (It all depends on what week it is). I think none of these would be correct, and I am ignorant enough not to know the best. I was just trying to find a quick recipe for dip sauce. Chicken wontons with cilantroThat was the bomb! You don’t have to ask for too much help. Also, “stix”? Really? They are spring rolls. Stix? To me, it sounds too much like a crappy band.

They’d be perfect for pregaming Thai cuisine, but Sandy and I made the whole thing for lunch the next day. The meal was delicious with some salsa and chips (we were in multi-cultural mood), and it’s something I will definitely make again. Pittsburgh is home to many amazing ethnic restaurants, including Thai ones, because of its immigrant heritage. Banana Leaf Smiles. These rolls can be served as appetizers in any restaurant, at a fraction the price. This is not to say that you should only support local restaurants. But, do check out these guys.

Sandy gives the springy stix four solid stars because they did some happy chomping. She said, “Mmmmmmm”, and that is exactly what she meant. I agree. Thai Joe could easily share any secret sauce goodness (packet, recipe) with us.

The bottom line is that 8 out of 10 Golden Spoons are good.