Coconut Shrimp by Trader Joe

Trader Joe's Coconut Shrimp
A while back, I created this. A list of things that don’t make senseIt is important to me. Two more things would be great. Anyways, two things: First, who thought it was a good idea to position the number zero and the letter O right-freakin’-on-top of each other on your keyboard. When I am at work, I push buttons all day and end up pushing the wrong one. It’s absurd nonsensical QWERTY keyboards. Also, how can fish, shrimps, clams, lobsters, and the like not be considered meat everywhere? I’m not talking about the Lent/Catholicism/religious tradition issue as much as there seems to be different classes of vegetarianism where, depending on what you choose to believe, seafood either is or is not meat. I’ve asked several vegetarian friends* of mine about this, and they either stare blankly at me and really don’t explain it, or I get an explanation that fish don’t feel pain, they don’t have blood, so it doesn’t harm them. This sounds a little fishy to me. It seems clear to me that all those creatures had mom and dads. They were born/hatched somewhere, lived, breathed, and ate. They were caught by someone and died while en route to my dinner plate. I don’t know how to determine which animal feels pain and which doesn’t. I also don’t have any zoological knowledge. I do know that fish need some kind of blood-type system to keep their bodies ticking. It was an animal. Animals are made up of meat. So, when I eat a fish, it is meat.

Except… they’re not considered to be so I will exploit a loophole. Sandy is open to allowing us seafood, while we abstain from meat during Lent. As we get closer to the end, I am beginning to miss meat. Sandy has told me that I would prefer cheeseburgers over jelly beans in my Easter basket. I have been trying different Trader Joe seafood products. On Monday, I felt too strongly the urge to leave the store without something that once had a face. Shrimp has been my favourite ocean animal, so when I saw this Coconut Shrimp with its delicious looking batter, it was a simple decision.

It’s okay, but not great. The coconut-battered shrimp we’ve tried before has always been made with shaved and breadcrumbs. The coconut milk in the Trader Joe’s taste like it was used as a batter base or that the shrimpy guys were saturated with it before they crumb it up. The result is an interesting mixture of textures, including the richness and fleshiness of the shrimp, as well as the creaminess and crispiness of its batter. It’s certainly strange, especially the first time you try it. Sandy seemed a bit irritated by it, while I enjoyed it. It is very satisfying. I’ve come to really enjoy things like rice prepared with coconut milk (coincidentally our side dish last night, with the mango-from-the-picture’s cousin chopped up and mixed in) as it adds this creamy, slightly sweet, kinda ethereal dimension of flavor. Although the combination of the coconut and shrimp was …. good, I began to wonder if the entire thing was the best. The shrimp was decent, but not exceptional. Each shrimp was approximately a bite-and a half in size, very fresh tasting and clean tasting. They were not as salty/mushy/gritty as I have experienced with other brands from other stores. Sandy claimed that hers tasted fishy. Although I didn’t notice it for any of mys, the fact that she allowed me to finish her entire allotment showed me that she wasn’t a big fan. I was hungry for any kind of meat and ate them all. Yuck.

We could give these a try once again to see how they taste. Sandy could manage a 2 for them, despite the fishy texture and odd flavor. These pantheon-bound cookies are not rated higher so I will give them a slightly higher grade. They are a bit lower because of the milky/creamy texture. It also caused the batter to not stick to shrimp well, which resulted in some half-naked shrimp and additional scrubbing on the baking sheet. Although I liked the product, it wasn’t enough to leave a lasting impression to recommend them highly. The rice side dish was more enjoyable than the shrimp ration. And if you’re curious, how many rice we have eaten in recent times… It sounds like it would get a 3.5 rating from me. But, I can totally understand if we gave these a low rating.

Bottom line: 5.5 of 10 Golden Spoons

*I think some (not all) of my vegetarian friends ascribe to the theory that it is okay to only eat animals that cannot be considered cute and/or cuddly. People have described cows, chickens and pigs as such. But I have never heard anyone say that they would like to curl up with a crab, lobster, or fish. Maybe that’s why we should be okay with eating meat that swims. Whatever works.