A few weeks ago, A and I stopped buying real groceries to clean out the fridge before leaving for vacation. Except I started getting hungry for "real food." Somehow, "real food" cravings led me back to Trader Ming. My latest string of Trader Ming's reviews have yielded more misses than hits, so I'm going to take a break from Trader Ming's for a while. After a while, it's kind of like Stockholm syndrome, where you've been held captive for so long that you start having positive feelings for your captors, except I'm not eating Trader Ming's against my will. Not the best example, I'll admit, but either way it's time to take a break from this [unhealthy] relationship.
"A savory dish of marinated chicken, shiitake mushrooms, edamame and green beans in ginger soy sauce." Well this sounds healthy and moderately appealing for frozen aisle Chinese food. And I love shiitake mushrooms.
Have to acknowledge TJ's efforts here - the ingredients are recognizable and don't sound chemically.
I followed the package instructions.
First, heat the thawed sauce. So far so good.
This looks moderately good right? And honestly, it took longer for my stove to heat up than it did to cook this meal. I served this up with a bowl of brown rice - because A was on a voluntary white rice fast ("I'd rather starve than eat brown rice," says he). Can I just say white rice would not have made a difference here. The biggest problem here was the MUSHROOMS. I mentioned already that I LOVE shiitake mushrooms, so this was utter heartbreak. *insert sad break-up song of choice*
My sister M tasted this first and said, "um...the mushrooms taste kind of funny." What a generous euphemism y'all. I spit out the first mushroom I tasted. I have never done that with a TJ's food, except for maybe the first thing I ever reviewed. It tasted very off. Pungent, but in a bad way. Very chemically. Had they gone bad? I have no idea. The only possible explanation would have to do with the sulfur compounds in the shiitake mushroom. Food scientists, help me out here!
The chicken wasn't bad. The sauce wasn't too bad. I used the whole sauce packet, which was too salty/sweet and didn't have enough ginger for my taste, but it was okay. The edamame tasted pretty good with the other stir-fry ingredients, so I'll probably throw those into my own stir-frys or fried rice. Just those darn mushrooms! Which is so sad because they LOOKED so plump and inviting! The fair thing to do would be to repurchase to test if those chemical mushrooms were a one-time fluke or the real deal, but I don't think it's worth the $2.99.
TL;DR: Trader Ming's Shiitake Mushroom Chicken. Why the chemical mushrooms. Whyyyyy. 4 out of 10.