Trader Joe's Harissa Salsa

These days there's a fine balance between voicing your opinions and being arrogant out there on social media platforms. We live in a day and age where anyone with a computer and a handful of things to say on a particular subject can become self-proclaimed "experts." And somebody out there will listen. And if you give your opinion on something that the public, or some subset of the public, judges you to be unqualified to espouse your opinion on, you can get lambasted. Completely torn UP. Sometimes, the outrage is arguably justified, particularly when hot-topic issues such as racism are involved. Other times, perhaps we need to show each other grace and recognize that we all come from different backgrounds and experiences. Does a Chinese person have more to say about the authenticity of a product claiming to be Chinese? More likely than not.  Does this mean that the non-Chinese person's thoughts and opinions are worthless? Not necessarily. 

I've been thinking about what it means to embrace diversity lately. What does this has to do with a Trader Joe's blog you might ask? A lot actually. I can't vouch for cultural authenticity of certain products, but I don't think TJ's necessarily sets out to make us all have super authentic ethnic cuisine. Yes, a lot of the products are catered to the tastes of Middle America. Is it a bad thing? No. But I have to acknowledge where my comfort level is - to embrace my own ethnicity and culture - and where it is not. This does not mean I parade my own culture around on a pedestal and look down on others but acknowledge the places where I do not have expertise are actually where the opportunities are to learn something, try something new, and attempt to understand somebody or something completely different from what I know. 

End rant. And thank God, food is one of those dialogue-forming, relationship-building facilitators. It's great. I love trying new stuff. Y'all thought you were just getting a salsa review, didn't you? :P 

Let it be known - I have never tried Harissa. Google tells me that it's a North African hot sauce/paste made from chili peppers, paprika, and olive oil. I MIGHT have had it in a hummus once, but I can't remember. But I've always wanted to try it. 

Judging from the label, I'm expected a less tomato-y salsa and more of a pepper-y one on the spicy side. Why this keeps for up to 90 days in the refrigerator? I don't know. 

My favorite way to eat salsa is what I assume to be most people's favorite way to eat salsa. With CHIPS. YAY. SALTY AND CRUNCHY. I quite liked this.  It has more of an earthy taste rather than a sweetness that is found with tomato-based salsas. It wasn't too salty but was definitely savory enough and complex enough to fascinate my tastebuds. It's definitely on the spicier side, which for me is a good thing because it means I can't overdo it, especially if I don't want to suffer any nasty effects. Like tearing a hole in my stomach or worse. :P 

I kept coming back to it though. It makes a nice snack, and it would be nice to mix with regular hummus for an extra kick. Or even with roasted vegetables. Or other neutral-flavored foods. The possibilities are endless. Would definitely repurchase it, because it stands out from all the other salsas I normally purchase.

TL;DR: Trader Joe's Harissa Salsa. Something different, spicy, and quite nice. Ima try real harissa now. 7 out of 10.


  1. Why is this not available at Trader Joe's anymore?


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