This post is dedicated to my mother, who taught me how to fold dumplings, and my mother-in-law (MIL), who taught me recently how to make the most bomb-diggity wontons (no Trader Joe's wonton, potsticker, or gyoza has anything on that of course). Those kinds of foods are best made with fam, for the fam, and in ridiculous quantities for freezer stock. But seeing as TJ's products tend to cater to those that might like to cook a little but not too much, that might not happen here. Instead, I got sucked into the matching sriracha packaging seen here and here and the fact that TJ's trips are now far and few between. And I didn't want to miss out (MO) something potentially good. (There's no fear of MO here. Just MO).
So I said bye to $4.
And hello to 12 modestly-sized dumplings. More like fingerlings really. But again, the ingredients are pronounceable and reasonable for what it is. Also, they added some carrot and red pepper (which is apparently a thing?? You can use vegetable juice to make dumpling wrappers different colors!!) for visual appeal and some extra flavor.
We chose stovetop preparation per package directions a la true potstickers, panfried on the bottom and steamed to perfection. Unfortunately, my frying pan didn't cooperate. It hasn't been so nonstick in about a year, so they all stuck to the bottom of the pan even with the ridiculous amount of oil that the package suggests to use. BTW, I would ignore the package instructions and do this instead. 2 TBSP of oil is way too greasy.
I include this picture anyway to keep it real. Because in real life, you tell your husband to use the smaller but better nonstick pan for best results and he goes against your advice and you both suffer the consequences. (And then you - I - try not to be salty cuz it's tempting to rub it in his face to prove that I am right again even though I am. Gotta chillllllll. It happens. :D) And you end up eating the whole box anyway cuz you already paid $4 for it. Amirite?
You could try steaming nor microwaving but I wanted to stay true to the product's namesake, but you have to leave a margin for user error. As for the potsticker itself, it's not terrible, just kind of lackluster. Crab and shrimp are a great tasting combo, but crab as the main filling means a mushy center. There's way too much ginger, and it's unevenly distributed such that some dumplings have just wayyyyyy too much. Water chestnut adds a nice textural component but that plus the copious amount of ginger seems like they tried really hard to make this taste Asian. Here's the thing about food- you want it to be good and seem effortless. Can't taste the carrot or red pepper in the wrapper, but I suppose it's more so for color than taste. I wouldn't have guessed that these potstickers have "sriracha seasoning" - the spice level is pretty mild.
Again, it doesn't taste bad but I put this on par with a potsticker appetizer you might find at California Pizza Kitchen, by that I mean basically any New American place that serves run-of-the-mill fusion-y apps. If that's you, by all means plop down the $3.99. As for me, I'll stick to my usual freezer staples (although I've converted to the Costco version. Ling Ling and Bibigo potstickers ain't half bad) or the homemade kinds.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Sriracha Seafood Potstickers with Shrimp & Crab. Decent idea. Unimpressive execution. 5 out of 10.