Trader Joe’s has one of the most popular frozen food sections out there, and they’re famous for blending innovative recipes with high quality ingredients. Their Asian-inspired foods are some of the most popular, especially when it comes to their dumplings.
Meet Trader Joe’s version of the “XLB“. Dumpling aficionados know them as Xiao Long Bao or soup dumplings as most refer to it. We’ve had our fare share of XLBs at Joe’s Shanghai in Midtown Manhattan but we have to say we’re never disappointed to whip out a batch of these from the freezer to satisfy a craving.
Now that “soup season” is in full swing, people are craving rich soups and dumplings. Trader Joe’s Chicken Soup Dumplings are a unique twist on Asian dumplings. According to the package, each dumpling has soupy broth added inside the dumpling. So, every bite gives you a splash of soup, too!
The question is, will it actually hold up to the test?
Trying these dumplings did not disappoint. The flavor is heavily chicken-y, but warming and spicy thanks to a pop of both onion and ginger. At times, you also get a very light citrus-soy aroma that melts in your mouth.
Just as the box suggests, there is, in fact, real Asian chicken soup broth folded into each dumpling. If you are a fan of being able to “drink” your dumplings, then this is going to be an amazing treat.
Best of all, you can hold them in your fingers while you take a bite. The juices are pretty locked-in!
If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, we recommend these ceramic soup spoons from Amazon (Set of 6 for $14.99) or this porcelain soup spoon from Surlatable for $5 a piece. Both spoons feature a wide flat bowl that can rest on the table. To enjoy your dumplings with the soup spoons, simply take a small bite of the side of the dumpling, let the broth pour out onto the spoon and slurp away!
The Good and The Bad
So, the best thing about these dumplings is the fact that they taste incredible. If Trader Joe’s made packs of 20 dumplings, it’d be safe to say that people would buy them in bulk. The flavor is great, even for people who aren’t usually a fan of Asian-inspired foods.
If you get queasy from very greasy foods, then you’ll enjoy these dumplings. Unlike other dumplings with similar concepts, these don’t have that odd heaviness that sits in your stomach after eating them. You end up feeling satisfied, rather than sick.
Another excellent thing about these dumplings is the prep time. Don’t have a xiaolong (a.k.a steaming basket)? Don’t worry. You can pop them in the microwave for 1:45-2:00 minutes using the tray they come in and end up with a delightful snack in no time. If you were to try to make these from scratch, it’d take hours—not to mention skills we wouldn’t have. Convenience, thy name is dumpling!
Just remove from the box, snip off one corner of the bag that they come in and microwave.
Let the steamed dumplings stand for a minute so the steam can escape and then open the bag at the seams.
Want a more traditional cooking experience?
Try the stovetop method.
You’ll need a small pot and a steamer basket that fits within. Fill the pot with water and place the steamer basket inside. Bring the water to a boil. Place the dumplings into the steamer basket leaving space between each dumpling to avoid them sticking together. Cover the pot with a lid and steam for 8 to 10 minutes until the dumplings are heated from within. Carefully remove each dumpling and place onto a dish or bowl to cool. They will be very hot!
The only real drawback on these dumplings is also what can be a major attraction to them: the broth. When you bite into a dumpling, you will get a splash that can occasionally burn your tongue if you’re not careful. You will have to develop a little skill to eat these without issue.
You can see the bits of green onions that complement the gingery flavor of the minced chicken inside the broth filled noodle.
If you are seeking out a melty, soupy, chicken-y treat on a cold winter night, you’re not going to be disappointed with these dumplings. They are remarkably convenient, affordable, and low-calorie.
With that said, this is not the type of purchase that you should make as a full-on meal unless you have a very small appetite. Since there are only six dumplings per pack, this is a good snack after a long day’s work. For a meal, chances are that you’re going to need a little bit more food to fill things out.
It’s hard to say no to a dumpling that tastes this good. They’re downright addictive, and considering that they cost under $5, it’s a bargain. The only issue that you might have is wanting more than just six dumplings.
If you are not a fan of chicken, don’t panic. Trader Joe’s also sells a pork version of this at select stores. If the adoration that people give the chicken version is any indicator, then their pork soup dumplings will be just as big a hit. I’ve yet to try them, though.
Nutrition Facts and Ingredients
The steamed chicken soup dumplings are not vegan or gluten free. To make things easy one serving equals a whole box of dumplings which will set you back only 250 calories. They happen to be rich in protein at a plentiful 16g per package. Those with soy, sesame or wheat sensitivities should take note as these ingredients may be present from manufacturing.
What’s In the Box?
In the box you’ll get 6 steamed soup dumplings. You’ll also get a microwavable steamer tray to conveniently reheat your dumplings.
Trader Joe’s Chicken Soup Dumplings are proof that this favorite low-cost grocery chain knows how to make a killer product. If you’re a fan of Asian chicken soup, you’ll not want to miss this box next time you visit the freezer aisle.