Trader Joe’s Chicken Shu Mai Review

Trader Joe's Chicken Shu Mai

Shu mai, or shaomai, is a type of traditional Chinese dumpling which is said to have originated in the Hohhot region of Mongolia. These little treats can be filled with seafood, chives, or even pumpkin, but the Trader Joe’s Chicken Shu Mai uses chicken (as the name implies).

All of the shu mai comes in a sealed plastic bag, which also contains a sauce packet. The box says to expect about 18 in a package, and ours had exactly that.

Trader Joe's Chicken Shu Mai

The included  soy sauce comes in a single packet, which must be thawed separately from the shu mai. We had to use a scissors to open the packet, after several failed attempts at using our teeth. We’re not sure how you’re supposed to break this into multiple servings, since the package would be difficult to reseal without spilling it all over the place. Also, we think it would have been convenient to have this in a little dipping cup rather than a packet.

Ultimately, though, there is simply way too much sauce. You’ll never need to use all of it, so you’re going to end up tossing probably half of it out after your shu mai is gone, unless you figure out a way to store your leftovers. (The only thing we’ve come up with is that you could save an empty soy bottle and carefully pour your leftover soy sauce into the bottle to save it for later.)

Trader Joe's Chicken Shu Mai

There are two ways to cook these: on the stovetop or in a microwave. We tried the microwave first, which had us sprinkle some water on top of some shu mai, then cook it for a minute and a half to two minutes. Ours came out a bit cold in the middle so we ended up cooking them for a total of three minutes.

In the microwave, these do come out a little bit rubbery. You’ll also want to gobble these up pretty quickly, because the edges dry out and get crusty after they sit for just a few minutes.

We decided to also try the stovetop method. This time, we put some oil in a heated pan, then tossed the shu mai in. We covered them up and cooked for just a few minutes. Be careful if you decide to use this cooking method, as the oil tends to splatter when you stick the shu mai into the pan. We wouldn’t want any of our lovely readers burning themselves!

Trader Joe's Chicken Shu Mai

Unfortunately, using this cooking method, the bottoms burned while the insides stayed frozen. The consistency was less rubbery, but it’s probably not enough to make the stovetop method worthwhile. We ended up tossing these into the microwave after we ate one and found it to be cold in the center.

We can’t imagine eating these without the soy sauce, because they’re pretty bland on their own. The sauce really does transform them into a craveable treat, though, as long as you don’t use too much. The perfect amount of soy is just lightly dipping the bottom of a piece of shu mai in a dribbling of sauce.

According to the box, a suggested serving size is six, and there are three servings per box (for a total of 18 dumplings). One serving has 140 calories (30 from fat), so even if you gulp down the whole box in one sitting, you’ll only be consuming about 420 calories (120 from fat). Of course, the serving size also has 740 mg of sodium, giving the whole box 2,220 mg of sodium — which is insane. You’ll definitely want to stay away from these if you’re trying to keep your sodium levels low.

Trader Joe’s Chicken Shu Mai is an alright treat, but we’re having trouble getting excited about it. These little dumplings are not bad, but they’re not really that good either. And the soy sauce situation is bad enough that it adds a whole lot of effort to something that should otherwise be pretty easy. Simply put, there are simply better options for satisfying a craving for Chinese dumplings.

To learn more about the nutrition content or ingredients in this Trader Joe’s frozen food, check out our package scan below.

Trader Joe's Chicken Shu Mai