Spoiler alert: Food from a local restaurant will always be better than food from Trader Joe’s. That being said, sometimes you don’t have the funds to eat out and need a delicious, filling meal for a couple of bucks. In this series, we’ll find out if Trader Joe’s rendition of a dish will get the job done or if it will just make you miss the real deal even more.
This week we’re trying potstickers from two different places: Trader Joe’s and a local Chinese restaurant. While we at Sporked love Trader Joe’s selection of dumplings, dumplings from a Chinese restaurant are one of my favorite foods. Can TJ’s delicate pockets of meat compare to a true, hand-folded delicacy? Let’s find out!
Takeout: Chicken Potstickers
($10.99 + Tax & Tip for 10 Dumplings)
Nothing beats a dumpling. They’re one of my most ordered dishes of all time when it comes to takeout. The ones we tried in this head-to-head battle had a supple wrapper, a mild and meaty filling, and a strong umami flavor. The dumpling sauce they came with was sweet, salty, and sticky. It was the perfect complement to the fatty dumplings.
But, after traveling to the office, the edges of the wrapper got a little dry. The potstickers stuck together, causing the skins to rip when I tried to separate them. Nothing that’s a dealbreaker by any means, but something to take into consideration. Plus, you’re paying a lot more for a lot less.
Trader Joe’s: Chicken Gyoza Potstickers
($3.99 for 16 Oz)
You get so many dumplings for so little money and it absolutely rules. And it’s not just quantity when it comes to Trader Joe’s potstickers. The quality is there too! The filling is super meaty and gets a nice crispness from the cabbage. Plus, there’s a wonderful peppery flavor that I just love. I will definitely buy these again in the future.
The most prominent potential problem is user error. Don’t microwave them correctly? They’ll get super dry. Cooking them in a pan? Be careful! It’s easy to rip the dumpling wrapper. Boiling them? Do it too long and you’ll be eating the filling separate from the dumpling skin because you’re dumplings will have exploded. Additionally, these do not come with their own dipping sauce. Takeout dumplings always do.
This is our first tie! Restaurant potstickers would most likely win if we were enjoying them in them on-site, but we’re not! This is TJ’s vs. Takeout and in the process of taking out the potstickers, they have a little dip in quality. Both feature a delicious, meaty filling that has a pleasant cabbage crunch and a delicate dumpling skin. I would happily eat either for any meal, any day of the week. Whichever route you choose, you are in good hands!