Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Trader Joe's Sriracha Hummus
This is a brand-new item at Trader Joe's; they haven't even put up a product introduction on their web site yet.
My first impression was not good. Though the texture was nice--smooth and creamy--I thought it tasted like plain hummus into which somebody had mixed some generic sriracha sauce, and too much of it.
By coincidence, the day before I saw the first tweets from people discovering this item on the TJ's shelves (which is how I most often learn about new things), I had been in our local Harris-Teeter store and happened upon a brand of hummus I had never noticed before: Tribe. I bought a tub of their "Fiery Sriracha" variety. So of course it was obvious that I had to do a comparison between that and this new TJ's stuff. Despite my mediocre first impression of the TJ's, I liked it a lot more than the Tribe, which I thought tasted way off, and somehow artificial.
I had more of the TJ's on two subsequent occasions, and liked it better each time. By the third tasting, when Nina was here for dinner, I was genuinely enjoying it.
In retrospect, I wonder if it was suffering simply because it wasn't the same as what have become two of my favorite hummus flavors--the hottest versions of Roots brand, which is made here in Asheville. They have a "Hot Chipotle" and a "Mango Sriracha," both of which I love to a wholly unreasonable degree. The latter, I think, may have set in my mind an ideal of what a sriracha hummus should be, and the TJ's wasn't that. Well, of course it wasn't! It lacked the mango component, which nicely balances the sriracha heat with the cool, fruity sweetness of mango.
I think it took me three tries to get that out of my head and evaluate the TJ's on its own merits, at which point I found that I liked it quite a bit. Still not as much as my home-team favorites, but definitely enough to give it at least a second try.
Will I buy it again?
Yes, on my very next TJ's run. The tub was almost empty by the time I was warming up to it, so I need to take another stab at it.
Update, February 29, 2016
I had another go at it. I did like it, but not enough to buy it again. I think it's a bit too garlicky for my taste. And to have all that heat with nothing to cut it (the way the wonderful mango sriracha that I'm used to does) limits how much I want to keep eating. It's not bad, but it's just short of being good enough to keep in my regular rotation.