Taste test: Frozen shrimp tempura

Taster's Choice | Frozen shrimp tempura

My family members love the light and airy breading on Japanese-style shrimp tempura. But, after countless efforts of mixing wheat flour and really cold water, I decided it was easier to order takeout. That was until I started noticing frozen shrimp tempura in local grocery stores. At first, I only spotted one brand. Lately, though, we've started seeing the frozen shrimp everywhere we've shopped. Taster's Choice tried four brands of shrimp tempura and found a couple we'll be warming in our ovens this holiday season, once we've had our fill of traditional meals. Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)

SeaPak/64

Great Value/46

Tiger Thai/41

Blue Horizon/19

Product serving size

4.1 ounces

4 ounces

1.6 ounces

3 ounces

Calories

240

270

70

160

Fat/fiber

8g / 7g

14g / 1g

3g / 0g

1.5g / 1g

Sugars/sodium

13g / 570mg

3g / 760mg

0g / 50mg

0g / 290mg

Carbs/protein

35g / 9g

29g / 7g

7g / 3g

22g / 15g

Judges'

comments

SeaPak

It's an oxymoron, but these shrimp were big. Judges liked the pale golden color, the crunchy coating and the nonfishy flavor. They were greasy, but, as our judges allowed, they were fried, after all. "I like the nice tail to hold," one panelist said. Another said, "These could be from a Japanese restaurant — they are excellent!"

Great Value

The shrimp were the real attraction here. Judges said they were fresh, firm and fabulous. One judge said, "You have to like this batter!" A couple of panelists raved about the light oil flavor. "It makes the fish taste like it's right out of the pan," one said. Another said, "These look like catered shrimp at a very nice wedding rehearsal supper."

Tiger Thai

Beautiful and big were words judges used to describe these shrimp. "They also have a nice, big flavor," one said. "These are the fullest shrimp with beautiful fanned tails that remind me of Daryl Hannah in Splash," another said.

Blue Horizon

Blue Horizon's shrimp seemed to be minced. The batter was soft, rather than crisp, and a bit soggy, even after baking in the oven. Judges said they were too salty. But, for those who prefer a smooth, rather than crunchy, tempura taste, these shrimp would work.

Would

they buy?

SeaPak

Two of the four judges said yes.

Great Value

Two of the four judges said yes.

Tiger Thai

Two of the four judges said yes.

Blue Horizon

None of the judges said yes.

Shopping information

Sea Pak

$7.59 for an 8.2-ounce box from Publix.

Great Value

$4.98 for a 12-ounce box from Walmart.

Tiger Thai

$7.99 for an 8-ounce box from Publix.

Blue Horizon

$3.99 for an 8-ounce box from Target.

Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute in St. Petersburg; and Janet Peterson, consumer and mother of two. All foods were tasted blind.

Product Serving size 4.1 ounces 4 ounces 1.6 ounces 3 ounces
Calories 240 270 70 160
Fat/Fiber 8g / 7g 14g / 1g 3g / 0g 1.5g / 1g
Sugars/Sodium 13g / 570mg 3g / 760mg 0g / 50mg 0g / 290mg
Carbs/Protein 35g / 9g 29g / 7g 7g / 3g 22g / 15g


My family members love the light and airy breading on Japanese-style shrimp tempura. But, after countless efforts of mixing wheat flour and really cold water, I decided it was easier to order takeout. That was until I started noticing frozen shrimp tempura in local grocery stores. At first, I only spotted one brand. Lately, though, we've started seeing the frozen shrimp everywhere we've shopped. Taster's Choice tried four brands of shrimp tempura and found a couple we'll be warming in our ovens this holiday season, once we've had our fill of traditional meals.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
SeaPak: 64Great Value: 46Tiger Thai: 41Blue Horizon: 19
Judges'

comments
It's an oxymoron, but these shrimp were big. Judges liked the pale golden color, the crunchy coating and the nonfishy flavor. They were greasy, but, as our judges allowed, they were fried, after all. "I like the nice tail to hold," one panelist said. Another said, "These could be from a Japanese restaurant — they are excellent!"The shrimp were the real attraction here. Judges said they were fresh, firm and fabulous. One judge said, "You have to like this batter!" A couple of panelists raved about the light oil flavor. "It makes the fish taste like it's right out of the pan," one said. Another said, "These look like catered shrimp at a very nice wedding rehearsal supper."Beautiful and big were words judges used to describe these shrimp. "They also have a nice, big flavor," one said. "These are the fullest shrimp with beautiful fanned tails that remind me of Daryl Hannah in Splash," another said.Blue Horizon's shrimp seemed to be minced. The batter was soft, rather than crisp, and a bit soggy, even after baking in the oven. Judges said they were too salty. But, for those who prefer a smooth, rather than crunchy, tempura taste, these shrimp would work.
Would

they buy?
Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.None of the judges said yes.
Shopping information$7.59 for an 8.2-ounce box from Publix.$4.98 for a 12-ounce box from Walmart.$7.99 for an 8-ounce box from Publix.$3.99 for an 8-ounce box from Target.


Panelists: Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute in St. Petersburg; and Janet Peterson, consumer and mother of two. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: Frozen shrimp tempura 12/21/10 [Last modified: Monday, December 27, 2010 4:27pm]

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