When planning my Trader Joe’s shopping list, I often get ideas about what to buy from a social media fan group I belong to. It’s how I’ve discovered certain products at Aldi’s cousin, such as their “sublime” ice cream sandwiches, shelf-stable whipping cream, shampoo bar, and tempura shrimp.
In recent months, I’ve seen a lot of discussion about Trader Joe’s newer Kalua Pork Spring Rolls. (TJ’s also sells more traditional spring rolls.) People seem to either love or hate the Kalua Pork Spring Rolls. The fuss is primarily about a natural hickory smoke flavor in the spring rolls, and some people just don’t like the flavor.
I picked up a box so I could try them for myself.
Trader Joe’s Kalua Pork Spring Rolls cost $4.79 at the time of publication for an 8-ounce box containing four spring rolls. That comes out to about $1.20 per roll. The package describes them as “a Hawaiian inspired spring roll with smoke flavored pork and vegetables.” You can find them in the freezer aisle.
Ingredients include pork picnic shoulder, spring roll pastry, green cabbage, yellow onion, carrot, Asian glass noodles (potato starch, pea starch, mung bean flour, water), green onion, soy sauce, garlic, wheat flour, natural hickory smoke flavor, black pepper, salt, white pepper, and sugar. The spring rolls are fried in soybean oil.
If you’re looking out for allergens, these contain milk, soy, wheat, and coconut.
A two-spring roll serving (113 grams) has 290 calories, 14 grams of total fat (18% DV), 3 grams of saturated fat (15% DV), 15 mg of cholesterol (5% DV), 500 mg of sodium (22% DV), 33 grams of total carbohydrates (12% DV), 2 grams of dietary fiber (7% DV), 3 grams of total sugars, no added sugars (at least not enough to count on the nutrition panel), and 8 grams of protein.
The box has directions for heating these in a conventional oven or in an air fryer.
To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place desired number of spring rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the tray in the middle rack of the oven and heat for 17-20 minutes, turning halfway, until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Allow to cool for 3 minutes before serving.
To air fry, preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Place desired number of spring rolls on the cooking tray and heat for 10 minutes, turning halfway, until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Allow to cool for 3 minutes before serving.
I chose to air fry these spring rolls, and they turned out crisp and hot after just 10 minutes in the air fryer, as advertised.
I thought these were quite good. The smoky-flavored pork is there, but I don’t think the smoke flavor is overpowering. I though the Asian glass noodles were a nice addition, as were the other veggies such as shredded cabbage.
These don’t taste like traditional spring rolls you might get from your local takeout restaurant, so I would recommend serving them alongside something other than typical Chinese-American food such as mandarin orange chicken and the like. I enjoyed eating these for lunch with a nice garden side salad, and I’d consider buying these again.
Trader Joe’s Kalua Pork Spring Rolls are a twist on a traditional spring roll. They still have the crispy wrapper and shredded veggies that are classic components of spring rolls, but they also feature pork with a natural hickory smoke flavor, and they contain Asian glass noodles. Not everyone likes the smoke flavor, but I liked these. If you enjoy smoked meats, these are worth a try.