It’s Dollary Duesday time, and that can only mean one thing: Heading back to the only store where lead paint isn’t just a condiment, it’s a way of life. But not everything in the Dollar General food bin is a rough conglomeration of compost, wood chips, and concentrated botulism sweetened with aspartame, and occasionally the Dollar Store comes out with something that’s not just safe to eat, but downright tasty.
Take for example the Bon Vivant Kitchens Shrimp Tempuras, brought to us by the culinary minds at Bon Vivant. Bon Vivant is a kitchen store that sells appliances, kitchenware, and actually offers cooking classes to the youth and adults. So they know how to make a good shrimp tempura, flash freeze it, and put it on sale for a buck. Maybe they can teach Chef’s Request how to not gutter oil to make their food.
The Shameless Consumer meant to review this product a good two years or so ago, and found it to be a rather tasty slurry of meat. I picked up a box of the shrimp on my rounds grabbing another set of review items that will never be published and found that Bon Vivant has actually changed the recipe since then. It still contains mostly shrimp.
Bon Vivant’s shrimp tempura is not a shrimp that has been tempura’d and fried, I don’t think anyone would expect such out of a dollar store product. You get six “shrimps” in a pack, each approximately the size of an adult thumb. The meat inside is a combination of shrimp, squid, fish, and other seafood edibles encased in a tasty, crispy, exterior of what appears to be knockoff Rice Krispies.
It also has no microwave instructions, so you know this product is the real deal. Protip: You should never microwave seafood. Ever. Just don’t. It’s actually a crime in the geneva conventions, you can trust me enough to not look it up yourself.
The best comparison I can give to the texture of the meat is fake crab, which makes sense since the two ingredient lists are virtually identical, except this one has fake crab. In fact, as I chowed down on the six shrimps, it dawned upon me that the filling meat is almost identical to imitation crab meat, with a little more fishy/squidy flavor. If you peel apart the shrimps, it has that same layered sort of texture.
And I should note that I’m not giving this a higher score on the grounds that it’s a decent item in a sea of sickness and Chinese poison masquerading as the food section of the Dollar General, this is a quality product that stands on its own. If Bon Vivant had sold larger packs in the regular grocery store, I’d buy them. I make it a habit to pick up a few boxes of these whenever I happen to be there.
That being said, I would never eat shrimp tempura on its own when the opportunity to pair it with a nice cocktail sauce arises. I recommend of course that you purchase a cocktail sauce with horseradish because it’s delicious.
Nutrition-wise, Bon Vivant’s shrimp are high in fat (25%, 35% saturated), have a decent amount of sodium (14%), and if you poke around deep enough you might find some iron and calcium. Otherwise this isn’t bad for a fried food.
Verdict: 4.5/5 – My only complaint is that these shrimps have a habit of unevenly cooking.