Friday, November 21, 2008

Hsin Tung Yang - Fruit Flavored Beef Jerky

Hsin Tung Yang - Fruit Flavored Beef JerkyThe idea of fruit flavored beef jerky might seem like an oddity to us Americans, but it's a popular style of "dried beef" in asian markets. In fact, it's probably about as popular over there as the teriyaki flavoring is popular to jerky snackers here. Most of the fruit flavored jerky is flavored with strawberry.

Hsin Tung Yang is also probably the most popular, or at least one of the most widely available, brands of meat snacks in Chinese grocery stores. It got its start in Taiwan in 1967, it wasn't until 1979 that they opened up a USA-based subsidiary. Most of the chinese-style of beef jerky retailing in the States is from Hsin Tung Yang.

I've reviewed only one other strawberry flavored jerky before, and I found it to have only a faint sense of fruit flavors. I'm hoping to get a more fruitier taste with this one.


Beef, water, soy sauce, sugar, stawberry jam, green onion, spices, sodium nitrite.


The tastes I pick up off the surface of these pieces is a strong sweet taste, along with a "chinese food" aroma which is difficult for me to describe. Moving into the chewing, I can get a slight meat taste, and something more of a fruity flavor that does seem to resemble strawberry jam.

That sweetness is probably the most strongest flavor in this jerky, and is what I'd say dominates this jerky overall. That's only expected since this is billed as a fruit flavored jerky.

The strawberry jam flavoring is definitely there, but I'd say it's probably the second most strongest taste. I get it mostly in the chewing. Note that I said it tastes like strawberry jam, and not so much like fresh strawberries.

The third most strongest flavor is probably the meat flavors. The meat doesn't taste anything like American style beef jerky, it has that "chinese food" taste. I'm not sure what creates that flavor by just looking at the ingredients list, but I note that all of the asian brands I've had have this taste to it. It's not a bad taste, but definitely something unlike the American jerkies.

In terms of saltiness, it's not that salty at all, somewhat mild actually.

I don't really taste the soy sauce or green onion mentioned in the ingredients list.

Overall, it's a not bad tasting jerky, but one that I'm not all that excited about. I guess I'd have to grow up eating fruit flavored jerky in order to like it. But I think it does pass muster for being advertised as such.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced average thickness, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is a soft and tender style of jerky, being somewhat moist. It's very easy to tear apart, and very easy to chew.

It provides a steak-like chewing texture for the most part, but there's also just a bit of mushiness to it. It's a fairly clean jerky as well, leaving no residue on my fingers. While the pieces are covered in tiny meat fibers resembling something like "fur", these fibers remain stuck to the pieces due to the heavy sweet coating.

While I don't find any pieces of fat on this jerky, I do find a good deal of gristle. Every piece has a streak of gristle on it, providing a decent amount of rubbery chew.

Snack Value

I paid $1.69 for this 1.5 oz package at a 99 Ranch Market in Irvine, CA. That works out to a price of $1.13 per ounce, making this an average price buy, but at the lower end towards cheap.

For general jerky snacking purposes, it presents a great value. It's got a good deal of flavor intensity, and is very tender to eat, and even has a decent chewing texture. Though the proliference of gristle is a turn-off for me.

As a "fruit flavored" beef jerky is definitely has excellent value for being priced at this low. If for some reason you want a good deal of strawberry jam flavor with your beef jerky then I suppose you're going to get some good bang for your buck with this.


I'm giving this an average rating.

While on paper, this jerky seems to score very well, I'm just not a fan of "fruit flavored" jerky. Yes, this jerky has a good deal of flavor intensity, it definitely lives up to advertised flavor, it's not overly salty, easy-to-eat, and offers a good chewing texture. I just find the overall taste to be undesirable, and that's just my personal preference.

On a factual note, the meat consistency is rather frought with gristle, which I feel is subpar with most of the jerky brands on the market. When I reviewed the "Hot Beef Jerky" also from Hsin Tung Yang, I again found some significant gristle. It seems that the company doesn't mind gristle in their jerky.

Or maybe rubbery gristle is something that chinese jerky snackers don't mind?

Probably a good beer to drink with this is a wheat beer (hefeweizen).

Rating: Average

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