The Golden Island brand actually goes back to 1952 when Chun Fa Shih and his family opened a small market in Taiwan, and by 1970 the business had grown quickly. His son, Eric Shih, moved to the USA and set up a meat processing facility in Hull, IA, making asian-style meat products. In 1995, another of his sons, Ting Shih, came to Southern California and set up Formosa Meat Co., specifically to make jerky. In 2005, Formosa launched the Golden Island brand, and is now sold across the USA at Costco.
This Mandarin Orange beef jerky is actually one of the brand's original flavors, which I had reviewed before (visit link). I'm reviewing it again based on its new recipe and processing.
Beef, sugar, gluten-free soy sauce, soybean oil with ctric acid, corn syrup, mirin wine, orange juice, pineapple juice, spices, salt, orange powder, pineapple powder.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a strong citrus and sweet flavor, followed by an asian-style flavor, much like from chinese dish of orange beef.
The chewing flavor starts with some of the natural meat flavors, adding in a little tanginess, and more definition of that chinese-style orange beef. There's clearly an oily flavor, perhaps the soybean oil.
For being marketed as "Mandarin Orange" beef jerky, it certainly fits the bill. I do get a lot of the mandarin orange flavor in all of its tangy, citrus, sweetness. There's even some of orange aroma coming from this too.
Otherwise, the flavors that primarily define this jerky is starts with the mandarin orange flavor, but quickly evolves into something reminiscent of orange beef or orange chicken, the kind of dish you find at chinese restaurants. It has that same sweet, sticky, tangy, citrus sauce flavor. It even mimics the flavor of the breading that coats the chunks of meat in that dish.
The natural meat flavors do make a showing in this, but mostly towards the end of chewing after much of the other flavors wear off. They impart a cooked flavor, very much like well-done cooked steak.
The level of saltiness in this feels to be moderate.
Overall, it's a very mild jerky, not spicy or hot at all. It's packed with tangy, sweet, citrus flavors, but also mimicking the flavor of chinese-style orange beef.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced into slabs of small to medium sizes, and sliced medium thickness.
This is a moist jerky with semi-moist, sticky, and oily surface feel. These slabs are very flexible. Chewing is largely easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and tender. There's very little chewing resistance, and quickly breaks down in the first few chews. It takes on a meaty feel right away, and by the time its chewed down to a soft mass, it feels very much like real meat, but well cooked.
I don't see any visible signs of fat on these slabs, though I did feel and taste a little bit of it. I did find some significant chewy, rubbery gristle in one slab, and did my best to just swallow it down. I didn't find any stringiness.
In terms of clean eating, my fingers pick up a fair amount of sticky, oily residue enough to require a licking and wiping before touching the keyboard.
Golden Island sells this Mandarin Orange beef jerky from their website at a price of $6.00 per 4oz package. If you buy six packages, shipping runs $5.30 when delivered to Southern California. That works out to a price of $2.29 per ounce.
For general jerky snacking purposes, at the $2.29 per ounce price, it's a good value. I'm getting a lot of good flavor, decent meat consistency, and good chewing texture. Compared to other major brands, this has much better snackability for similar to slightly higher price.
As a Mandarin Orange variety of beef jerky, at the same $2.29 per ounce price, it's also a good value. I'm getting a lot of the mandarin orange flavors, its sweet, tangy, citrus flavor, but mimicking the famous Chinese orange beef dish.
This Mandarin Orange beef jerky from Golden Island has an amazing flavor that tastes just like orange beef or orange chicken dish you find at Chinese Restaurants. It has the same sweet, sticky, tangy, citrus sauce flavor, and even seems to mimic the taste of the breading that coats the meat.
But it also does good job as a jerky, providing a meaty chewing texture, and offering a light natural meat flavor. I didn't, however, like the big chunk of rubbery gristle I found.
Of all the jerky brands I've had that tried to impart an asian-style flavor, this does a very good job. You could even toss this jerky into some stir-fry, and it'd be good.
Buy this online: