The first review on Hsin Tung Yang will be on a 1 pound/16 ounce/454 gram bag of their fruit flavored beef jerky. Note that is the net weight, which includes the plastic bag that weighs 18 grams. This jerky was given to me as a gift while visiting North Arlington, New Jersey in late December 2014.
The Hsin Tung Yang brand name was launched in 1967 by the former chairman Mr. Mai Hsin-Fu, and based out of Taiwan. In 1980, they started selling their jerky in the United States to Asian supermarkets. Today, this jerky is distributed under the name of Hsin Tung Yang Foods Co. They are based out of South San Francisco, California. In 1985, the former Chairman Mr. Mai Hsin-Fu unexpectedly passed away due to high blood pressure at the age of 44. His sudden death shocked the whole industry. Despite his death, his passionate work ethic remains with the company today.
Ingredients: Beef, Water, Soy Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Wheat, Salt, Sugar, Sodium Benzoate: less than 1/10 of 1% as food preservative), Sugar, Strawberry Jam (Corn Syrup, Strawberry Puree, Sugar, Pectin, Citric Acid), Spices, Salt, Sodium Nitrite. Allergen Warnings: Soy, Wheat
The beef used is not guaranteed to be free of growth hormones or additional antibiotics. Also, the beef is not guaranteed to have at least partial free range access to graze on grass. As a result, the highest ingredient rating that can be awarded is a Good (8/10) rating.
The liquid marinade consists of water, and a not so good soy sauce brand. Strawberry jam is used to achieve the fruit flavor. It is disappointing to see the cheap and refined sweetener corn syrup used in the jam.
The sugar level is very high at 10 grams of sugar per 28 grams of jerky. Assuming the jerky weight was 1 pound/16 ounces/454 grams, that would be a whopping 162 grams of sugar. Our preference is 3 grams of sugar or under per 28 grams of jerky. The salt level is reasonable at 330mg per 28 grams of jerky.
This jerky does use unhealthy sodium nitrite as the main preservative, apart from salt. With that said, these jerky strips are brown in color. If lots of sodium nitrite were used, the strips would have a pinkish hue. Admirably, this jerky does qualify to have no MSG added.
Being kept inside a vacuum sealed bag, these jerky strips are stuck together in one big pile. It is actually challenging to break off the individual strips in their original size, which are sliced to a medium thickness. This jerky has a soft and tender texture, where the strips tear easily. Handling this jerky does leave some oily residue on your fingers.
The fruity taste is detected first, which remains at a decent level. It does not take long to taste sugar, at a way too high level. There is little natural beef flavor, which is dominated by the sweetness. Being so sweet, it’s hard to detect the soy flavor. The salt level is moderate, and there is an unusual spice used that may be cinnamon. Overall, not our type of flavor.
With this jerky being a gift, the price paid is unknown. Based on their web site, this 1 pound/16 ounce/454 gram bag sells online for $20. That works out to a very cheap price of $1.25 per ounce. From both an ingredient and taste perspective this jerky is not worth your money.
This jerky comes inside a box. There is a sturdy plastic bag that is vacuum sealed, which is an effective way to preserve jerky. If a thinner vacuum sealed bag were to get pierced by a piece of jerky, it would cause problems.
There appears to be Mandarin translations for some of the things printed on the bag. There are no apparent slogans, unless you include “Since 1967”. Some facts printed on this bag are “No MSG Added”, “Product U.S.A.”, and “Refrigerate After Opening”.
The majority of bag categories are covered here. Missing is a best before date, which is annoying. There is a small sticker on the box that could have the batch number. Also missing is a blurb about the brand name and flavor.