Kickin’ Hunan Chicken, Thai Chili Lime, Gypsy Chicken – the list of flavors at Tinys Best is quite lengthy and there are only more gems to come. I recently made my way over to the store in Studio 5 to sample a couple of the beef jerky products made in their small, and somewhat hidden kitchen, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food.
For such a “macho manly man” food, it is also an incredibly delicate process to make top-notch jerky. The meat, imported from Australia, is marinated for 12 hours before put into a dehydrator for another 12 hours. Then, the jerky is allowed to dry out for another day in order to prevent any moisture when it is placed in the bags, which could result in mold. The taste is based off of store owner Clay Roup’s memory of his childhood hard tack beef jerky days, paired with research and recommendations from others online.
As for the ingredients, the jerky is nitrate free and healthy. Whether it’s the Milano Chicken Jerky, which is marinated in a combination of five Italian spices, salt, and pepper, or the Gypsy Chicken Jerky, made from fresh red pepper, onion, curry powder, chili pepper, and garlic, the ingredients go straight from the market into the marinade and onto the meat. And whatever was in the marinade did the trick – I got my hands on a bag of the Original Beef Jerky and polished off a few too many pieces of it.
But getting your hands on the jerky is not the easiest process at the moment. Tucked into a small shop in Studio 5 near Yongkang Road’s bustling bar street, entrants need a code to get access to the area. However, Tinys Best is also selling at partner stores at the moment and can be found selling the jerky at school baseball games and Softball Sundays in Shanghai. And for those lucky enough to try the jerky, they are in for a treat. Roup said people’s most common reaction about the Kickin’ Hunan Chicken: “Holy cow!” (Seems like the Tinys Best customers need to review of their animals…)
Roup hopes to get the product in CityShop in the near future but in the meantime, will be perfecting the jerky-making process and experimenting with more flavors. Starting in November, jerky lovers can expect a new flavor each month.
169 Jiashan Lu, between Yongjia and Jianguo Lu, Xuhui district. (嘉善路169 号, 靠近永嘉路和建国路).
By Charlotte Evans
Charlotte Evans is a contributor for Shanghaiist’s Food Section.
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