Best Bets: Humdingers Shrimp

Humdingers Shrimp.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Humdingers Shrimp.

I tried Humdingers Shrimp at the Humdingers restaurant food station at the recent Oscar Night America 2011 at Minglewood Hall. The annual benefit for Ronald McDonald House Charities featured a dozen area restaurants that were encouraged to decorate their booth with a movie theme. Humdingers chose “Toy Story.”

I loved their shrimp, which was served with Asian slaw. A week or so later, I stopped by the Humdingers on Poplar for more. The appetizer sells for $7.49 every day except Wednesday, when it’s on special all day for $3.99.

In the booth next to me were George and Tommie Renard and their grown-up children Debbie and Keith Renard, a Memphis photographer. They all were holding cell phones. “Teaching seniors to use an iPhone — that’s the purpose of the dinner,” explained Tommie, 74.

Keith is a fan of Humdingers Shrimp. He likes the seasoning.

My order was delicious. The shrimp is slightly sweet, slightly salty and easy to eat with chopsticks.

I asked the servers what they thought about Humdingers Shrimp. Sean Hannah said the slaw adds an “Asian zing to it.” Justin Hayes said, “Something about the sauce, man.” And the slaw has “a good kick.” Kacey Younts went through a period where he ate Humdingers Shrimp two months straight. “If the saying is true, ‘You are what you eat,’ I’d be a Humdingers Shrimp,” he said.

Michael DeVillers, Humdingers’ founder, came up with the recipe, said manager Richard McClure. The shrimp is dipped in buttermilk and then breaded in a mixture that includes Humdingers’ special piri-piri spice. It’s then lightly deep-fried and tossed in a spicy sweet Thai chili aoli and served on a bed of Asian slaw, which is “not the sugary, milky slaw,” but a crunchy slaw made with cabbage, cilantro and Asian spices.

I almost ordered a second helping of Humdingers Shrimp, but I stopped myself.

Meanwhile, the Renards were packing up their cell phones. The dinner/lesson was a hit; the couple successfully read their first text message from Debbie that said, “We love you.”

One last note: Humdingers Shrimp took home the prize for best food at Oscar Night America. The restaurant didn’t get a golden Academy Award statue, but it did get the “Food Star Award,” a framed plaque of a handprint.

Humdingers is at 6300 Poplar, 260-8292; and 1134 North Germantown Parkway, Suite 106, in Cordova, 271-2912.

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