We’ve all struggled with making the Asian food at home taste exactly like the one we had at our favorite take out place. That’s because most of the time we don’t have authentic Asian ingredients that are so seminal to the East Asian cuisine and make it taste just like it’s out of an Asian home or restaurant.
According to Andrew Coe, a historian, Americans first traveled to China in the year 1784, bringing back with them many cultural delicacies, which later mushroomed into prominence when the Bohemians of New York starting frequenting China Towns.
In an interview, the writer of the book Chop Suey: A Cultural History of Chinese Food in the United States, the author narrates how it is also the presence of Chinese students in the United States that makes Chinese food such an elementary part of the new American culture.
It’s a no brainer, then, that you love Asian food—after all, what’s not to love about the cuisine? But do you know which ingredients you absolutely need if you’re going Asian grocery shopping? You probably have soy sauce, and maybe fish sauce, somewhere in your kitchen, but that’s not all you need! If you have no idea what to get, we’re here to tell you!
Sesame Oil, Pure
The reason sesame oil made this list and soy sauce didn’t is because soy sauce is available in most stores over town. Sesame oil, however, is a special ingredient only available at Asian food stores, and it is from there that you must buy it since there’ll be no question of getting it wrong. We suggest Kadoya’s Pure Sesame Oil, a brand that is only available in Asian stores. The oil forms the base for a ton of Asian dishes, and is something you simply cannot do without. Remember that in the Asian cuisine, there’s a trinity that sits at the base of all dishes: soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar.
Gochujang is something you’ve always wanted to be: hot. Red and viscous, the usual Westerner would regard this ingredient with fear and apprehension because it looks spicy to the third degree—and it is. A hot (duh!) red pepper paste, gochujang is an item you most definitely need in your kitchen if you’re one for quick fix Asian dinners. It goes in everything except for desserts: from soup to sauces, stews to major dishes. You can even use it as a dip—if you really like living dangerously. We suggest you keep a good stash of gochujang stored somewhere safe at your place.
It’s so easy to throw a couple of nicely diced vegetables into a pot with generous chunks of meat or chicken and to let it stew for some time. For seasoning, most Asian food aficionados go with a packet of curry sauce or powder and devour the irresistible stew with steaming rice. It’s straight up comfort food for the soul.
Of course the list is incomplete without noodles, and in this case soba noodles for the true Asian inspired dish. You can find a whole range of buckwheat noodles at an Asian store, and the best part about these noodles is that they’re absolutely gluten-free. Get them as thin or as thick as you like!
Ready to Shop?
Start browsing the amazing Asian food and grocery collection at Season Food Mart, an online store that delivers groceries to California residents. Find Chinese, Japanese, and Korean ingredients, snacks, and more. Contact us for more information today.
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