However, they should keep in mind that the best Chinese food in San Francisco consists of the above staples. "You can pull them out of a hat; they're magical.". Chinese Staple Food & Snacks. Mari Uyehara is a writer based in Brooklyn and western Massachusetts. Made by pressing lightly toasted sesame seeds, this rich, nutty oil loses its fragrance when heated. "It's salty, it's an umami bomb. If you've ever been in an Asian grocery, you've likely seen a dizzying array of dried fruits, leaves, eggs, meats, seafood, and mushrooms stored away in bins and glass jars. If you've had them for more than four or five months, they're just dead and lifeless." Established by Mr Wing Yip and his brothers, and now with two generations of our family at the helm, the company has rapidly become one of the most celebrated stores, sourcing and supplying authentic ingredients to the UK’s Chinese and Asian restaurants, discerning chefs and food enthusiasts. The spice is featured in traditional Chinese dishes, like dan dan noodles and mapo tofu. Light soy sauce is what is meant when a recipe calls for soy sauce-not to be confused with "lite," which is low-sodium. That's probably because it's so versatile! Dumpling is a dynamic dish in Chinese food. That might sound steep. I’ve also listed 3 must-have fresh ingredients, which you can often get at a grocery store. Though Chinese light soy sauces tend to be a bit darker and more intense than Japan's wheat-heavy varieties, Young recommends Kikkoman organic, which eliminates the need to stock different kinds of soy sauce for Japanese and Chinese dishes. It is surprisingly unknown amongst non-Japanese that ramen varieties are divided according to the flavour of the soup, and other than the staples of Tonkotsu, Shoyu, Miso and Shio, in each region ramen with differing characteristics can be enjoyed. Today, oyster sauce is made with oyster extract instead of actual oysters, but the maker is still the same: Lee Kum Kee was founded by Sheung and is still the preferred producer of oyster sauce today. The filling is the fun part that comes in a variety of ways. In western China, you can find halal cooking in both Xinjiang, where the Uyghur Muslim minority group predominates, and in Tibet, whose cuisine blends the flavors of neighboring India, Nepal, and Sichuan province and notably makes use of yak meat and dairy. Find the type you like and keep them on hand for quick weeknight meals, such as Pork & Snap Pea Lo Mein. It was traditionally used for seafood in Cantonese cooking—the word hoisin is derived from the word for "seafood"—but has come to be a multipurpose sauce. In an Asian grocery store, dried noodles take up an entire aisle! 8) Five-Spice Powder: You might think that the same five spices are used, but they actually vary based on producer. Get those chopsticks ready! New Top's China Restaurant offers authentic and delicious tasting Chinese cuisine in Richmond, VA. New Top's China's convenient location and affordable prices make our restaurant a natural choice for dine-in, take-out meals in the Richmond community. Wu, a Bronx-born Per Se alum, is chef-owner of the contemporary-Chinese restaurant Fung Tu. To help us narrow down our recommendations, we turned to two experts on Chinese food, Grace Young and Jonathan Wu. EatingWell may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. New Year Cake: A Southern Chinese New Year Tradition. Hoisin sauce can be used as part of a marinade, stir-fry sauce, meat glaze or as an alternative dipping sauce for dumplings and spring rolls. To rehydrate, place in a bowl and pour boiling water to cover. Wheat noodles are generally used in soups, wheat and egg noodles can be stir-fried. A full month of easy-to-make recipes and helpful meal-prep tips, this healthy meal plan sets you up for weight-loss success. "And Panda is really mediocre." Below, you'll find a short list of staple Chinese pantry ingredients (excluding rice, which is a given). 4) Rice Vinegar: There are three different types of Chinese rice vinegar: white, black and red, depending on the type of rice used to make it. Soy sauce—a Chinese invention, after all—is a key feature of cooking in China, as it is throughout East and Southeast Asia. If your pantry has room for only one piscine product, make it nam pla (fish sauce). Chinese food staples such as rice, soy sauce, noodles, tea, chili oil and tofu, and utensils such as chopsticks and the wok, can now be found worldwide. When Young was growing up and her parents talked about going on the run during the war, she always thought that if she had to go on the run, she would bring dried scallops because of the way they elevate and enrich anything they're added to. Five-spice powder is usually a combination of cinnamon, aniseed or star anise, fennel seed, Szechuan peppercorns and cloves, and occasionally salt and white pepper. Often, I even use them in place of common American ingredients, such as rice vinegar for white-wine vinegar. "It has the perfect balance of acidic vinegar tang and a caramelized sweetness that doesn't overwhelm. The short answer is, you only need 6 Chinese ingredients to get started cooking delicious Chinese food. It was here I first kindled my passion for cooking. 7) Dried Mushrooms: Also known as Chinese black mushrooms, these mushrooms are bolder in flavor than fresh mushrooms and last in the pantry for at least a year. Most reviews rate Chinese food restaurants by atmosphere, portion size, price and service. Meanwhile, in southern provinces such as Yunnan, crisp-fried insects are a delicacy, and the sour flavors of preserved foods are found in many local dishes.