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Thread: what to buy at an Asian food market?

  1. #1
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    what to buy at an Asian food market?

    Hello! We went to a HUGE Asian food market yesterday (in Houston area). We'd been there before but it had been awhile...it was quite an adventure and the kids loved seeing the live frogs (yes, for eating!), and the huge variety of fish. The place was packed so I think the quality of the fresh fish is good...it looked really good and no fishy smell at all--guessing by the crowd there is probably a pretty big turnover.

    Anyway, we were totall overwhelmed by the selection of the entire store.

    Here's what we ended up buying:
    Live blue crab (had for dinner last night)
    Pork & Veg. Dumplings (frozen)
    Edamame (both shelled and some still in pods--my kids LOVE these!)
    Dumpling sauce (two bottles--hot & mild)
    Asian pears
    Baby bananas (the little tiny, tiny ones)
    Dried mushrooms (not sure what variety--they were sampling them cooked though)
    Rice noodles
    Tofu sauce (a box mix thing they were sampling)
    Pad Tai stir fry mix (for DH to take to work)
    White Peony tea
    Dragonwell Green Tea (loose, in a vacumn sealed box)
    Jasmine Tea (in a vacumn sealed tin)

    For those of you that have shopped at places like that how do you decide what to buy? Do you have recipes going in? Most of the stuff is written in Chinese or another language so reading the packages is tough.

    What are your favorite Asian recipes? We like Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese (including sushi) and some Thai foods. Our kids (ages 3 & 6) eat most of these too--they can even use chopsticks!

    Just wondering if anyone has any advice for venturing back there again! TIA for your help.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by brendat4 View Post
    Hello! We went to a HUGE Asian food market yesterday (in Houston area). We'd been there before but it had been awhile...it was quite an adventure and the kids loved seeing the live frogs (yes, for eating!), and the huge variety of fish. The place was packed so I think the quality of the fresh fish is good...it looked really good and no fishy smell at all--guessing by the crowd there is probably a pretty big turnover.

    Anyway, we were totall overwhelmed by the selection of the entire store.

    Here's what we ended up buying:
    Live blue crab (had for dinner last night)
    Pork & Veg. Dumplings (frozen)
    Edamame (both shelled and some still in pods--my kids LOVE these!)
    Dumpling sauce (two bottles--hot & mild)
    Asian pears
    Baby bananas (the little tiny, tiny ones)
    Dried mushrooms (not sure what variety--they were sampling them cooked though)
    Rice noodles
    Tofu sauce (a box mix thing they were sampling)
    Pad Tai stir fry mix (for DH to take to work)
    White Peony tea
    Dragonwell Green Tea (loose, in a vacumn sealed box)
    Jasmine Tea (in a vacumn sealed tin)

    For those of you that have shopped at places like that how do you decide what to buy? Do you have recipes going in? Most of the stuff is written in Chinese or another language so reading the packages is tough.

    What are your favorite Asian recipes? We like Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese (including sushi) and some Thai foods. Our kids (ages 3 & 6) eat most of these too--they can even use chopsticks!

    Just wondering if anyone has any advice for venturing back there again! TIA for your help.
    I keep a pretty well stocked SE Asian pantry. I would always have on hand Squid fish sauce, 3 Crabs fish sauce, palm sugar in a glass jar, Thai shrimp paste, frozen galangal, frozen turmeric root, frozen rhizome, Mai Ploy coconut milk (big can), Chakoah coconut milk, a whole bunch of soy sauces--Pearl River Superior Dark, Thai Mushroom, ABC Kecap Manis, Koon Chun Double Black Soy Sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, daun salam leaves (dried), frozen or fresh kaffir lime leaves, kffir lime itself if they have it (you can freeze the peel), candlenuts, jasmine rice, sticky sweet black Thai rice, Thai sticky sweet white rice, rice noodles--wide, thin and vermicelli... I am out of time, but you get the idea. Hope this helps!
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  3. #3
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    I shop at Asian grocery stores regularly but don't do the authentic Asian cooking lj2r does - it just seems that half my dishes have an Asian "accent" so I don't buy anything terribly exotic (and my stomach turns every time I pass the barrel of frogs!). I shop there because it's convenient and much cheaper than regular grocery stores. I buy chile-bean sauce, toasted sesame oil, basically all manner of Chinese condiments, fresh and dried noodles (rice, mung bean, udon, soba), straw mushrooms, dashi, gomasio, frozen dumplings, edamame, pea shoots.

    There are so many kinds of toasted sesame oil, garli-chile paste and such that I sometimes just ask someone who looks like a serious shopper what her preferred brand is.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  4. #4
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    Gee, I'm not that accomplished as an asian cook, either! I do love our big asian market in Tampa, though. I could just .wander around in there for hours!
    My #1 favorite thing to buy there is the crystallized ginger. I can get a good-sized bag for $1.99! I also stock up on sauces and tea. They have an amazing produce department and I'm told their Peking Duck is wonderful. If I can get there on Wednesday I might just have it for DH for Valentine's supper!
    Lynne


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljt2r View Post
    I keep a pretty well stocked SE Asian pantry. I would always have on hand Squid fish sauce, 3 Crabs fish sauce, palm sugar in a glass jar, Thai shrimp paste, frozen galangal, frozen turmeric root, frozen rhizome, Mai Ploy coconut milk (big can), Chakoah coconut milk, a whole bunch of soy sauces--Pearl River Superior Dark, Thai Mushroom, ABC Kecap Manis, Koon Chun Double Black Soy Sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, daun salam leaves (dried), frozen or fresh kaffir lime leaves, kffir lime itself if they have it (you can freeze the peel), candlenuts, jasmine rice, sticky sweet black Thai rice, Thai sticky sweet white rice, rice noodles--wide, thin and vermicelli... I am out of time, but you get the idea. Hope this helps!
    Please tell me about the various soy sauces you use. I use your basic Kikkoman and tamari (which I love), but I'd love to hear about the double black amd superior dark. Are they hard-core for true Asian chefs?
    Just another Susan

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  6. #6
    By far the best value I get at our Asian market is dried shiitake mushrooms. They are about $1 for 12 oz. in the Japanese aisle. I'm afraid to see how much they go for at Whole Foods. I also find some other excellent bargains on things like big bags of shallots. I like to buy mushroom soy sauce and inexpensive rice vinegar. Other things I buy:

    rice paper
    rice noodles
    kombu (type of seaweed I use for pressure cooking beans)
    sesame oil
    jasmine rice
    miso
    wasabi peas (my personal snack food weakness)

    I also try to buy one new-to-me product each time. They have a bakery with all sorts of interesting items and some really unusual candies.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by little_bopeep View Post
    Please tell me about the various soy sauces you use. I use your basic Kikkoman and tamari (which I love), but I'd love to hear about the double black amd superior dark. Are they hard-core for true Asian chefs?
    Depends on the cuisine. Kecap manis is a syrupy sweet, really yummy soy sauce used in Thai and Indonesian cooking (among others--and really it is a sub for a similar soy sauce in Thai cooking). It is by far and away my favorite. Double black is used in Malaysian and maybe also Indonesian--it is very thick, very slightly sweet. Could also be used in Chinese--I don't cook much Chinese, so I don't really know. The superior dark is my go to soy sauce for authentic cooking, but not dipping (i.e., when I have sushi I use Kikkoman's--I am pretty well versed in SE Asian cooking, but not as much Chinese/Japanese/Korean, etc, but I am pretty sure Japanese and Chinese soy sauces are decently different and I don't really cook Japanese--or at least I haven't yet ). Mushroom soy sauce, I think my brand is Thai Boy (?), is used in Thai cuisine. I am pretty hard core about SE Asian food and making it authentically--at least the first time. Some of it I stick with the authentic but some I might switch the technique, but not usually the ingredients. In my experience the key to good Asian food is all in the ingredients. None of it is that difficult--but people try to sub certain ingredients--usually on the advice of some cookbook or other--and then wonder why theirs is not as fabulous as what they get in the restaurant. I am not a soy sauce expert, but based on my experiences with fish sauce and coconut milk, for example, where I have pretty strong opinions, I tend to follow the advice of the cookbook authors I trust the most when it comes to soy sauce. Ergo, a pretty well-stocked soy sauce collection.

    Hope that helps, Laura

    ETA Plus the stuff lasts pretty well, so why not pick up a bottle if a recipe calls for a particular kind? I am always pleasantly surprized by how often I already have some obscure soy sauce/fish sauce/etc that a recipe calls for...
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

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    I like getting Pommelo's and if you can find them Rambutans. I also like to get fresh noddles and Chinese wafer cookies - especially the lemon variety.

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    Laura, please talk to me about Chaokoh brand coconut milk! It's what they use on Food Network, and you can get it cheap at Asian markets, but the consistency is totally different from Thai Kitchen, as is the ingredient list. My intuition leads me to Thai Kitchen, but if they choose Chaokoh for Iron Chef America (and you recommend it) there must be a reason. But it just doesn't jibe for me.

    Thai Kitchen ingredients
    : Coconut milk, guar gum
    Chaokoh ingredients: coconut extract, water, citric acid (as antioxidant), sodium metabisulfite (as perservative).
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  10. #10
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    I love kecap manis! We used to live in Indonesia and our houseboy made the best nasi goreng (fried rice) using kecap manis.

    I also like to buy Mae Ploy curry paste at asian grocery stores. It makes a great quick curry! I like the yellow curry paste but absolutely love the massaman paste. Saute about 2 Tblsp with some coconut milk. Then add some boneless, skinless chicken breast and some chicken broth to thin a bit. Simmer until the chicken's cooked through and serve over rice or coconut rice with scallions. Yum!!!!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post



    Laura, please talk to me about Chaokoh brand coconut milk! It's what they use on Food Network, and you can get it cheap at Asian markets, but the consistency is totally different from Thai Kitchen, as is the ingredient list. My intuition leads me to Thai Kitchen, but if they choose Chaokoh for Iron Chef America (and you recommend it) there must be a reason. But it just doesn't jibe for me.

    Thai Kitchen ingredients
    : Coconut milk, guar gum
    Chaokoh ingredients: coconut extract, water, citric acid (as antioxidant), sodium metabisulfite (as perservative).
    Boy it's been forever since I used anything by Thai Kitchen, except some rice noodles. Does their coconut milk separate in the can (i.e., turn into a very solid lump of coconut fat and then very watery coconut milk)? If it does not, that would be a huge reason right there. I don't really remember their coconut milk separating, but I also didn't know to want it to separate back when I was using it.

    I'm pretty self-taught (although I did confirm a lot of it at cooking school in Chiang Mai in Thailand) and I am not a food chemist, so I can't really address the ingredient list--and I see why the one looks better to you than the other. What I can tell you is that the cookbook authors I trust the most definitively recommended the coconut milk brands I use AND they also recommended the fish sauce--and there I really do have opinions. I think the Thai Kitchen fish sauce is awful. I used to think I could never imagine just dumping fish sauce on my food, and sniffing the bottle made me recoil in disgust. Since switching fish sauces, none of these things are true--I can even taste the fish sauce straight and it does not bother me, although I have no urge to swig the stuff. FIsh sauce in SE Asia is comparable to olive oil in the Mediterranean--which is another way of saying that quality matters (and that people argue over whose is better ).

    I am interested to hear if anyone has ever gotten Thai Kitchen coconut milk to separate.....

    Laura

    ETA I just noticed that your Thai Kitchen picture is organic--is all their stuff organic or is that different from the regular Thai Kitchen coconut milk? BC there I would really be out of my depth--I had no idea Thai Kitchen made anything organic and if you had asked me I would have said unlikely! Shows what I know.....
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  12. #12
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    Hi Laura. Thanks. Yes, Thai Kitchen absolutely separates - nice thick crust of coconut cream on top, water on the bottom. I know Chaokoh is the preferred brand but I've never heard why. Definitely not rich like TK.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  13. #13
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    I'm not an Asian-style cook at all, but I sure do love to stop at the Asian markets to see if they have Pretz or Pocky, and in what flavors. Pretz are pretzel sticks that are flavored, and Pocky is a biscuit stick, either filled or dipped with sweet coating... I'm a snack-aholic!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

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    Talking All About Coconut Milk

    OK, it bothered me I couldn't answer Canice's question better, so I did some research throughout almost all of my SE Asian cookbooks, and here is what I found:

    The Vietnamese ones (I don't have a lot) did not offer opinions.
    The Elephant Walk, which is Cambodian, and older, likes Chakoah and Mae Ploy and says to avoid those made specifically for a western market (like Thai Kitchen).
    Then there are Thai ones... these fell into 2 categories--the ones that think all canned coconut milk is an abomination or bastardization--those 2 words are quoted directly --and the ones that like Mae Ploy and Chakoah, but with no real explanation.

    THEN there is Cradle of Flavor, by James Oseland, which is Malaysian and Indonesian, and, perhaps most relevant, is also very new, published this year. He has lots of explanations for his ingredients and lots of recommendations. He thinks personal taste is the most important factor. His favorite is Mae Ploy. However, he has listed as good 2nd choices Chakoah and Thai Kitchen Organic[.

    What I took away from this is that you can't go wrong with Mae Ploy and Chakoah--but also that I suspect Thai Kitchen did not even make an organic version back when a lot of the other books were published and further that their quality may have improved as well, since you like it so well Canice. Several writers definitely emphasized if it does not separate, don't us it. It has chemicals in it stabilizing it. SO anyway, if you want organic and don't mind the extra money, try the Thai Kitchen organic. The others will definitely be cheaper though.

    There were a few other brands--each mentioned only by one author each, so I didn't think they were worth getting into.

    -Laura
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by ljt2r View Post
    What I can tell you is that the cookbook authors I trust the most definitively recommended the coconut milk brands I use AND they also recommended the fish sauce--and there I really do have opinions. I think the Thai Kitchen fish sauce is awful. I used to think I could never imagine just dumping fish sauce on my food, and sniffing the bottle made me recoil in disgust. Since switching fish sauces, none of these things are true--I can even taste the fish sauce straight and it does not bother me, although I have no urge to swig the stuff. FIsh sauce in SE Asia is comparable to olive oil in the Mediterranean--which is another way of saying that quality matters (and that people argue over whose is better ).
    Laura, the brand names of the Fish Sauces you use are Squid and 3 Crabs ? I bought some from A Taste of Thai and it seemed pretty nasty. DH actually thought that there was something wrong with it. I will have to look for those 2 brands at my Asian market.
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    Wow, that's an answer! Thanks for all the digging around. I had actually posed the same question to a Malaysian friend who's an amazing cook. She wasn't familiar with either brand but said based on the ingredients she'd go with Thai Kitchen, so I've just stuck with it. Honestly, I make the occasional pot of tofu noodle soup with it, but otherwise my cooking is Chinese- or Japanese-influenced. So I keep a couple cans on hand but don't do any SE Asian cooking. But when you have a hankerin' for coconut milk and lemon grass and HEAT, gotta have that fix!
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmee View Post
    Laura, the brand names of the Fish Sauces you use are Squid and 3 Crabs ? I bought some from A Taste of Thai and it seemed pretty nasty. DH actually thought that there was something wrong with it. I will have to look for those 2 brands at my Asian market.
    Well fish sauce IS fermented anchovies or something like that, so I wouldn't expect any of them to smell pleasant until you get used to them. It is somewhat of an acquired taste. But yes I recommend Squid and 3 Crabs. And, TRUST ME, no matter how they smell on their own, fish sauce is crucial to Thai cooking and tastes really yummy in it.
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post
    Wow, that's an answer! Thanks for all the digging around. I had actually posed the same question to a Malaysian friend who's an amazing cook. She wasn't familiar with either brand but said based on the ingredients she'd go with Thai Kitchen, so I've just stuck with it. Honestly, I make the occasional pot of tofu noodle soup with it, but otherwise my cooking is Chinese- or Japanese-influenced. So I keep a couple cans on hand but don't do any SE Asian cooking. But when you have a hankerin' for coconut milk and lemon grass and HEAT, gotta have that fix!
    I am pretty curious myself now, from the organic perspective as well as flavor, so I think I will pick up a can next time I am at Wegman's.
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljt2r View Post
    Well fish sauce IS fermented anchovies or something like that, so I wouldn't expect any of them to smell pleasant until you get used to them. It is somewhat of an acquired taste. But yes I recommend Squid and 3 Crabs. And, TRUST ME, no matter how they smell on their own, fish sauce is crucial to Thai cooking and tastes really yummy in it.
    a note from personal experience...
    regardless of the brand of fish sauce, NEVER EVER EVER EVER let a bottle break open in your car
    also, i second the recommendation on the fish sauces (Squid and 3 Crabs which are pretty easily identified in an Asian market since you can just look for the squid or crab pictures ). the flavor and smell are much better than anything i've managed to buy at a main-stream grocery store.
    - Josie


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    Quote Originally Posted by ljt2r View Post
    Well fish sauce IS fermented anchovies or something like that, so I wouldn't expect any of them to smell pleasant until you get used to them. It is somewhat of an acquired taste. But yes I recommend Squid and 3 Crabs. And, TRUST ME, no matter how they smell on their own, fish sauce is crucial to Thai cooking and tastes really yummy in it.
    Speaking of this issue, I just posted a review/recipe for rendang, and one of the things I noted was that apparently the Indonesians do not use fish sauce, and I had trouble adjusting to the coconut milk flavor without it. It was weird. Just thought I would share.

    http://community.cookinglight.com/sh...=101529&page=2
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  21. #21
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    LOL. I bought Thai Kitchen fish sauce once -- I barely opened the bottle and it stank so bad, my husband had to leave the room and I had to throw it out and take out the trash. He made me promise never to use that again.

    I have a good friend who is Vietnamese and have eaten with her often, and the fish sauce never bothered me before that incident. Actually I liked it and that's why I was trying to use it. Maybe I should give a different brand another chance.
    Once, during prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water. W. C. Fields

  22. #22

    Fish Sauce

    That is terrible about The Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce. I have never liked any of their products. I stick to the brands you can buy at the Asian markets. I grew up with my Mom using Tiparos. There are several "gourmet" brands

    http://importfood.com/gourmet_fish_sauce.html

    I never knew there was much difference until I looked it up, but I guess there is. Same with soy sauce there are so many different kinds used for different Asian dishes

    You have me craving some Vietnamese noodles! I love their fish sauce, I can't figure out what they mix it with to put on top of the noodle dishes? Do you know?


    Quote Originally Posted by jadenegro View Post
    LOL. I bought Thai Kitchen fish sauce once -- I barely opened the bottle and it stank so bad, my husband had to leave the room and I had to throw it out and take out the trash. He made me promise never to use that again.

    I have a good friend who is Vietnamese and have eaten with her often, and the fish sauce never bothered me before that incident. Actually I liked it and that's why I was trying to use it. Maybe I should give a different brand another chance.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nampung View Post
    That is terrible about The Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce. I have never liked any of their products. I stick to the brands you can buy at the Asian markets. I grew up with my Mom using Tiparos. There are several "gourmet" brands

    http://importfood.com/gourmet_fish_sauce.html

    I never knew there was much difference until I looked it up, but I guess there is. Same with soy sauce there are so many different kinds used for different Asian dishes

    You have me craving some Vietnamese noodles! I love their fish sauce, I can't figure out what they mix it with to put on top of the noodle dishes? Do you know?
    I can't speak for all Vietnamese dishes (I am just getting into Vietnamese food, unlike Thai which I have been cooking for a while), but one fish sauce combo that is very Vietnamese and very good is minced garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, some chile peppers and some sugar. I love that on rice noodles and veggies. The following recipe is less complicated than it looks and VERY good--an esp good dish if you are tired of winter comfort foods--just grill the pork inside or pan cook it:

    Grilled Lemongrass Pork Tenderloin Skewers: Suon Nuong Xa
    Recipe courtesy Corinne Trang, Authentic Vietnamese Cooking, Simon & Schuster, 1999


    Recipe Summary
    Difficulty: Medium
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Inactive Prep Time: 1 minute
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Yield: 4 servings
    User Rating:


    1/4 cup fish sauce
    1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
    3 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves and tops removed, root ends trimmed, and stalks finely grated
    1 large shallot, finely chopped
    2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
    16 bamboo skewers, soaked for 20 minutes and drained
    1 recipe Rice Vermicelli: Bun Thit, recipe follows
    1/2 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
    Nuoc cham, as needed, recipe follows
    Stir together the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and oil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the lemongrass, shallot, garlic and pork and mix to coat the meat evenly. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes or refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
    Slide 2 to 4 slices of pork onto each skewer so the meat is flat with the skewer going through the slices several times. Grill over a barbecue (make sure that the flames have subsided and the coals are red with white ashes). Alternatively, heat a well-oiled grill pan or non-stick skillet over high heat and, working in batches, cook the skewers until the edges crisp, about 1 minute per side. Remove the skewers from the grilled pork.
    Divide the grilled pork among the bowls of rice vermicelli. Sprinkle peanuts and drizzle nuoc cham over each serving. Serve immediately.
    Rice Vermicelli: Bun Thit
    Recipe courtesy Corinne Trang, Authentic Vietnamese Cooking, Simon & Schuster, 1999


    Recipe Summary
    Difficulty: Medium
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Yield: 4 servings
    User Rating:


    8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or 1 pound fresh bun
    8 romaine lettuce leaves, ribs removed, julienned
    2 carrots, peeled and julienned
    1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced into crescents
    12 large mint leaves, julienned
    Nuoc Cham, as needed, recipe follows
    If using dried rice vermicelli, place it in a bowl and cover with lukewarm water. Let stand until pliable, about 20 minutes. Bring a pot of hot water to a boil. Drain and divide the rice vermicelli into 4 equal portions. Place 1 portion at a time in a sieve and lower it into the boiling water. Untangle the noodles with chopsticks and boil until tender but firm, about 3 seconds. Remove, drain, and place in a large bowl. Repeat this step until you have 4 individual servings. If using fresh bun, there is no need to boil them.
    Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Scatter some lettuce, carrot, cucumber, and mint over each bowl. Drizzle with nuoc cham and toss well.


    Fish Dipping Sauce: Nuoc Cham
    Recipe courtesy Corinne Trang, Authentic Vietnamese Cooking, Simon & Schuster, 1999
    5 tablespoons sugar
    3 tablespoons water
    1/3 cup fish sauce
    1/2 cup lime or lemon juice
    1 large clove garlic, minced
    1 or more bird's eye or Thai chiles, seeded and minced
    1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced, and rinsed (optional)
    Whisk together the sugar, water, fish sauce, and lime juice in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the garlic, chile, and shallot, and let stand for 30 minutes before serving.
    Yield: 2 cups Preparation Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes Non-Active Cooking Time: 30 minutes


    Episode#: SS1C42
    Copyright 2003 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved
    Fish Dipping Sauce: Nuoc Cham
    Recipe courtesy Corinne Trang, Authentic Vietnamese Cooking, Simon & Schuster, 1999


    Recipe Summary
    Difficulty: Easy
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 minutes
    Yield: 2 cups
    User Rating:


    5 tablespoons sugar
    3 tablespoons water
    1/3 cup fish sauce
    1/2 cup lime or lemon juice
    1 large clove garlic, minced
    1 or more bird's eye or Thai chiles, seeded and minced
    1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced, and rinsed (optional)
    Whisk together the sugar, water, fish sauce, and lime juice in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the garlic, chile, and shallot, and let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

    Episode#: SS1C42
    Copyright 2003 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  24. #24

    Thanks!

    Those are some great recipes. I will add them to my to try list

    [QUOTE=ljt2r;1172725]I can't speak for all Vietnamese dishes (I am just getting into Vietnamese food, unlike Thai which I have been cooking for a while), but one fish sauce combo that is very Vietnamese and very good is minced garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, some chile peppers and some sugar. I love that on rice noodles and veggies. The following recipe is less complicated than it looks and VERY good--an esp good dish if you are tired of winter comfort foods--just grill the pork inside or pan cook it:

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    SW Ohio
    Posts
    6,586
    Quote Originally Posted by Canice View Post



    Laura, please talk to me about Chaokoh brand coconut milk! It's what they use on Food Network, and you can get it cheap at Asian markets, but the consistency is totally different from Thai Kitchen, as is the ingredient list. My intuition leads me to Thai Kitchen, but if they choose Chaokoh for Iron Chef America (and you recommend it) there must be a reason. But it just doesn't jibe for me.

    Thai Kitchen ingredients
    : Coconut milk, guar gum
    Chaokoh ingredients: coconut extract, water, citric acid (as antioxidant), sodium metabisulfite (as perservative).
    Bumping this up because I came across the following advice on the food blog, Jaden's Steamy Kitchen. Unlike tigersandstrawberries, I don't have a strong opinion on this blog writer's knowledge. She is definitely entertaining to read and obviously cooks a lot of Asian food. Anyway:

    http://www.steamykitchen.com/blog/

    "Secret #2: The Coconut Milk
    At your supermarket, youll probably find a few different brands of coconut milk. Dont bother reading the labels. Pick up each can, shake it. If it sloshes with lots and lots of liquid, put it back. Buy the one that sounds and feels solid and heavy. This is by far the simplest way to judge a good quality, first pressing, fatty coconut milk. The lesser quality brands contain diluted coconut milk or they use multiple pressings, which results in very little flavor. You might be tempted to buy the "light" version, but please dont. In this dish, you will only use 1/2 a can, divided amongst 4-6 peopleso really, you arent consuming that many calories. The best brand Ive found is a Thai brand for 89 cents and Thai Kitchen (above in lg photo) at double the price but a very very good quality."
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    San Tan Valley, AZ
    Posts
    5,838
    I bought the Three Crabs fish sauce and it's pretty mild BUT I found it has fructose in it and is processed in Hong Kong. Weird because a lot of chefs recommend it but once I found that out I was a little skeeved. I want my fermented fish unalduterated!

    So now I'm back to Golden Boy brand. I've never tried the Squid.

    Kasma Loha-unchit's website on ingredients is excellent as are her books, It Rains Fishes and Dancing Shrimp I think they're out of print(because they're $85 on Amazon) but your library should have them.

    Actually all of her website is awesome. There's a section on ow fish Sauce is made.

    http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/herb.html

    I pretty much have all the ingredients ljt2r has and I also LOVE Kepap Manis. There's an excellent recipe for Javanese Grilled Chicken in The Cradle of Flavor that uses it in a marinade.

    Oh and nothing smells as bad as shrimp paste! Phewwww!!! I wonder who came up with the idea that rotten fish would make your food taste better?

    I'm going to be doing a lot of authentic SE Asian and Spice Island cooking on my brand new blog (official launch 8-1).

    www.theglobalkitchen.blogspot.com

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    SW Ohio
    Posts
    6,586
    Quote Originally Posted by KristiB View Post
    I bought the Three Crabs fish sauce and it's pretty mild BUT I found it has fructose in it and is processed in Hong Kong. Weird because a lot of chefs recommend it but once I found that out I was a little skeeved. I want my fermented fish unalduterated!

    So now I'm back to Golden Boy brand. I've never tried the Squid.

    Kasma Loha-unchit's website on ingredients is excellent as are her books, It Rains Fishes and Dancing Shrimp I think they're out of print(because they're $85 on Amazon) but your library should have them.

    Actually all of her website is awesome. There's a section on ow fish Sauce is made.

    http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/herb.html

    I pretty much have all the ingredients ljt2r has and I also LOVE Kepap Manis. There's an excellent recipe for Javanese Grilled Chicken in The Cradle of Flavor that uses it in a marinade.

    Oh and nothing smells as bad as shrimp paste! Phewwww!!! I wonder who came up with the idea that rotten fish would make your food taste better?

    I'm going to be doing a lot of authentic SE Asian and Spice Island cooking on my brand new blog (official launch 8-1).

    www.theglobalkitchen.blogspot.com
    You and that website both (which I finally had a chance to check out) have convinced me to try some new fish sauces. It is weird because (as the website points out) many Asian cookbook authors DO recommend 3 Crabs. I like it--but at the same time if I haven't compared to other fish sauces maybe I don't know what I am missing!

    Your blog is going on my Blogs To Read list, btw.

    Laura
    -Laura

    Muffins are for people who don't have the 'nads to order cake for breakfast.
    --Seth, "Kitchen Confidential" (the show, not the book)

    www.thespicedlife.com/

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    In my heaven on earth
    Posts
    13,237
    I'm glad this got bumped back up because it reminded me that I have an asian grocery store pretty close to my new place that I wanted to go explore. I've started doing a bit more asian cooking and would like to expand that repetoire. (I just used hoisin sauce and garlic-chile sauce for the first time a couple of months ago and have never had fish sauce anywhere near my home)


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  29. #29
    There's a type of Vietnamese hot sauce that blows Tabasco out of the water in heat and flavor. It has a rooster on the bottle, but I can't remember what it's called. It's outstanding for cooking hot Asian dishes.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    19,680
    It's sriracha sauce - definitely a staple on my 'fridge door. Anyone remember that weird scandal when there was counterfeit sriracha on hte market and you had to look to see if yours was the real deal? Designer handbags I can see, but what kind of margins are there on counterfeit hot sauce? Anyhow, I definitely had that in mind with my comment about "all manner of condiment" since it's about 1/3rd the price as in the supermarket.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

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