How To Find Your Way in an Asian Grocer

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When I became a chef, the power and allure of the food market and grocery stores was so strong that my mum would need to visit them everyday. It was always a great thing that mum bought home - fruits and vegetables, sweet cake and candy and meat or fish. 

How To Find Your Way in an Asian Grocer

If you go to an Asian store in your neighbourhood of Melbourne and Sydney - they have the same format. First you might walk through a fresh produce session where you can find all sort of leafy green, salads, ginger, garlic, spring onion, sprouts and exotic mushroom.

The next thing you will see is the meat with pork belly, pork mince, duck, chicken, beef and lamb.  The good thing is you can ask the butcher to cut whatever size you like your meats or poultry.

There is the seafood session with fresh fish in the tanks, crabs in the basket and even few thing still alive. You can buy the whole unit and the shop assistant will clean them for you. Except those lobster or crab as they will keep them as fresh as possible when they are alive.

Then you will visit the frozen session with ready to eat or cook items such as soy products, bamboo, spring rolls pastry and other frozen dessert from durian to Asian icecream - look for frozen seafood such as prawn or scallop.

Next you will see the refrigerated aisle with rice cakes, tofu, and fresh noodles in every Asian grocery store. 

You will pass into dry goods aisles of hot chilli sauces, pickled vegetables, soy sauces, vinegars, cooking wines, oils, spices, dried seaweed, dried mushroom and dry fungi, dried noodles, and all sorts of junk food you can think off.

Bigger store will also sell small equipment such as knife and wok or frying pan sometime these guys also stock household items.

These days, Asian grocery stores are increasingly common, and are even frequented by a lot more non-Asian people, who are often drawn by the cheaper produce and meat. If there’s one near you, it’s a great place to get inspired and stock up your pantry.

If you’re just getting to know Asian cooking, here are a few items that you’ll want to pick up–a selection of the basic, bread and butter pantry items that are essential to any cook’s stockpile.

  • Soy sauce 
  • Fish sauce
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Black vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • White pepper
  • Shaoxing cooking wine
  • Cornstarch
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chilli
  • Rice

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    Last Minute Melbourne Experience Booking

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    Explore most amazing food culture experiences, from the dumplings to Indian curries. Gorgeous ideas to take friends and family to have social cooking time, enjoy delicious foods and learn tips and trick.

    Plus we do the dishes so no mess at home so join in the classes. We offer more classes in the week than ever so plenty for you to choose. The class include meals, cooking, entertainment and wine - there has never been a better time to cook. Otao Kitchen has the best kitchen studio, so get ready to cook?

     

    Taste of Balinese Foods

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    THE FOOD OF BALI INDONESIA

     

    Balinese food celebrate Balinese people from the volcanic island of Bali using spices blending with the fresh vegetables, meat and seafood. Balinese food sometime refers to special regional Indonesian cuisine. It demonstrates indigenous traditions and other Indonesian regional cuisine, Chinese and Indian. Bali's culinary traditions are somewhat distinct with the rest of Indonesia. The people Bali celebrate their foods with festivals and celebrations.

     

     

    INGREDIENTS

    Spices such as Kaempferia galanga galangal, shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger and Kaffir lime are used in Balinese foods. For example popular Balinese 8-spice is made with white and black pepper, coriander, cumin, clove, nutmeg, sesame seed, and candlenut. Other ingredients such as palm sugar, fish paste, and basa gede spice paste are used in everyday dishes.

    Many tropical foods are rambutan, mangoes, mangosteen, bananas, jackfruit, rambutan, passion fruit, nangka, pineapple, salak snake fruit, duku, kelengkeng, wani white mango or Mangifera caesia, papaya, longan, melon, oranges, custard-apple, coconut and durian.

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    How to buy on a budget the best kitchen knife?

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    #1 What style of kitchen knife do I need?

    We thought if you can get one good kitchen knife and build your knife collection. We typically recommend a cook knife or "Santoku" or "Gyuto" knife as a first purchase if you're looking for an all rounder with a blade usually around 22-30cm long, it's not too big or small and so is usually the one knife type you'll use daily.

    #2 Looks

    How a knife looks should be the last thing you buy a knife for, but that being said, a good looking knife is a real treat. As I have picked only awesome knives before from a trustable plan and they are great performers over my years being a chef.

    #3 How sharp is kitchen knife steel?

    We've owned a cheap kitchen knife in our life, the one that stays sharp for about two meals. Don't judge all knives by these, real kitchen knives are in a completely different. Knife steel is important for knife to stay sharp because it holds an edge better. The better steels are made from hard steel that simply does not blunt as fast, you can go months before you need to sharp them again.

    #4 Ease of care and protection

    While knives are made up with the steel heating up and down to make it hard naturally to stay sharp. Your kitchen knife should be put in the dish washer - about 80 degrees. This will compromise the steel. It is simple to wipe your kitchen knifes clean, dry and store them after each use. 

    When it comes to storing and protecting your knife, we suggest a magnetic knife rack. If you're travelling or want to store your knife in a draw - we'd recommend a knife guard to protect not only the blade but your fingers when you reach for it. 

    #5 Kitchen knife weight

    If you use a kitchen knife all day every day then you want a light knife to reduce fatigue. Light knives are a joy to use and so nimble. If you are not a professional though then knife weight really is not an issue, you simply won't be using them long enough to get fatigued in the first place.

    #6 Blade length and size

    This relates mostly to Chef's kitchen knives. How often do you get to try out a selection of the same knife in different sizes to make your mind up? If you're in doubt for your first knife or just a good all rounder, we recommend a middle ground of a 25-35cm which will cover 95% of kitchen jobs.

    #7 Handles

    There are two main styles to choose from. The traditional Western style is with the blade goes all the way through the handle and often riveted and pretty damn sturdy. The Japanese handle is light weight and as a result feels like it is barely there. This is a centuries old design and it makes the knife feel significantly lighter and more nimble in your hand.

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    and it is one of the core ingredients in a lot of Asian recipes. But have you ever struggled trying to peel a ginger root with all of its bumps and lumps?

    Ginger can be expensive, so you don’t want to waste any of the flesh. Knives and peelers can’t get into the lumps and bumps of a ginger root without you cutting some of the flesh away. But fear not! There is a super easy way to peel ginger. In this video you’ll see how the best and easiest way to peel ginger is with a spoon!

    So how easy was that! Now that you know the best and easiest way to peel ginger, we are confident you’ll be the ginger peeling champion of your household.

    Want to learn more cooking tips and tricks?

    Come along to one of our hands on cooking classes where Chef Ha provides expert advice and cooking techniques. With his guidance you’ll learn how to make a range of Asian dishes that you can recreate at home and you’ll get to enjoy all the spoils of your creation during the class.

     

    Our cooking classes are a wonderful activity to enjoy with your friends and family, and we hope to see you soon!

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