By Teage Ezard
Sourcing of specialty ingredients for the re-creation of a beloved dish from your favourite restaurant can sometimes be an arduous task.
Thankfully a short stroll down Chinatown will provide you with an abundance of choice and opportunity in getting those key items that can make or break your dish.
Great Eastern Food Store at 185 Russell St provides a chef’s delight with literally a playground of ingredients. These include Asian greens, fruits and vegetables, aromatics, chilli, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and galangal, fresh and dried mushrooms, varieties of tofu, noodles, rice, curry pastes, dumpling skins, ready to eat products, and select fresh poultry items.
Along with this great selection, a number of premium items used at both Gingerboy and ezard can be found. Products like Pat Chun brand sweet, black and red Chinese vinegars, Kara brand Indonesian coconut cream, and an array of soy sauces including Taiwanese Kim Ve Wong light soy, which are all staples in many of our recipes.
Lightly brewed soy sauces are preferred to flavour sauces, my favourite being Taiwanese with Japanese a close second. These quality ingredients should be staples in any home kitchen Asian pantry.
A short stroll down Little Bourke St will take you to 14-22 Heffernan Lane. Here you will find Wing Cheong Trading & Co Asian Food Centre, offering a similar selection of items as at Great Eastern.
Wing Cheong however also stocks handy cooking equipment that you may be struggling to acquire. These include various selections of cast iron woks, bamboo steamer baskets, crockery, cutlery and chopsticks – all which complement your cooking and/or dining experience.
Before using your cast iron wok, it needs to be seasoned. To do this, lightly wipe the inside of the wok with some olive oil, place the wok over an open gas flame and keep rotating the wok until the colour changes, this may take up to 5 to 10 minutes, let cool, wipe again and it’s ready for use.
With an abundance of choice in and around Chinatown, these two quality suppliers are one-stop-shops for the basic requirements of setting up your home Asian kitchen.