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Cooking Chinese 6 December 2006

Posted by cath in Info and Cooks Notes, ingredients, Recipes, shopping notes, stir-fry.

A Note About Chinese Supermarket Goodies

If you enjoy stir-frying, then you’ll definitely want to pick up a few essentials from the Chinese Supermarket:

Shaoxing rice wine

Shaoxing Rice Wine

You can try using white wine, or if you happen to have some dry sherry, that would be better…but really there is nothing better than the real thing – it keeps well once opened.

Dried Shitake Mushrooms

Shitake Mushrooms - Dried

Really useful for more than just Chinese food…You only need to soak them for around 10 minutes in warm water, then chop and add to the dish. Some cooks suggest removing the more fibrous stalk – but it’s never done me any harm!

I also add chopped, soaked mushrooms them to risotto – and soaking a mixture of dried porcini, chanterelles and shitake for half an hour or so makes a fantastic mushroom stock for the risotto too.

I would also consider them as a substitute for fresh mushrooms in other recipes too.

Sesame oil

Sesame Oil

Also good for marinades and to add some nutty flavour to noodles.

Dried Noodles


You can get a vast array of Chinese (and Japanese) style noodles, quick to cook so that always means fast food!

Oyster Sauce

Oyster Sauce

Excellent for a variety of marinades and sauces (including Sweet and Sour Sauce). Keeps (for ages, and I mean literally years) in a cold cupboard or in the fridge.

Vegetarians, look out for a mushroom version, which is very similar in style to this sauce and makes a good veggie substitute.

Soy Sauce – Light and Dark

Soy Sauces

A must have – and definitely worth buying these large bottles at the Chinese supermarket they are much cheaper than supermarket equivalents.

The Light version is usually added to cooking and to season the finished dishes.

The Dark version more often used in marinades.


1. Paul - 8 January 2008

Hi, nice post.

I’ve recently moved to Edinburgh, and have been searching around for some large and well stocked Asian markets, largely without success. Would you mind emailing me, or creating a post about any places you know of? That would be amazing. I’m mostly interested in Korean food.


2. cath - 8 January 2008

Hi Paul,
Here is a link to a post I wrote a while ago – which I must now update (as a few of the shops have changed)…

In the meantime I recommend Pat’s Chung Ying on Leith Walk as on of the best Chinese Supermarkets in town:
They have a good selection of foods from around Asia so I’m sure they will stock some of the Korean items you are looking for.

Hope that helps, and I’ll do an update on the other supermarkets soon.

Thanks for visiting cookalicious!

3. Paul - 16 January 2008

Thanks a lot Cath, i really appreciate it.

Up to my eyeballs in work but I’ll be watching the blog for more posts. Great blog and good luck!


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