Time to Explore: Must-Haves from Asian Supermarkets

Boston Magazine_feb_cover

Boston Magazine asked me to share about how they have an Asian focused dining guide in their February issue. I love venturing into Chinatown and finding new places or visiting my favorites. I suggest you do the same and keep an open mind, bring cash, and go hungry! I love when I have a friend to guide me through the different shops and restaurants so here is a little guide Leah Mennies, Food Editor, has created to help you with some shopping in Asian Supermarkets*.

Leah Mennies Shares Her Must-Haves from Asian Supermarkets

For February issue’s “The Complete Guide to Asian Cuisine,” I spent quite a bit of time in Asian supermarkets like Ming’s (in the South End) and H Mart (in Burlington). Here are my must-have items:

Chinese black vinegar: Similar to balsamic and perfect as the base for a dumpling dipping sauce.

Hot sesame oil: Adds a spicy kick to soups, stir-fries, and salad dressings.

Brown rice cakes: These sliced rice cakes have a texture similar to a flattened piece of gnocchi and they’re a great (and gluten-free) alternative to pasta.

Pocky sticks: Chocolate-Dipped Pocky biscuits that are a (relatively) low-calorie, sweet indulgence.

Dried mushrooms: Soak in lukewarm water for about ten minutes, drain and squeeze, and chop up for stir-fries, soups, or fried rice.

Yu-Choy: If mustard greens and broccoli rabe had a baby…it would be this.

Fried shallots: Works on everything—basically, a skinnier, less puffy version of French’s fried onions.

Oyster sauce
: Adds a salty, earthy depth of flavor to sauces.

Fish sauce: Go for the Three Crabs Brand, perfect in Thai-style salads.


I hope this guide helps you out on your next adventure exploring markets near you. But don’t fear if you can’t find an Asian Supermarket near you! You can always turn to Amazon as they have a wide selection that can be delivered right to your door. All that matters is that you try something new and enjoy the process! 🙂

Be sure to check out the other great articles in Boston Magazine and on their on-line Restaurant and Food Section. There are pieces all about the food scene in and around Boston but their feature right now is on Asian Dining.

Now I really want to stroll around Chinatown and try some new places in their Chinatown Tour to Asian Dining. I’ve already been to a few places but I should take this as the perfect opportunity to try some new places and dishes.


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