A Guide To Chinatown’s Market Herbs, Spices and Seasonings
Description: Chinese mushroom seasoning looks like small fish food pellets and usually comes in a big foil-like bag.
Uses: Mushroom seasoning is used like salt and sometimes as a substitute for msg. It adds a lot of flavor and can be added to almost anything, like vegetables, soups, stir fry, etc.
Links: Interesting post – I found this post informative and entertaining since I could totally relate to the mystery of what exactly mushroom seasoning is.
Description: White pepper is the white version of black pepper. However, the difference in the two goes beyond just color. White pepper has a slightly stronger taste and smell. Some people dislike white pepper so I use it sparingly.
Uses: White pepper is used much like black pepper and is put into almost any dish for flavor. If you don’t like the taste of white pepper, you can often substitute it with black pepper or eliminate it completely.
Names: Kinako, soy bean flour
Description: Kinako is made by finely grinding roasted soy beans until it forms a powder. It tastes a little like peanut butter and has the consistency of flour.
Uses: It’s used in Japanese cooking as a topping or a condiment and you’ll often see it paired with mochi dishes like Do Low.
Where to Buy: Kinako usually comes in a package like the one pictured above. You can find it in the asian food aisle at most grocery stores.
Chinatown Chinese Herbs
Disclaimer – I am not by any means an expert, or even a dabbler, in Chinese alternative medicine so please consult someone of greater knowledge if you have any questions about the benefits or side effects of these herbs. Some have contraindications and should be used with caution.
This is the main ingredient for guk fa cha or chrysanthemum tea, which is believed to help counteract the hot energy associated with foods that are deep fried, too spicy, or otherwise yeet hay. Popo prefers the white chrysanthemum which has a softer taste than the yellow variety. When purchased from the herb store, it comes in the dried form (pictured above on the right).
Ha Gu Cho
Yet another ingredient in Popo’s guk fa cha, this herb is like a cure-all with numerous healing properties. See Wikipedia for more information.
Bitter in flavor and cold in nature. Good for the bladder and loosening the bowels.