When cooking authentic Chinese and Vietnamese food, there are a range of Asian pantry and kitchen ingredients that you’ll find across all households. These include you typical vegetables, herbs, spices, sauces, oils, preserved goods and noodles.
Here at Wok & Kin, our family understands that the list can be quite overwhelming, especially if it’s all new to you. So if you’re someone who’s always thinking, ‘What are the main ingredients in Asian cooking?’ or ‘How do you make something taste Asian?’, then keep reading because we’ve got you covered!
Aromatics and Asian Vegetables
We use Asian aromatics and vegetables for everything. They’re perfect for adding flavor to a refreshingly tasty Vietnamese Mango Salad (Gỏi Xoài), gorgeous as a garnish over noodle soups like Mum’s Bánh Canh Chay (Vegetarian Tapioca Noodle Soup) or stir fried as a quick weeknight dinner in Grandma’s Pea Shoots with Garlic.
If you want to learn more about aromatics and vegetables for Asian cooking, click here!
There’s no quicker way to add a robust flavor kick than by using dried spices. These are jam-packed with potent aromas and the best way to develop an earthiness to a Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) marinade. Toss it over some Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken (鹽酥雞) to the fried bits to a whole new level or infuse in into Sichuan Garlic Chili Oil for a condiment you’ll always come back to.
If you want to learn more about how to update your kitchen with our favorite household dry spices, click here!
Sauces and Oils
To get those classic Chinese and Vietnamese flavors, it’s important to cook using sauces and oils found across many Asian households.
These become the base for traditional weeknight recipes like Grandma’s Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Black Fungus and Lily Flowers (金針雞), Mum’s Lemongrass Chili Tofu (Đậu Hũ Chiên Sả Ớt) and Dad’s Steamed Oysters with Ginger and Shallots.
If you want to learn more about our favorite sauces and oils for Asian cooking, click here!
Dehydrated, Cured and Preserved Ingredients
Our family always has a few of these stored in the house as part of our kitchen stock. They come in handy when you’re after some easy flavor like in our Rice Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Rice or for a crunchy texture as you would find in Grandma’s Lunar New Year Lo Han Jai (Buddha’s Delight 罗汉斋).
If you want to learn more about dehydrated, cured and preserved goods, click here!
At home, we love eating noodles and they’re an absolute must in our kitchen. We often have dried versions of rice noodles ready to go for when we have our weekend Bún Mắm (Vietnamese Fermented Fish Noodle Soup) or a fresh Bún Thịt Nướng (Grilled Pork Noodle Salad).
Click here if you want to learn more about all the noodles we love!
We hope this page will take you to all the places you need to learn more about Asian pantry ingredients for authentic Chinese and Vietnamese flavors. If you have any questions about anything, please post a comment and I’ll make sure to get back to you with an answer!