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I bought this at the Chinese supermarket...


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Consider my mind blown. I've been living in Asia for seven years now, starting in South Korea, then on to Vietnam and most recently, Japan. I've been in the great live fish market in Seoul and wandered through the ginseng bottles and kimchi tubs in Namdaemun market. I watched in on my street in Hanoi as every day at four o'clock a whole pig was gutted and butchered for the dinner rush. I've shopped in the great food halls of Tokyo's department stores. I had thought, rather, that I'd seen it all. Today, however, at my local Wal-mart, I ground my cart to a halt and admitted defeat to my husband. Fully 50 percent of the products in the shop I had no idea what to do with. The only products I recognized and knew how to deal with were the Korean chili pastes and sauces(add to stews), the durian and dragonfruits in the produce (peel; enjoy), and the three bottles of Yellowtail (pour directly down the drain)in the wine section. Oh, and the tea. I recognized the tea, but there were at least thirty kinds of bulk tea. My husband's faith in my ability to cook anywhere is shaken to the core. I need help. As a companion to our great Chinese cooking ingredient pictorial topic, could I humbly ask advice on items I have purchased here?

Just walking through the aisles, I could pick out amazing-looking ingredients. Whole aisles full of dried mushrooms and...other things. Little red bitty things. Big brown knobbly things. Eight varieties of duck pieces. Whole smoked duck. Whole salted duck. Whole smoked chickens. Whole salted chickens. Salted pork. Never mind the aisle upon aisle of jars. In the sausage cart, there was dried sausage (five kinds) and something that looked like an Iberico ham. I want to make something with that. I couldn't say what, so I didn't buy it. I did cave and buy this:

2009 09 13 001.JPG

It's smoked pork belly, right? I can only make out the characters for "meat" and "product". I'm thinking I can cube it for fried rice. What else can I do with it....?

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I'm certainly biased and have never been in a market like the one you're describing, but that looks an awful lot like lop yuk, which is something of an obsession of mine. (Click here for the recipe I use to make it; click here and scroll down for more details on process.) If it is, you're in luck: steam it atop rice, add it to naw mai gaw fon; scramble it with eggs.

If it isn't, well, I'm really interested to know what it is.

Edited by Chris Amirault
hit save too early -- ca (log)

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The sick thing is - it was a Wal-mart. Anyway, if it's lop yuk, I'll look that up in my small Chinese cookbook library, and see what else I can make with it. Steamed into rice might make my husband more inclined to eat rice, actually.

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Can I ask which Walmart is this? I wanna go!

The smoked, salted cured pork belly can be cut up in small slices and stir fried with chinese broccoli or even leeks or big scallions or peppers.

Yum...I have some homemade salted dried chicken drumsticks...I might have to pull them out of the fridge and eat some now. Thanks for the reminder! :biggrin:

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I'm with you on this. Nothing exhausts me more than an Asian supermarket. They make me feel so tiny.

I always feel like I'm passing up 50 things that are probably great and have 20 things in my basket that are awful.

I've caved completely these days: I just bring picture books. (Yes, it's Sesame Street time. I know no shame when it comes to finding the right ingredients).

I tried bringing books that use language (Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc.), but I find most markets are international in scope and the odds are better than average that the person I ask about a Chinese symbol can't read Chinese, the person I ask about Thai is Japanese, etc. Worse, I spend hours trying to match the Asian language pictographs (I happen to love the Thai script) with what's on the bottles (and almost always fail). I think it's a game, a rigged one.

When I find something (I think is what) I need, I point at it and I point at the picture and ask if I have the right ingredient. I usually get it right, but you'd be surprised how many times the little ole lady "makes a face", grabs something out of my basket, walks away, and then comes back with the good version. I still remember one old lady in Anchorage, Alaska. I didn't even ask her about the fish sauce. She just pointed at it and and said: "Fish head, yuk! ANCHOVY!" (I was buying the cheap fish sauce from Malaysia made of fish heads, but she said I needed one from Thailand made with anchovy paste). She's the same one that pointed at the sweet potatoes in my basket and said "American sweet potatoes are shi*! Try these (tiny, Asian sweet potatoes)". She grabs 4 out of her basket and puts them in my basket. "Put in microwave and DIIIIING for 5 minutes. Yum!" She was right too.

Edited by fooey (log)

Fooey's Flickr Food Fotography

Brünnhilde, so help me, if you don't get out of the oven and empty the dishwasher, you won't be allowed anywhere near the table when we're flambeéing the Cherries Jubilee.

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That is great for clay pot rice along with some Chinese sausage and cured duck.

I also like to slice it thin and use it in stir fry. It's great with cabbage as well as long beans. I put the cured pork belly in the wok dry and let the fat render out. Then it's a lot of chopped garlic and then the vegetable. Season with soy and a little sugar. Add some garlic chili sauce if you want spice.

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Its definitely Laap Yuk, even my shoddy written Chinese can recognise the last two characters, and it's from Shanghai. Any more than that and I'm guessing. I would go with Chris's suggestion of steaming it atop rice, even better if you can get some Laap/Yun Cheung (preserved pork/liver sausages) & Laap Ap (preserved duck), maybe some nice fat gai-lan too. Then you have some Laap Mei Fan (臘味飯) - assorted preserved meat rice. Use slightly glutinous rice and if you can cook in a clay pot that would be the ultimate!

This is a Wal-mart in Japan?

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The sick thing is - it was a Wal-mart. Anyway, if it's lop yuk, I'll look that up in my small Chinese cookbook library, and see what else I can make with it. Steamed into rice might make my husband more inclined to eat rice, actually.

If it was the Wal-Mart in Wanda Plaza in Beijing, I can tell exactly about nearly EVERYTHING in there - it is one of my local supermarkets as well. You've bought some Larou (in Mandarin). Very useful! Can be used as below also very nice stir-fried with yangbaicai (western-style white cabbage).

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Lots of fabulous suggestions! Of course - I'll try it stir-fried with some vegetables, but I'm also curious about cooking it with rice. Duck liver sausage is available, as the Wal-mart in question is a brand new one in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, where I'm currently living. It's quiteexcellent, but I concur with the exhaustion. When I get home I feel like I've run a marathon.

I always feel like I'm passing up 50 things that are probably great and have 20 things in my basket that are awful.

Yes! yesyesyesyes! My husband came home with some fresh, hand-made noodles, and I had no idea what to do with them, nor appropriate means to deal with them, so I had to bin them. I felt like an utter failure.

As for the "glutinous" rice, are we talking the kind of rice that's usually used to make rice cake/mochi? The kind that's more of an opaque white colour than typical rice? Then, would I saute the meat and add it to already cooked rice, or can I cook it in with the rice as it cooks, like a Japanese-style takigomi-gohan?

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I add a chunk of lap yuk, a pair of duck liver sausages, and maybe a lap gnap drumstick on top of the rice and start cooking all together. The oil and flavours will drip down throughout the rice - heavenly aroma. The lap yuk should be cut into thin slices while it is hot; otherwise it will firm up and make slicing difficult. The fat will be transluscent and melt-in-your-mouth. My favourite part is actually the skin - a lovely chew while it is still warm.

This lap mei fan doesn't need anything else - a one-pot meal. The best is last: gently toast the rice that is stuck to the bottom of the pot (not electric rice cooker), add hot water, scrape, and enjoy "fan jiew". To take it over the top, mash cooked sweet potato into the toasted rice before adding hot water - savory and sweet. :smile:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Fuschia Dunlop calls for steaming it before frying it as well. Should I cut it, then steam it, or steam it in a chunk, then slice? I had a dish at a restaurant last night which was the cured ham stir-fried with garlic chives - unbelievable! It was spectacular. I get home, and sure enough, Ms. Dunlop has a recipe for it in "revolutionary cooking". Except she cuts hers with a little smoked tofu, which I'm not a huge fan of.

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I made two dishes; first, I steamed it briefly -about five minutes - and then stir-fried with yard-long beans. I cubed some more, added it to a 2:1 ratio of glutinous rice and short-grain rice, along with five or six reconstituted and sliced dried mushrooms. I used some of the mushroom liquor and a slug of dark soy sauce in the water, in a riff on takigomi-gohan. Both dishes came out succulent, and re-heated brilliantly for lunch today. It will be bought again, along with the more ham-like cut, which I plan to stir-fry with garlic chives.

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  • 8 months later...

I found another super product at the Carrefour yesterday - it's powdered mixture of ginger, garlic, and leek. I used it as a rub on some luscious pork steaks on the grill yesterday, and I'll probably end up incorporating it into pork burgers. What other uses could this be put to, I'm wondering - and what is the traditional use for a spice like this?

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I used to live across the street from a Korean grocery and it always confused the hell out of me.

and the three bottles of Yellowtail (pour directly down the drain)

No contribution but I must ask. What is Yellowtail?

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I used to live across the street from a Korean grocery and it always confused the hell out of me.

and the three bottles of Yellowtail (pour directly down the drain)

No contribution but I must ask. What is Yellowtail?

No idea on the product, but I frequent a number of Asian markets ranging from Chinese to Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese (plus Indian and Middle Eastern) and I finally started to ask questions. People love that you want to explore their cuisine. Oh there is the occasional person who acts like you are a loon, but for the most part I learn at least something.

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A couple of points: lop yuk or la rou in Mandarin is rarely smoked.

I believe that Yellowtail is the brand name of a wine which apparently is NOT suitable to be imbibed by the serious oenophiles as it might tarnish their golden palates. However judging by the healthy gallonage that the brand sells there are a lot plebes who quaff the stuff. Dare I say ptui!!!???

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Yellow Tail tastes like grape juice to me. I can get that at a lot cheaper price, especially since they ask $20 a bottle for it here. But it does appear to have a following.

A couple of points: lop yuk or la rou in Mandarin is rarely smoked.

You're right; what I have isn't lop yuk. Further exploration of the label has lead me to believe it's smoked Hunan ham. It's incredible, and I can't ever imagine having to do without it in the kitchen again.

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  • 4 months later...

This is less of a, "What should I do with this?" question (obviously, I just opened it and drank it) and more of a...Huh. WTF?

Pabst Blue Ribbon World War II Chinese Commemorative Tribute to The US Army Can.

photo.JPG

It says, "Yes, we can." on the side.

photo(2).JPG

I immediately went to Wikipedia to read up on the American Army's contributions in China during WW II, so chalk one up to beer for actually contributing to education for once. I'd never tried Pabst Blue Ribbon before, either, and found it easily drinkable. Malty, but nice.

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... I'd never tried Pabst Blue Ribbon before, either, and found it easily drinkable. Malty, but nice.

Blue Ribbon is quite popular in Hong Kong, for whatever reason. Marketing?

I was surprised to realize when I came to school in USA that Blue Ribbon was almost unheard of...

Lovely can! I would save a can just for the collection... :) One day may worth thousands...

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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  • 1 month later...

The stuff in your picture actually is la rou, specifically Tian Rong La Rou (天荣腊肉). Made in Shanghai. The "la" (4th tone) in "la rou" just means cured.

My own experience with the stuff came on my second week in China, living alone, and hankering for bacon. Tried to cook it up as such and ended up drinking a lot of water that day.

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