Asian Foods

A few years ago, we didn’t know that such a thing as a Asian warehouse even existed, and that you could actually buy such exotic foods over the counter, such as Soy sauce, Nuoc Nam fish sauce, black beans. Once we got the taste of these Asian condiments, we were hooked, and then to keep up our supply, we resorted to carrying large flagons of soy sauce and whatever, to bring it back with us whenever we travelled off shore. Now we have several Asian supply stores actually in our own City


Someone once said to me,You are barmy‘,I wouldn’t eat all that foreign muck’.I had a quiet smile as I watched him slosh on black Worcester sauce onto his pie. Just as well that he hadn’t read the label on the bottle saying, that it contained ground up anchovies, which is also the main ingredient of Asian fish sauce.


The availability of Asian ingredients is something that has proliferated from a small corner in a Supermarket to speciality stores now, selling nothing but Indian, Chinese, Japanese, foods. The choice is endless, and even includes frozen foods. All this seems to have taken place over the past fifteen years or so. There was a problem earlier, as a lot of what was on sale, was a complete mystery to the average New Zealander, not knowing what exactly was in many items on display. So unless you were familiar with the contents of any tin or packet, you didn’t buy. Now all that is changed, everything has an English label. And as well a full description of what it is, and how to use it. As well, I have found the staff in these stores very helpful.


Many years ago when we lived in Port Chalmers, and sometimes in the fungi season we drove out to Heyward’s Point which was often shrouded in fog. These conditions at times produced huge crops of field mushrooms. The kids joined in when we went out gathering. On one visit we soon had bushels of prime fresh mushrooms. These were the days when it wasn’t possible to walk into a greengrocer and buy the cultivated ones we enjoy today. However I had seen overseas, Japanese dried mushrooms, Shitake, and Kikurage being sold in stores. So I decided that if they could dry mushrooms, so could I.


The wife had just taken possession of a new clothes dryer, and it was her pride and joy and it freed her from the drudgery of the endless battle of drying clothes. Here was the perfect instrument to dry my mushrooms. This was an early model, where you hung your clothes onto racks, and a huge fan blew hot air through.


I quickly filled it to the brim with mushrooms, and set it going. It would seem and I now know that mushrooms are 95% water. By the time I discovered this fact back then, I had already flooded out the wash house, and made an awful mess of the dryer with the mushroom spray. I was confronted by an angry wife with armfuls of wet napkins, demanding that I immediately clean the machine, and the washhouse, or I would be busy doing her washing as well. Some days you really should stay in bed.


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