The New Fall Season
Hello, Friends of The Mala Market!
New products are beginning to roll in via ocean, air and road. First in is our organic, stone-ground, pure Chinese sesame paste! Your dan dan noodles and sesame noodles are about to improve mightily with the addition of this super toasty, nutty, pourable paste.
Last you heard from us, we were heading to Sichuan to hunt for new products, visit producers, establish relationships and see how things are made. I can't tell you how fun it is to visit a factory that's been making soy sauce by hand the same way since 1828. Zhongba soy sauce is a household name in Sichuan, and we are proud to be the first to bring the handmade version to the U.S. In fact, you can't even find this ultra-premium product in Chinese stores, since the company make too little of this labor-intensive sauce to distribute widely.
Excited as we are to bring in new things, there is no shortcut between China and the U.S. Both the soy sauce and the 2019 harvest of Sichuan pepper, chilies and other spices are still on the slow boat from China. The importing process feels like a never-ending series of obstacles and setbacks, which is why we've been so quiet as we worked overtime to sort them out and speed up the process. (In fact, we've been so quiet that several of you have checked in on us to make sure everything is ok. It's good to be missed! But I do apologize for the long silence.)
We expect that shipment to arrive very very soon, however, and it will be worth the wait! It also includes loads of new umami: a red-oil doubanjiang, Sichuan-style fermented black beans, and sweet wheat paste, meaning we will never run out of these products again now that we're importing them ourselves.
All of this is to say that we are well on our way to importing top-quality versions of all the products you need to stock a serious Sichuan pantry. The timing couldn't be more perfect, because you are going to need them as you cook from the just-released new edition of Fuchsia Dunlop's Sichuan cooking bible. This is a very big deal for anyone who loves Sichuan food, and Fuchsia very generously answered all our questions about the new book—the whys and hows of updating it after 20 years—in this wonderful Q&A on our blog.
In other news, we have finally found a warehouse and fulfillment partner that we trust to take over that function for us. This means that Fongchong and I will no longer be packing and shipping every order, and that you're likely to get them much more quickly with professionals doing it instead. This also gives us more time to cook and develop new products and recipes (like the ones below). So watch this space for news of product arrivals and inspired ideas for what to do with them.
Thank you for your patience and all the kind words of support you send our way. We appreciate you!
🌶Taylor & Fongchong 🌶
P.S. We'll send another email as soon as the other products arrive. (Hopefully this week!) In the meantime, enjoy the photo above of the Chengdu cult-classic tian shui mian, hand-cut noodles I made from the recipe in The Food of Sichuan.