Chinese Essentials Pantry Collection includes:


Chinese Essentials Pantry Collection

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Chinese Essentials Pantry Collection includes:


New to Chinese cooking and not sure how to build a Chinese pantry? Or perhaps you have a few old bottles of sauce knocking around but they don't produce the flavor you're hoping for?

Then shop no further if you want to build an instant primo Chinese pantry that will lay the foundation for cooking any regional Chinese cuisine. We’ve curated and imported China Time Honored Brands and regional heritage products that are the best China has to offer. They have withstood the test of time, beloved by locals for hundreds of years, and are the very definition of traditional flavor. 

The 9 full-size sauces and spices included in the Chinese Essentials Pantry Collection are used literally every day in Chinese cooking.

Everyone knows light soy sauce, or just "soy sauce," is indispensable in Chinese food, but dark soy sauce is also used frequently to add color and additional salty-sweet umami. Sichuan's famous Zhongba brand of soy sauces wins over everyone who tastes them. The light soy sauce is naturally brewed for 360 days and needs zero additives to produce its unrivaled flavor. 

Often paired with light and dark soy sauce in a stir-fry or noodle sauce is oyster sauce. We carry a gluten-free version with no additives from Thailand that is favored among many chefs and cooks for its subtlety. Made from real oysters, this is the only non-plant-based ingredient in the collection. 

The acid component in Chinese food is almost always vinegar, and specifically black vinegar made of rice and multiple other grains. Zhenjiang vinegar from eastern China is one of the country's Four Famous Vinegars, and Hengshun is its most famous maker. This handmade version has been aged 6 years, for extra depth and richness. 

Shaoxing rice wine is very often used as a marinade for meats and fish to tame unwanted flavors or added to the wok while cooking to tame the heat and add a nutty-sweet fragrance. Huadiao designates the best of the Shaoxing cooking wines. 

Roasted sesame oil, on the other hand, is generally added at the end of a stir-fry as a finishing oil or to cold sauces and dips. This sesame oil from Shandong is stone-ground on a small mill in a process that banishes the sharpness and retains the nutrients. 

Dried shiitake mushrooms are another source of umami often reached for, especially in vegetarian cooking. The highest grades of shiitake in China are called flower mushrooms because of their cracked tops that make them resemble flowers. 

This collection also includes two of the most used spices in popular Chinese cuisines such as Cantonese. Our Mala Market 5 Spice is comprised of whole spices, allowing you to grind the powder yourself for maximum freshness. Our fermented white pepper is from Hainan Island and is packaged in an oversized glass grinder. 

See individual products on this site for more description of each one, including brandname, provenance, ingredients and production methods.

Recommended cookbooks for this collection

Unlike our Sichuan pantry collections, which include recipe cards to get you started, for the Chinese Essentials Collection we recommend a good all-around Chinese cookbook. We carry four recently published cookbooks (all 2022!) that each span Chinese cuisines, including Chinese American, and frequently use every product in this collection:

Recommended add-ons for this collection

You may note the conspicuous absence in this collection of Sichuan specialty ingredients, the focus of our shop, but we know that not everyone who loves Chinese food eats spicy. If, however, you love the food of Sichuan and other southwestern and western Chinese cuisines, you can easily add on additional products or collections to this one. We recommend:

If this is a gift, know that we do not include any pricing info in the box. The collection is packaged with red tissue paper and a product storage and usage guide. 

A note on shipping cost: This collection includes seven heavy glass bottles that need to be well cushioned to protect against breakage. Because shipping cost is based on both weight and box size, the cost to ship this collection is quite high. We must charge the customer accordingly, but are covering up to half of the cost to ship it to some parts of the U.S. mainland.