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Where to buy shaoxing or mirin?

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I know that many of the Asian supermarkets sell the salted "cooking wine" equivalents, but I'm looking for a liquor store or other supplier where I can purchase good mirin (Japanese rice wine, as opposed to Sake, which is really rice beer) or shaoxing (Chinese "yellow wine"), without the added salt. I go buy the theory "If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it!"

I guess that liquor laws in Maryland (and many other jurisdictions) prevent grocery/food stores from selling the unsalted versions, but I've not yet had any luck in finding a liquor store that carries either product, though the one next to the supermarket in Lotte Plaza (Routes 40 and 29) in maryland used to. It seems they may have changed ownership a while back.

Anybody know where else I might try?

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  1. If you are willing to trave to NOVA, GW in Vienna has them

    3 Replies
    1. re: meimei

      Thanks for the recommendation! I'll keep hoping for a source that's closer (I live just south of Baltimore), but if necessary, a drive to NoVA isn't out of the question.

      1. re: meimei

        Not to be anal, but Great Wall is actually in Merrifield, south of the Dunn Loring Metro. There are two slightly closer chinese markets in Rockville called Maxim and Kam San, but I can't confirm if the have it. Best to call ahead.

        1. re: Chownut

          I picked up some shaoxing from Kam San, the real stuff. i like the one in the green ceramic bottle shaped in a gourd. i don't know if they have the real high end stuff.

      2. If I may be forgiven for reposting to this thread merely to get it back in front of people's eyes, I'm still looking for Baltimore-vicinity sources for the unsalted variety of Asian cooking wines, such as mirin and shaoxing. Yes, the Korean supermarkets have the "cooking wine" version with added salt, but I'd rather find a liquor store that carries the unadulterated versions. I go with the school of thought that says if you wouldn't drink it from a glass, don't pour it in your pot or pan.

        Thanks to those who posted previously with the DC-area recs, but I'm still holding out hope for something closer to home.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Warthog

          I'm also looking for a source in the Baltimore area.