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Asian Cooking Pantry Staples

Cebca Feb 13, 2009 09:07 AM

My boyfriend and I have recently decided to start exploring Asian Cuisine in our home cooking. I am excited to try new recipes and techniques, and step one is stocking the pantry with staples. Funds are limited these days, so I am looking for the items that will get the most mileage for the least cost. What would you say are the ten(ish) "most necessary" items to have on hand when cooking Asian food? I realize that is an extremely broad category, so I will say that our favorites are Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese, though I would also like to explore Malaysian and Filipino Cuisine.

So far I'm thinking:

Hoisin Sauce
Miso paste (any color recommended?)
Fish Sauce (vs. Oyster Sauce?)
Rice Vinegar
Sesame Oil
5-spice powder
udon, soba, and rice noodles

Clearly, these are all pretty basic. What am I missing?


  1. JungMann Feb 13, 2009 09:41 AM


    Hoisin and oyster sauce are unnecessary unless you want to cook Chinese. Japanese and Southeast Asian don't have a ton of intersection, but given your cuisines, I'd stock:
    Light soy
    Sesame oil
    Rice vinegar
    Fish sauce
    Curry pastes (red, yellow, massaman, etc.
    )Curry powder
    Noodles (vermicelli, udon, rice stick)
    Palm sugar
    Star anise
    White pepper
    Rice (glutinous and jasmine)

    1 Reply
    1. re: JungMann
      Cebca Feb 13, 2009 09:46 AM

      Perfect, thanks!

    2. greygarious Feb 13, 2009 09:17 AM

      The dried mushrooms in Asian markets are varied and bargain-priced. Reconstituted mushrooms are common in Asian recipes and just as useful for other cuisines.

      Various seaweeds will be needed, especially for Japanese dishes. Wasabi and pickled ginger, unless you want to make your own.

      Dried shrimp.

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