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basics at super 88??

heading to super 88 today, after getting a new wok...
i have a lot of condiments, but it seems im always missing 1 when i go to cook...
what do people suggest i stock up on?
miso, light soy sauce, mirin...

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  1. It's hard to make recommendations without knowing more about what kinds of things you expect to be cooking and what you already have. You say you have a lot of condiments - ?

    How about sesame oil, chinkiang vinegar, oyster sauce, Sichuan preserved vegetable, broad bean chili paste, various black bean preparations?

    1. It depends on what you are looking to cook, but since you mentioned Mirin and miso, I would say the basics for Japanese cooking are:

      -Miso (white and a dark or red)
      -Mirin (even better if you can find one that isn't just corn syrup)
      -Soy Sauce (In addition to dark, white is really great for soups if you can find it)
      -Sesame oil
      -Bonito Flakes
      -Sesame paste
      -Rice vinegar

      Chinese is much more varied depending on the region you are interested it but I would definitely pick up:

      -Hoisin Sauce
      -Oyster Sauce
      -Black Vinegar
      -Cooking wine
      -Chili paste
      -Fermented Black Beans
      -Peanut oil (for stir frying)

      1. this is what i was looking for-I dont have a specific cuisine in mind (at the moment)...
        i get to super 88 and become overwhelmed.
        I wanted some suggestions that are pretty common...
        thank you :)

        1. I would add fish sauce to the list. Smells awful but tastes great in dishes and is an umami bomb. Think anchovies. It's used alot in south east asian cooking. Almost any thai dish has some fish sauce in it. Something good to have in the pantry.

          Another one would be chili sauce like siracha.


          1 Reply
          1. re: trillen

            If you are a freshman to fish sauce, make sure you get the clear, dark one (like a dark tea) rather than the opaque, grayish one, which is for the graduate level.

          2. I cook mostly chinese food. I like to have these ingredients on hand:

            light soy sauce
            dark soy sauce
            sesame oil
            chili oil
            hot chili in oil (grandma on label)
            sesame paste
            broad bean paste (dou ban jian)
            preserved vegetables
            chinese black vinegar
            shao xing wine
            rice vinegar
            fermented black beans
            star anise
            peanut oil
            dried hot chili peppers
            sichuan peppercorns
            dried shiitake mushrooms
            dried shrimps

            Fresh ingredients:

            various vegetables

            2 Replies
              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Yes. That is the brand. I always have to look carefully at the words underneath because the sauces all look the same. My preference is for the fried/crisp chilies or something like that. I'm not close to my fridge so I can't look at the exact wording.

                My favorite usage of this stuff is to mix it with hot chile oil and other flavoring a for a noodle sauce.

            1. Is there still a Super 88 in Boston?

              4 Replies
              1. re: C. Hamster

                I always tend to refer to the chinese market in Allston/Brighton near Comm Ave as Super 88, but I think it officially changed names to Hong Kong Supermarket. There is a Super 88 still in Quincy I believe, but I could be wrong. Not sure which one cookfood was referring to originally.


                1. re: trillen

                  I thought all the Super 88's were gone...

                  I still call the food court in Allston the super 88

                  1. re: trillen

                    Nope, replaced by Thuan Dat market in Quincy, focusing on Chinese and Vietnamese foods.

                  2. re: C. Hamster

                    I thought there was one Super 88 left on Essex Street in Chinatown, but I was deked: there's just its old sign left.

                    I still can't break the habit of calling the Packards Corner food court the "Super 88 food court"; I think its sign still says "88 Connection".


                  3. some really great lists.
                    tell me about black vinegar
                    I'll add coconut milk, curry pastes and bamboo shoots to the list. I usually prefer to get my fresh garlic at asian stores as well. It's painful to buy marked up staples at premium prices at local grocery stores.

                    1. Can anyone recommend a place to buy Shao Xiang wine. I have looked in a number of liquor stores and no one seems to carry it anymore. One place told me that the distributor has discontinued carrying it.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: RoyRon

                        Go to any Chinese supermarket and you'll be able to find it. I know for sure Ming's Supermarket in the South End carries it. That's where I bought my last bottle.


                        1. re: RoyRon

                          Trillen, does Ming's sell the real thing? Ie. not salt-added "cooking Shao Xiang" with little or no alcohol? I would love to know where to find real mirin as well.

                          I used to use dry sherry as a substitute for "Shao-Xiang" but then I realized most restaurants I frequent use the "cooking wine" version found at Asian grocers with almost no alcohol and salt added. It has a long shelf life and since I don't cook Chinese stir-fry's daily, I've switched over too it.

                          1. re: Klunco

                            Sorry, I'm not sure. To be honest, I didn't know there was much of a difference between the brands. The one I bought has a red label and is listed as 1.5% salt.

                            If I remember correctly, they have a few different choices and brands.


                            1. re: trillen

                              Yeah, I know the brand you got. That is what I use at home and what I've seen restaurants using. It's fine and does the job, but like RoyRon I'd love to find a liquor store (it would have to be a liquor store technically) that sold the real thing or that sold actual Mirin (not just corn-syrup).

                              1. re: Klunco

                                Hmm, not surprised that the product was discontinued. I can't see there being a huge demand for it outside the Chinese community. Have you tried some of the large liquor store chains like Kappy's or Blanchard's? If they don't even carry it, I'm not sure who would.

                                1. re: trillen

                                  Has anybody checked Reliable Market in Union Square, Somerville? Last time I was there they had a variety of sakes and plum wines and other Asian wines. I wonder if they carry any brands of non-cooking Shaoxiang.

                                  When I manage to check out the new Union Sq. donuts soon, I'll check. Not this weekend, though.

                          2. re: RoyRon

                            Did you look in the liquor store in Chinatown on Beach St, right by the gate? That's where I bought my bottle.

                            1. re: kobuta

                              That's the place. A good variety of real (i.e. not "cooking") rice wine.

                              I checked recently at Reliable and it was no go for Shao Xiang or real mirin. Mirin is proving to be tough - I'm with Klunco on that. Can't find it anywhere.

                              1. re: kobuta

                                Awesome! I will check them out.