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Feb 27, 2014 03:47 PM

dou ban jiang in ebay or sf?

I've been looking in SF and Oakland Asian markets whenever I pop in, but I haven't found the Pixian kind (jars wrapped in paper and tied with twine) or Minh Teh brand from Taiwan. Any leads on where I can find either?

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  1. I bought the Pixian kind at Ranch 99 in Richmond. it was not in a Jar though. It was packed in Plastic and then wrapped with Paper and tied with Twine

    8 Replies
    1. re: chefj

      Thank you! I've looked before at R99 Richmond and didn't see it. I'll look again.

      1. re: rubadubgdub

        How different is that from the Lee Kum Kee-type stuff?

        1. re: essvee

          It's supposed to be more complex (but I haven't tried it yet which is why I'm seeking it). Pixian is in Sichuan province and apparently they ferment outdoors and turn by hand. I would guess that Lee Kum Kee is mass produced in a factory like the rest of their stuff.

          1. re: essvee

            It is really very different.
            Stronger, darker and more earthy with chunks of Fava Beans and Chili. More fermented taste.

            1. re: chefj

              Wow, that sounds great. I'm so looking forward to finding it.

        2. re: chefj

          Where did you find it at the Richmond 99? Looked for it today

          1. re: kc72

            I am pretty sure it was with the other Chili Sauces.
            Perhaps they do not have it all the time. Did you ask anyone?

        3. 'Marina Food Market" has two brands of the Pixian kind, as pictured.

          4 Replies
            1. re: rubadubgdub

              East Bay, on Warm Springs Blvd. (not sure the name of the town)

            2. re: intomeat

              I have had the one on the right, though not purchased in the Bay Area, as well as the darker, more complex paste that chefj refers to above. The one on the right is more liquid, spicier, brighter, less complex. I also have bought a darker, more complex paste in a porcelain jar; I don't remember the wrapping. I prefer the more complex paste and mostly use that, though I will occasionally toss in a bit of the LKK version to amp up the heat.

            3. I purchased one from 99 Ranch market in Richmond last year. The one I purchased came in a plastic bag wrapped in paper and looked similar to the OP picture but was a different brand. Used it to make MaPo tofu. I didn't care for the particular brand I purchased. It tasted overpowering and I suspect gave us an upset stomach so I threw the rest out.

              1. Note, I recommended a couple of specific brands when this came up in the Ma Po Tofu DOTM thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9224...

                Based on cooking that particular dish avidly for several years (and others that rely on dou ban jiang, such as Twice-Cooked Pork).

                Note that it is sometimes Romanized other ways on labels, such as "Toban Djian." And when I referred in the other thread to wide range of saltiness, the brand that had about the most salt, and that I quickly rejected on flavor as well as being propped up with needless additives as I recall, was the ubiquitous Lee Kum Kee (LKK), the brand of Chinese condiments you will find in a Safeway or 7-11 if they have only a few such items. I think a few products in LKK's huge line are unique and useful, but far too many of them lean on totally gratuitous sugar, salt, starch, etc., which just gets in the way of the essential flavors the cook wants.

                LKK seems largely to present its condiments as all-in-one, instant-Chinese-recipe bases. Sort of like Knorr-Swiss, Coleman's, etc that promise easy Beouf Bouguignonne from a packet.

                1. I saw it at Richmond Ranch 99 today. It was in aisle 3, on the top shelf, and closer to the fish market end of the aisle. There were a few bags left.

                  This is great stuff! It's a critical ingredient for my Sichuan cooking.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: vespadoggie

                    Thank you for the superior sleuthing! I ran out and got it. I still had to ask for it because it was pushed back on the top shelf (halfway down the aisle, on the right, if you're facing the fish counter), away from my probing eyes. The picture really helped. FWIW it is produced by Sichuan Pixian Douban Co Ltd and contains only red chili, broad bean, salt, wheat flour.

                    1. re: rubadubgdub

                      You're welcome! I'm glad you were successful in your quest. The first time I found it, I walked every single aisle since I often can't find the item I'm looking for in the area that makes the most sense to me.

                      I'm still trying to find facing heaven chilies there since others have told me they sell them. However, asking and walking every aisle didn't yield results.

                      1. re: vespadoggie

                        I've asked about the facing heaven chilies there also, but I admit that they tell me to check on the name etc. Walking every aisle is my only choice, so thank you. I will try tomorrow.

                      2. re: rubadubgdub

                        Sichuan Pixian Douban Co also makes a hotpot base containing the bean paste. The green pkg contains green prickly ash and the red one contains regular prickly ash and the description reads: Hot & Spicy Sauce w Pickled Red Chili. My sis said she liked the green one very much, hasn't tried the red one. No MSG on the label. Found at Tin's Market in Oakland.

                      3. re: vespadoggie

                        The same product is sold in San Francisco at Clement Street's New May Wah.