All About Asian Food

August 2011 Archives

AFG QUIZ

We at AsianFoodGrocer are always looking for ways to make our customers better, happier people. And one way we can do that is keep you well informed. We made this quiz so all you wonderful people out there can test your knowledge of your favorite foods. The quiz covers pretty much every area, and we want to see just how educated our customers are. So don't be shy, step up and give it a shot. And no cheating, close that Wikipedia page!

Click the link below to get started

Did you pass? How was it? Too hard? Well, you should've studied then. Don't worry, we'll give you all more opportunities to impress your friends. And to those who passed with flying colors- good work. Go reward yourself with some Pocky and hit the showers.

Japanese Seasonings 101

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

Japan has an ancient tradition of culinary dishes. From their spices, to their eating utensils, to their methods of cooking, the Japanese have enough history behind their cooking to have mastered almost any dish.

Today we're going to go over some of the various ingredients the Japanese use in their cooking, and the different results and recipes you can expect to get with these ingredients.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is one of the most obvious Japanese ingredients. Even though the Japanese didn't invent it, they still rely on it heavily. Soy sauce was originally made in China, by fermenting soy beans with salt and water. It's typically used as a condiment for rice and noodle dishes, and offers up a saltier, more savory flavor. People often use soy sauce for glazes, dips, barbecues, and various other meals. In Japan it is used very lightly, though in America we tend to overdo it a little bit.

Curry

Curry is another seasoning/meal that the Japanese didn't invent, but have widely adopted and made their own. It was even shown that each Japanese person had curry approximately 127 times in 2005. Curry is typically a spicy dish, often mixed with meat and vegetables, then served over rice. Other kinds of curry are served with breaded pork cutlet, fried rice, or even a raw egg. There are a wide range of instant curries available, curry powders, and easy to make curry dinners. It's pretty simple to make, and will offer a rich, hearty flavor to whatever you're pairing it with.

Dashi
Dashi Soup

Dashi is a common ingredient used to make Japanese soup. There are various types and styles available, depending on what soup you're trying to make. Dashi, at its most basic requirement, typically calls for kelp as well as some variety of fish. People often make their own by combining tuna flakes with kombu, as well as some spices, and sometimes even shiitake mushrooms. People often make their own home made dashi to avoid flavor enhancers like MSG or high sodium doses.

Yakiniku

Yakiniku is a unique style of barbecuing that was introduced to Japan post WWII. It is common in Yakiniku restaurants for raw food to be brought out to guests, and for the people to cook their own food using a grill at the table. Typically vegetables and meat are grilled, though beef is the main preference. There are various types of sauces associated with Yakiniku. The sauces can be similar to barbecue sauce, although with something of a lighter and less spicy effect to them. The sauces are typically made with mirin, soy sauce, garlic, and sesame.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is common across South East Asia, as well as some areas of China and Japan. It is a typical ingredient for soups, casseroles, sauces, curries, and noodle dishes. The sauces are strongly flavored, so they tend to be used lightly. It's commonly used as a condiment, though it can also used in cooking and food preparation.

Sesame Oil

Sesame Oil is used in a variety of different meals. Although it's usually added toward the end of the cooking process because sesame oil will begin to smoke at hot temperatures. It is popular for its health benefits, Furikake seasoning which include a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, omega fatty acids. The sesame oils have also been shown to be effective in reducing cholesterol.

Furikake

Furikake is sort of like Japanese salt and pepper, and is commonly used to add a little flavor to plain white rice. It typically uses ingredients such as seaweed, sesame seeds, dried fish, salt, and sometimes MSG. It stores pretty easily, though it should be kept in a cool dry place to ensure that it lasts.

This is just a basic run through of the types of seasonings and flavors you might to expect in a run into while in Japan. Hopefully this will make you a little more savvy about the ingredients when you order from a restaurant.

Jacobs Kronung

If you're like most people out there, you enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee. The way its delicate aroma wafts about you. The way it warms you from your fingertips to your belly.

And just like most people out there, you probably don't want any plain old coffee. You want good Coffee. No. You want the best coffee. Or at least the best that your wallet can accommodate for.

Well, we have good news for all you coffee loving penny pinchers out there. AFG has long sold Jacobs Kronung, which is regarded as not only Europe's best coffee, but one of the world's best coffees. It is one of our most popular products, and in an attempt to show some love to our customers, we are reducing our prices on our Coffee Bundle Kits. That's right, you read correctly. No need to get your eyes checked!

We are making it easier than ever for you coffee aficionados to stock up on the various kinds of Jacobs coffee that we offer. But the bundle kits are also the perfect opportunity for people new to Kronung to get a sampler and figure out what flavors they love, as well as what caffeine levels are most appropriate for them.

And maybe you're are asking yourself 'why is Jacobs the best?' Well, we'll tell you. The coffee beans for Jacobs Kronung are taken from various places all over the world, and are then manufactured in Germany. The roasting and the careful selection process of picking out the quality of coffee beans is what has made this coffee stand out in both quality and popularity.

Jacobs Kronung first began coming over to the United States when Military personnel stationed in Germany and across Europe began trying the coffee and bringing it back home. The Americans loved the coffee so much that they began demandingJacobs Kronung stores sell it here in America. So that's just what we did! You're welcome.

Here are the three types of bundle kits we are offering.


The Instant

This includes two styles of caffeinated coffee, Gold Cronat, and Gold Kronung. Jacobs Cronat is a smooth, low acidity brew with hues of a sweet, almost nutty effect.

Jacobs Kronung is a bit stronger, with a more rich and robust flavor. It's still just as easy to make however, and provides the same great quality as any product offered here.


The traditional


Jacobs Kronung This indludes 4 styles of Jacobs coffee. Mild, Balance, Decaf, and Traditional.
Mild- This is a low acidity, medium roast designed for people with sensitive stomachs who still like a rich aroma, smooth texture, and a great tasting cup of coffee.

Balance- This is a half-caf blend that offers the bold flavors and fragrances that made the coffee famous, but with less caffeine. Jacobs Blend is for people who are caffeine sensitive, or want the delicious flavors, but simply aren't in the mood for energy.

Decaf- This is perfect for people who enjoy a coffee after their dinner, or who are caffeine sensitive. It is a popular option because it offers delicious flavors, a hearty aroma, and a full bodied texture, but just without the energy.

Traditional - May we introduce the grand champion of European coffees. Jacobs Kronung Original. This coffee offers the superbly textured, the earthy aromas, and the rich, full roasted flavor that has got the world eager for its next cup of Jacobs Kronung Coffee.


Both!


This gives you everything. The instant for when you're on the go, and the traditional coffees for those who like to invest a little time in their coffees.

Personally, we recommend having a couple styles of coffee around the house, because you never know what mood your guests will be in when you offer them a cup of coffee. And you never know when you'll feel like mixing it up with something new. So don't limit yourself by having only one style!

 

 

 



HuizongWe at AFG have finally lost our minds. Seriously. We've lost it. Here's what we're talking about- 4 huge sales, and one Mooncake Contest! All the the SAME TIME!

See? Crazy. We don't want to keep you waiting, so we'll tell you the best one first.

Sale #1: Deal of the Weekend

So beginning this Friday (the 19th) we are going to begin our Deal of the Weekend. What this means is that each week we are going to be taking one of our more popular items, and reducing the price for that one item from Friday to Sunday.

We'll announce the deal on Friday, and you will have until Sunday night to finalize your purchases. And don't miss out, because once the deal is done, it'll be done.

Sadly, you don't get to pick your deal. We decide that. It'll be a new item each week, and some weeks we might even have a bundle option. So keep your eyes glued to the site and don't miss out on the deal of the weekend. And because each Deal of the Weekend is going to be a BIG DEAL, we are having a 10 item limit per customer. So each person can only buy 10 deals. Sorry, we just want you to all get a piece of the savings.

Now, just because we like you so much, we're going to give you a heads up on what the Deal of the Weekend is. It's Orchids Shirataki Noodles 7 ounce bags. Normally they go for $2.18, but for the Deal of the Weekend they are going for $1.05. That's right folks. Fantastic Shirataki noodles for just $1.05.

And why are we having such an amazing Deal of the Weekend, you might ask? Well, don't ask! Just accept that we like you.

The Contest: Mooncake Fever

We want to hear your best Mooncake experiences. Tell us the story of your first Mooncake, or of your favorite flavor, or of something funny that happened involving Mooncakes. Whatever you have to say. To tell your story go to any of our Mooncake products and click on the Leave a Review button. And tell your favorite Mooncake experience under the review section.

We're going to take everyone;s email, and pull one out of a hat. The winner will take home our Mooncake mascot, Kelly, as well as a $15 gift card to our store. So tell us your best stories, and good luck!

Sale #2: Over $50

Any order over fifty dollars will get a free gift. And here's what's available. Origami Paper. Caramel Pocky. Stickers. Apica binders. And the deal only lasts as long as our supplies do.
And that's it- no extra fees or surprises. Simply spend 50 dollars or more for an order, and you get free stuff!!
Huizong

Sale #3: Mooncake Fever 2

Every time you order one of our mooncakes, you will be getting a free thermos as well. And this isn't some cheap leftover thermos either. This is the good stuff. Keep your soup warm, your coffee hot, and your ice cold beverages icy cold.

The #4 sale. Over $100

Any order over $100, and under 70 pounds gets free shipping. Order anything you like, Pocky,, Tofu, Mooncakes, whatever you want. As long as it's over $100 and under 70 pounds, it ships free anywhere in the continental United States.

Now, the best thing about these deals is that they are not exclusive. You don't have to pick just one. You can get all of them! You can get your free gift, free shipping, a free thermos, and the super amazing Shirataki Deal of the Weekend- all on one order!

We hope you're still with us, because we're freaking out over here. I'm going to have to lie down for a while, but I hope you're as excited as we are about all this.

Welcome to Talk Time

Huizong

Hello all, this is Julian. You might remember me from such films as Asian Food Grocer - Talk Time. We started doing Talk Time in order to provide detailed and personal product reviews to our customers.

But we decided to make it much more than just reviews- we're also answering questions, addressing concerns, and letting you guys get to know us- so you don't think we're just another online company out to make a quick buck. The object here is to make this an open and reliable method of communication between you and us.

So please contact us via email (info@asianfoodgrocer.com), facebook, twitter, or respond to our Talk Time Videos. Tell us what products you want us to review, ask us any questions you have, let us know if we're doing a good job- or you can always respond with a Talk Time food review of your own.

Anyway, thanks for checking us out, and we hope to hear from you soon.

Get to Know your Noodles

Noodles have appeared in various cultures and cuisines across the globe. Although Asia has probably produced more types and styles of noodles than anyone. Because of that you may get lost in all the options that are out there. So whether you're trying to choose between a salty, savory ramen dish, or a spicy Sichuan dish, or a super healthy Shirataki dish, we'll help you out. And to make things easier, you can click on any of the photographs below to get a recipe for that particular noodle.


Wasabi Shrimp Crackers

Ramen
Ramen noodles are probably the most widely recognized Asian noodles in America. They are available in both fresh and in package form, and come in an impossibly long list of flavors. The dish is normally a salty, savory meal, with noodles, broth, and possible toppings such as seaweed, corn, sliced pork, green onions, or fish. Ramen has skinny, Chinese styled wheat noodles, with a broth flavored either by a meat or fish base.

Ramen is a highly regionalized dish, with pretty much every corner of Japan offering its own take on the popular food. The ramen of today is not the same as it was in ancient Japan though. The name, ramen, wasn't even in popular use until the 1950's. But the dish's popularity really began to spread around the post war era when cheap flour became readily available in Japan, and when instant ramen was first invented.

By the 1980's Ramen was becoming a global phenomenon, and while fresh ramen may be difficult to find in the United States, especially if you live in a community without a Japanese population, instant ramen is almost impossible not to run into in most stores.

Wasabi Shrimp Crackers

Shirataki
Shirataki noodles can be either dark and opaque, or light and translucent. Also they are sometimes prepared with seaweed for a higher iron content. They are versatile noodles made from the root of the konjac flower in Asia. The noodles come in various textures and styles, allowing them to be used in almost any fashion. They are famous for their diet benefits: a low fat, low calorie, low cholesterol, and high fiber content.

They are currently sweeping across the nation as the next big health food. They've appeared on many cooking shows and TV personality shows, such as Rachel Ray and Dr. Oz.
The noodles are pretty tasteless themselves, but they will absorb the flavors of whatever they are prepared with. Because of this they are often seen as a type of 'replacement noodle' where noodles with a higher fat content, such as egg noodles, can be replaced by the zero fat Shirataki noodle.

The noodles will also expand a little in your stomach, making a person feel more full than they really are. Because eating less is one of the best ways to get fit, the noodles have shown to be very effective in shaping diets and waist lines.

 

Wasabi Shrimp Crackers

Udon
Udon noodles are thick, wheat flour noodles and are very popular in Japanese cuisine. They can be either square or round and they puff up when cooked much like Italian noodles, giving them a uniquely soft yet dense texture.

The size, texture, broths, and ingredients associated with the noodle vary by region in Japan, with manufacturers going as far as making instant Udon noodles that cater to different parts of the country. Typically a darker broth is enjoyed in the East, while a lighter one is enjoyed in Western Japan.

Udon was first introduced to the Japanese by the Buddhist priest Kukai around the 9th century A.D. when he traveled to China and returned with the noodle recipe.
The noodle is typically a low fat, high energy meal, with small amounts of protein, making it a popular on the go treat.

Wasabi Shrimp Crackers

Soba
Soba Noodles are long and thin, and are made from buckwheat flour. Buckwheat is actually not wheat at all, and is classified as a pseudo cereal. The noodle dish is very popular in Tokyo, and can be served either in the informal setting of a fast food stand in a train station, or a high class expensive restaurant. Soba can be served either hot or cold. When eaten cold they are usually served alongside Tsuyu, a dashi based dipping sauce often filled with wasabi, sweet soy sauce, and scallions. Many people think eating the noodles cold allows for greater appreciation of the hand made noodle's texture, as eating it in hot soup changes the feel of it.

Soba, when eaten hot, is almost always eaten as a soup. The dashi used to make it is a lot thinner than the Tsuyu used for cold soba. Various meats and vegetables are served in soba, everything from duck, to fish cakes, to a single raw egg.

Soba noodles are noted for being high in energy, antioxidants, various essential nutrients like thiamine and riboflavin, and for containing all 8 types of amino acids necessary for human function. So while most noodles lack the nutrients to sustain a lot of health benefits, soba is able to offer a more complete dietary plan.


Wasabi Shrimp CrackersVermicelli
Vermicelli Noodles in Asia are very different from the vermicelli noodles consumed in Italian dishes. The Italians make their with wheat, and make thicker noodles, while the Asians usually use rice flour.  The noodles in Asia are also known as Rice Sticks, Rice Vermicelli, or Rice Noodles.

These are popular diet noodles, not only due to their fat free, cholesterol free, and low sodium content, but also for their incredible diversity. They can go with almost any meal, whether it's meat, rice, stir-fry, stir fry, pad thai, soup, or salad. Additionally, they have little flavor on their own, and will take on the flavor of whatever they are cooked with.

Wasabi Shrimp Crackers

Egg Noodles
Egg noodles are very common throughout Asia. They are generally made by blending wheat flour, cornstarch, salt, oil, and of course egg. The added egg offers a more rich and robust flavor, texture, and color. When made fresh, the noodles are made very long to symbolize good luck and longevity in Chinese tradition.

Countless Chinese dishes specifically call for Egg Noodles. The most popular Egg Noodle meal here in America is Chow Mein, which can be found at any Chinese restaurant. Egg noodles are made to cook fast. When done cooking, the noodles become slightly chewy and are dunked in cold water to stop the cooking process, much like what you would do when making caramel.


Hofan
Ho Fan noodles are a wide and flat Chinese rice noodle similar in taste to the vermicelli noodles found in Pad Thai or Vietnamese Pho. Ho Fan noodles are white in color and are very slippery when cooked, making it difficult to eat them if you aren't skilled with chopsticks.

Using a fork helps A LOT when trying to catch these slick morsels. Their texture is stretchy and a bit chewy. They can normally be found in many Asian dishes such as Thai Pad, Pho noodle soup, and Chinese Chow Fun. Ho Fan Noodles don't have very much taste themselves but much like vermicelli they will absorb the flavor of whatever sauce they are cooked in.

Sichuan
Sichuan noodles, or Szechuan as they're spelled in the states, are named after the providence in China from which they originated, Sichuan. The noodles themselves are not very unique and are similar to udon in their texture, and in that they are a high energy noodle with a good deal of protein. However the taste of the Sichuan noodle is infamously spicy. They are often served with chilies or a spicy peanut sauce to really make the dish hot. The noodles are very versatile and can be worked into most meals, whether it's served alongside meat, vegetables, broth, or rice.

We hope this noodles blog helps to inform you about what noodles might be best for your needs. So whether you're looking for a healthy, low fat shirataki noodle dish, a savory, salty bowl of ramen, or just some good old fashioned Udon noodles.

When most people think of Japanese confectionaries they usually think of Pocky, Hi-Chew, and maybe Hello Panda. But what they don't realize is that there's a mysterious side to Japanese snacks, a crunchy side. In this blog we're going to go over some of the more savory treats that go unnoticed in Pocky's shadow. So strap yourself in and get ready for your mind to be expanded.

Spicy Wasabi peas

# 5. Health

Many people are looking for a way to enjoy their favorite snacks, but also a way to stay healthy while doing it. For that we introduce to you two of our most popular products: Wasabi Peas and Honey Rice Crackers. Wasabi peas are simply green peas that have a crunchy exterior of wasabi. Some will have artificial ingredients added, but if you get the ones with fewer additives then you're in for a delicious, healthy snack with vitamins, iron, and low levels of fat and cholesterol. Honey Rice Crackers are a healthy option when the snack cravings hit because they're low in fat, calories, cholesterol, and sugar. Plus they have seaweed as a main ingredient, which is known for having more vitamins and nutrients in it than most land vegetables. So give either of these healthy snacks a try the next time you've just gotta have some Japanese snacks.

#4. Crunchy can be sweet too!

Sweet Korinto For those craving the crunchy AND the sweet, we introduce Karintos. Karintos are small snack crackers, with deep fried bits of doe and caramelized sugar in it. They are the perfect mixture of crunchy and sweet, and have a rich, complex flavor. They're extremely popular in Japan, but are still pretty hard to find here in the States. There are various styles, but two of our favorite flavors are the White Sugar Karinto, which tastes sort of like a churro (basically the same concept), and Gokujyo Peanut Karinto, which tastes sort of like sweet peanut brittle.

#3. Avoiding food boredom:

Food boredom is a real thing, and pretty much everyone is susceptible to it. We eat candy and snacks for fun, because they taste good, but like all things fun, our body can grow bored of it, and yearn for something new. It's no different than video games, movies, or eating mom's tuna casserole every night.
So we invite you to take a break from the Pocky and the Hi-Chews, and give something crunchy a chance. Pick something you're not used to, something unique, something that will make your mouth go "Whoa, that's new." We recommend the Meiji Cheese Curls, or the Tohato Caramel Corn Roast Almond Cracker.

The idea behind this is that you your surprise your taste buds, so that when you do return to your beloved Pocky, Hello Panda, and Hi-Chew, you can return to them with renewed vigor, and a healthy lust for their candy deliciosity.

Wasabi Shrimp Crackers

#2. Pursuit of the Weird:


Who doesn't like to impress their friends with something they've never seen before? Something abstract. Something scary. Something weird. For that we offer you Dehydrated Squid, Shrimp Crackers , and Black Pepper Konjac Fiber Slices. These are some of the more unique items you'll find on our website. You should try them, if not just for the weird factor, then because you just might like them.

#1. Because it tastes good!

The number 1 reason to try crunchy snacks- because they're great! When it comes to crunchy snacks, the Japanese have some really delicious options. From the scrumptious caramel crackers, to the spicy wasabi peas, to the sweet Korinto, to the savory rice crackers, you're going to find the whole gambit of flavors when it comes to our crunchy snacks.

 

 

Street Fighter Energy Drink

Asianfoodgrocer.com is the best place to get your imported candy. We all know that- but if you've been under a rock for the last few months you might not have seen our line of Boston America Products.

Boston America is a wholesale only company, and they provide some of the most unique and interesting licensed and novelty items out there. They specialize in confectionary items relating to animes, video games, or pop culture.

Check out the list of items they carry below, and you'll see what you've been missing out on.


Energy Drinks
Every once in a while we all need a boost of energy to help us through our work day, our homework, or just to stay awake. Some people don't care what they drink, they'll take any old thing. But we know our AFG fans have a reputation to keep up, so we're offering some of the coolest energy drinks around. We have the Street Fighter Dragon Punch Energy Drink, for the fighter. We have the Zombie Survival Can for the apocalypse survivalist. We have the Mario Bros for the classic gamer, and many more!

Tinned Candy
Sometimes people want their tinned candy to mean something. They want to be reminded of something with nostalgic value. Or a favorite video game or anime. Boston America has many of your favorite video game icons, from past and present. We have your Pacman, your Sonic, your Nintendo, Atari, and we even threw in some Hello Kitty tinned candy for the people who could never get on the video game train.
Mario Mushroom Sours
Gum
Get your gum here! We have Tinned gum that looks just like a Wii Controller, and we have gum that comes in a Hello Kitty Mini Portable Bag. Don't get your gum without a collectible tin to keep it fresh!

Band-Aids

We even have adhesive bandages inspired by your favorite characters. We have Mario Bros. 'Know Your Enemy' bandages, for the gamer that gets hurt a lot. We have Hello Kitty bandages for those who like to doctor their wounds while looking adorable, and we have Happy Bunny bandages. He'll cover your scrapes and scratches with pure sarcasm.

So check out our Boston America Products. They'll offer a touch of nostalgia for the hardcore gamer, and the chance to learn your history if you're new to gaming. They have the cute, the intense, and the hard to find. Take a look and we know you'll find something to love.

Cooking with Red Beans


Tofu Red Beans are one of the most common dessert ingredients across Asia. They're pretty healthy, they taste great, and they're not very expensive. This makes them an easily accessible dessert enjoyed by many people across various social and economic classes.

Red beans are traditionally turned into a Sweetened Paste. People do this by boiling the beans with various sugars or herbs to enhance the taste. Then they take the boiled beans and mash them down into a paste. The beans are sort of sweet by themselves, but by adding your own tasty ingredients you can really make the flavor of these beans shine.

Once the beans have been boiled and mashed, they're ready for a thousand different recipes. The paste can be used to go inside a Mochi Ball, or some Sweet Bread, or it can be used as a spread on Pastry Items. It can be used to flavor ice cream, or some Agar-Agar, which is sort of like Japanese jello. Or you can even use it to make various soups.Tofu

You may also notice that red beans are referred to as either Azuki (also spelled adzuki), or ogura. Azuki and ogura are similar, but they're not the same. Ogura generally refers to the beans after they've been mashed and sweetened. Azuki usually refers to beans that haven't undergone this process.

The beans are high in fiber, soluble fiber, protein, iron, and complex carbohydrates. This makes them a very important food item because they help with energy, blood health, digestion health, and muscle health. Try some of our Recipes, and experiment with this wonderful ingredient yourself.

 Asian Bean Salad
Asian Bean Salad
Test your sushi skills with a more complex recipe, that will entertain your guests and satisfy your hunger. Try Asian Bean Salad
 Dessert Sushi Recipe
Dessert Sushi
Test your sushi skills with a more complex recipe, that will entertain your guests and satisfy your hunger. Try Dessert Sushi