Here we'll explore the vast variety of produce that is used in Asian cuisines. We'll also introduce you to some fruits and vegetables that you've probably never seen before but when you find them give them a try! We'll also talk about pickles and pickling and fermenting in this section as well.
Asian Mushrooms & Fungi
There are a number of mushrooms and fungi that are used in Asian cuisines. These are the most commonly used and the easiest to find fresh in your local supermarket. Any Asian grocery will have these and many high end grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, Jimbos, Gelson's, Lazy Acres will have these fresh mushrooms. You might also find these dried as well especially shiitakes and wood ear mushrooms. Gill-less mushrooms such as Wood Ear and Cloud Ear Fungus are frequently found dried and must be rehydrated before using. Asian mushrooms tend to have a distinctive flavor when compared to Western mushroom varieties. Fungi typically do not have much flavor and they are used primarily for texture and crunch.
Land Based Proteins
Asians use pretty much every part of everything that walks or trots. Pork and beef from head to tail, and everything else in between. Fish, shellfish and cephalopods are eaten in every cuisine. Fresh is key and alive is common. In China you might not know it but there is a large Muslim population and you'll find Halal butchers in most of the larger grocery stores.