Food Product Reviews

Yeo Minced Prawns in Spices
Yeo Minced Prawns in Spices

Yeo Minced Prawns in Spices Review

I fell in love with this umami-rich shrimp paste from Singapore after first purchasing at a little Asian grocery store in Fredericton, New Brunswick almost 40 years ago. It is produced by Yeo Hiap Seung Ltd., and is made with Shrimp, Chili, Onions and Peanuts as the main ingredients. The shrimp are clearly fermented slightly during the manufacturing process, and the result is quite similar to a Filipino Bagoóng Alamáng, or even a Sambal Ikan Bilis. It is sold mainly as a cookery ingredient, especially for soups and noodle dishes, but I find that it shines best as a cold condiment.


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Singlong Sambal Ikan Bilis

Singlong Sambal Ikan Bilis Review

In my post featuring the Huy Fong Brand Sambal Oelek, I mentioned that a Sambal is an Indonesian chili paste and that the Sambal Oelek is the simplest, and the one on which all other are based. A Sambal Ikan Bilis builds on the basic recipe of red chili peppers and salt by enhancing it with the addition of dried Anchovies, or ‘Ikan Bilis’, as they are known in Indonesia.

This commercial product, made by the Singlong Company in Singapore is certainly a Sambal Ikan Bilis in that it is a chili paste with anchovy added, but it also includes several other flavorings as well. It may not be the absolute best representative of its class, but it is still a pretty decent product.


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Jack Hua Sour Shrimp Paste
Jack Hua Sour Shrimp Paste

Jack Hua Sour Shrimp Paste Review

If you are an afficionado of Thai food, you will almost certainly have enjoyed Tom Yum Soup a time or two as it is almost ubiquitous Thai restaurant menus. Making the necessary spice blend at home can be a little difficult for western cooks, though, given the range of ingredients, but this product from the Jack Hua Company in Thailand makes things very simple and convenient. The label on the jar does specifically identify this as being intended for Tom Yum soup (and even provides a simple little recipe), but the paste is extremely versatile and can be adapted to many other dishes as well.


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Huy Fong Sambal Oelek
Huy Fong Sambal Oelek

Huy Fong Sambal Oelek Review

A Sambal is an Indonesian and Malaysian culinary paste made with fresh Chili. The simplest, known as a Sambal Oelek (or Sambal Ulek), is based on nothing more than fresh red chili ground with salt. This basic preparation is the starting point for many, many more complex varieties featuring all sorts of ingredients like ginger, garlic, lime juice, or shrimp paste (to name just a few).

The Huy Fong Foods Company is already well known for its famous Sriracha Sauce which graces many restaurant tables worldwide. It is especially recognizable by the same ‘Cock’ Logo seen on the Sambal Oelek jar above. In many ways, Huy Fong’s Sambal Oelek is actually a better product than the Srircha Sauce as it has a much fresher taste. It also contains very little in the way of additional flavorings and is thus much more versatile and useful to the home cook.


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Litehouse Freeze-dried Lemon Grass
Litehouse Freeze-dried Lemon Grass

Litehouse Freeze-dried Lemon Grass Review

I have purchased and used a number of freeze-dried herb products from Litehhouse™ Foods. Their Sage and Parsley are of decent quality, if not especially remarkable, and I have purchased those more than once. Unfortunately, I have yet to come across a commercially produce dried Lemongrass that was really worth the money, and this version from Litehouse™ is no better.


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InnovAsian™ Cuisine Potstickers
InnovAsian™ Cuisine Potstickers

InnovAsian Cuisine Potstickers Review

InnovAsian Cuisine™ markets several different frozen Asian food products, including a range of dumplings somewhat erroneously referred to as ‘Potstickers’. They can indeed, be cooked and served in the manner of ‘Potstickers’ or ‘Gyoza’, but the manufacturers suggest four different ways to cook them, with microwaving being the preferred method. In this review, the dumplings are tested by cooking them using all four of the methods….


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Go Veggie!™ Parmesan-Style Topping

Go Veggie! Parmesan Style Topping Review

This Go Veggie! Parmesan Cheese substitute has received many good reviews from the Vegan and Vegetarian community, but has been less highly praised by those who enjoy the real thing.

I can certainly respect the choices of those who do not consume dairy, or other animal products, for health or ethical reasons, but, at the same time, I feel sorry for anyone who needs to resort to artificial soy-based cheese products such as this. I had one experience with this ‘Parmesan Style Topping’… there will not be another.


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Gourmet Garden™ Basil Paste in a Tube
Gourmet Garden™ Basil Paste in a Tube

Gourmet Garden™ Basil Paste Review

Commercially produce spice and herb pastes can be a boon to home-cooks in terms of ease of storing, handling, and all-around convenience, but when it comes to taste, many fail at reproducing the full flavor and nuances of the fresh article. Gourmet Garden™ produces several herb and spice pastes, one of which is the recently reviewed Lemon Grass in a Tube. The Lemon Grass product did rate high for convenience, but it was marked by a weak and insipid flavor profile. The Basil Paste, I am happy to report, is far superior.


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