The radish in this particular case is the large variety most commonly known by the Japanese name Daikon. This very versatile vegetable is preserved by a variety of different techniques all across Asia, especially by lactic acid fermentation, but the most basic method is by salt curing the flesh to dehydrate it and prevent microbial spoilage. The Chinese were probably the first to treat the vegetable this way but the technique is widely used elsewhere, especially in Korea and Thailand. Indeed, the product pictured above is of Thai manufacture… Read More →

Bamboo shoots are a common ingredient in Asian cuisine that most people have sampled at one time or another but, for the most part, usually only the ones that come in cans. Quite honestly, I don’t care for them when packed this way as the canning process imparts an unpleasant metallic taste that can only be remedied by lengthy soaking, during which time any other flavors get lost as well.

I love pickled or fermented bamboo shoots (see my post here) and also the dried sort, which will be featured in an upcoming post, as both of these have a very unique and delicious character (albeit something of an acquired taste, for some). The fresh article is, unfortunately, something I have yet to be able to cook with as the only times I have seen it in stores is when I was travelling and it was not practical for me to buy it. Accordingly, when I am in the south, I like to buy the brine-packed type you see pictured above. These are not nearly as flavorful as the dried or fermented products, but they add visual appeal and a nice texture to many dishes and have the added advantage of no nasty metallic qualities…Read More →