Namikura Kyoto-Style White Miso
Savory, sweet and flavor-dense, white miso is an absolutely essential pantry item. Winey-sweet, buttery and deeply rich, this organic version from Japanese family producer Namikura Miso Co. is more complex and less salty than other brands, which means it can be used more freely with soy sauce without dishes tasting overly seasoned.
Namikura Red Miso
Red Miso is stronger, saltier and more assertively flavored than yellow or white miso due to its six-month aging process and has a higher proportion of soybeans for a richer taste. This particularly interesting version has sweet flavors reminiscent of sherry and milk chocolate that are perfect for pairing with red meat and other robust dishes.
Namikura Yuzu Miso
This small-batch Yuzu Miso is aged with yuzu zest for three months, so the semi-tart, floral notes of the Japanese citrus permeate and meld with the salty tang of miso. The final product is mellow and smooth in both taste and texture, with an initial bright burst of yuzu and a salty-sweet finish of earthy fermented soybean.
Namikura Sesame Miso
Namikura's Sesame Miso is a mellow miso paste that balances the intense saltiness of fermented soybeans with the nutty, bittersweet flavor of sesame. Black and white sesame seeds, both whole and pureed, are blended into the miso and traditionally fermented for three months, resulting in a mild product that tastes like a perfect balance of miso and tahini.
BLiS Gourmet Barrel Aged Fish Sauce
This bourbon barrel-aged fish sauce is mellowed by seven months of sitting in oak, so the earthy, meaty funk that one expects from any fermented fish product is beautifully balanced by a complementary sweetness. BLiS's product is also rounded out with soft notes imparted by the seven-month aging process: warming spices, vanilla, and fruit woods, as well as a subtle smoky depth.
Haku Iwashi Whiskey Barrel Aged Fish Sauce
Iwashi Whiskey Barrel-Aged Fish Sauce is aged for two years before it spends an additional year in a Japanese oak whisky barrel. The fish sauce is made from just three ingredients: sardines from the Sea of Japan, salt and sugar. It is intensely briny but not fishy, and so much better than what you can find in your local supermarket. Our tasters loved the salty, balanced flavor.
Haku Smoked Shoyu
Haku Smoked Shoyu is a limited-production Japanese soy sauce made with wheat, so it has a sweet, round flavor and can be used in versatile ways. This shoyu is smoked with Mizunara oak, a rare type of Japanese oak also prized for Japanese whiskey. Use it either on its own for dipping or as an ingredient for layering salty, sweet and umami flavor in your dishes.
Haku Matsutake Shoyu from Japan is made by infusing matsutake mushroom stems into shiro shoyu—a light, subtly sweet variety of soy sauce with a higher wheat content and mellow golden color—so the mushroom flavor really stands out. The resulting shoyu is earthy, balanced and lightly woody, with a strong mushroom flavor.
Haku Black Garlic Shoyu
Haku Black Garlic Shoyu is a sweet, salty, and umami soy sauce with complex aromas of earthy must. Brewed with wheat, shoyu has a sweeter, rounder flavor than other types of soy sauce, and black garlic imparts hints of fig, raisin, molasses that complement this shoyu’s subtle sweetness. Black garlic shoyu is often used in Japan as a finishing shoyu or as a stand-alone ingredient.
Nitto Jozo White Tamari
Note that while tamari is often used as a term for gluten-free soy sauce, Nitto Jozo’s White Tamari is actually all wheat-based. (In Japan, tamari simply refers to a liquid that is pressed out of another substance—in this case, wheat.) This sauce is malty-sweet and slightly tangy, a great choice for those who want the umami flavor of soy sauce with less saltiness.
Takuko White Soy Sauce
There is no such thing as just “soy sauce” in Asian cuisine — there are different brews for different purposes. A good example is Japanese white (shiro) soy sauce, which is light amber in color and clearer and thinner than dark soy sauce. Made from coarsely milled roasted wheat that is mixed with steamed soybeans and inoculated with a special type of rice mold called koji, this soy sauce has a subtle flavor that can be used in salad dressings and marinades.
Togo-Su Kurozu Rice Wine Vinegar w/ Hijiki Seaweed
Kurozu is a type of artisanal rice vinegar that is aged for several years until its flavors soften, a subtle caramelization develops, and the vinegar darkens to a deep amber color. Togo-Su’s Kurozu Vinegar with Hijiki is made with mountain spring water and naturally aged in century-old clay pots, with a mother vinegar that imbues the kurozu with the complex flavors of each batch that came before it. The company’s addition of earthy, mineral-rich hijiki seaweed results in more depth and roundness, as well as a bold, briny element to balance the rice sugars in the vinegar. In Japan, kurozu is consumed culturally as a drinking vinegar, but we prefer its briny quality paired with dressings or sauces for seafoods, like poached or roasted salmon. We like to mix equal parts softened butter with white miso and add the Togo-Su’s Kurozu Vinegar with hijiki to taste. Smear on roasted salmon or halibut, or melt on sautéed shrimp or scallops. This vinegar is also great in simple olive-oil vinaigrettes; try it for the dressing in our Eventide Salad with Nori Vinaigrette.
Wadaman Organic Golden Sesame Oil
This organic sesame oil, pressed by one of Japan’s top sesame growers, is without equal—earthy, clear, bold and strong. We consider sesame oil a pantry staple and use it in innumerous dishes like our Hot Oil Chard, easy and rib-sticking Sesame Stir-fried Pork with Shiitakes or sesame sauce for noodles.
Togo-Su Apple Rice Wine Vinegar
Togo-Su Kurozu is an aged artisan amber rice vinegar that is brewed following a tradition dating back to the Edo period 200 years ago. Made with just four ingredients (organic brown rice, apples, brown rice koji and mountain spring water), production takes more than a year, and each pot has its own schedule and unique color and taste. The addition of apples mellows the vinegar’s bitterness and gives it more depth of flavor, and the aging process, which takes 3 to 5 years, produces a darker color and subtle caramelization. Our tasters felt that the apple flavor popped out front right away with a sharp vinegar bite and a short finish.
Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp
This chili sauce is enhanced with preserved black beans, mushroom powder, sesame oil and garlic for a complete flavor profile. The crispy bits of chili, the namesake ingredient of this dish, provide bursts of contrasting texture, making it an ideal tableside topping for stir frys, soups, braises and more.
Fly By Jing Zhong Dumpling Sauce
This all-purpose condiment layers the spicy elements with salty-sweet soy sauce, umami-rich mushroom powder and brown sugar for a robust, well-rounded sauce; you can think of it as a variation of Sichuan chili oil with just as much bold aroma but less heat. Fly by Jing uses regional Sichuan dried chilies and mouth-tingling Sichuan peppercorns for a classic mala profile that defines much of Sichuan cooking.
Dobanjiang - 3 Year Aged Red Bean Paste
Dobanjiang (alternatively spelled toban djan) is an intensely flavored paste made from fermented broad (fava) beans, chilies, salt and seasonings.Mala Market is importing the best version we have tasted of this pantry staple: remarkably deep, savory and spicy—far more so than any supermarket version. It’ll be your new secret ingredient and salvation for midnight noodles or last-minute meals.
Mom's Mala Sichuan Chili Sauce
Mom's Mala is a vibrantly red and deeply fragrant Sichuan chili oil that is all about bringing out the aromatic side of chili, balancing mouth-tingling (ma) Sichuan peppercorns with spicy (la) chili peppers. This classic mouth-tingling sauce is a classic condiment much harder to find on supermarket shelves than other Asian hot sauces that feature peanut or garlic. Rounded out with a blend of star anise, cinnamon and cloves—the core spices of Chinese five-spice powder—and a touch of sugar and oil, this Sichuan chili oil has floral and lightly smoky notes and is available in both mild and spicy versions.