Chinese Cooking Wine: Special rice wine has the effectiveness in the marination of meats, particularly in chicken. It is a meat tenderizer and flavour promoter.
Tapioca Starch: Very fine white tapioca powder similar to cornstarch but more starchy and turns any food from a dull colour to an attractive glossy look. Used frequently to thicken sauce or gravy. It has a mild tenderizing effect on meats, therefore it is used in various marinations.
Sesame Oil: Reddish-brown oil has the effect to add flavour to any kind of dishes. To be used in terms of drops only. It has a strong smell of sesame, sold in small bottles and does not require refrigeration.
Hoi Sin Sauce: A highly seasoned sauce, brown in colour, made from Chinese pumpkin, sugar, spices and soy sauce. Used in barbecuing, steaming and stir frying. No substitute.
Oyster Sauce: A thick brown sauce with strong oyster taste. Sold in bottles or cans. Can be kept for a long time without refrigeration. A delicious sauce. No substitute.
Light Soy Sauce: An important item in Chinese cooking as salt is to American cookery. It adds distinctive flavour in marination. Light brown in colour, salty but does not stain vegetables in cooking.
Dark Soy Sauce: Usually found in Chinese specialty shops. Dark brown in colour, has a sweet taste and is used frequently for stewing and food colouring in Chinese cooking.
Salted Black Beans: Soft, fermented black beans sold in plastic bags. An ingredient in Chinese cooking that produces an exotic and delicious flavour. They can be kept indefinitely in a covered container if stored in a refrigerator.
Five-Spice Powder: A combination of five ground spices (anise seed, fennel, clove, cinnamon and Szechwan pepper) sold ready-mixed in Chinese specialty stores. Store at room temperature in tightly-covered container. Substitute allspice.
Bean Sprouts: Young sprouts of the mung bean. Refrigerate fresh sprouts in water in covered jar for up to 2 weeks. After opening canned sprouts, drain and store in fresh water in a covered jar in refrigerator - they will keep for 2 to 3 days. No substitute.
Bamboo Shoots: Ivory-colored, conical-shaped shoots of tropical bamboo. Sold in cans. Large wedges packed in water are best. After opening, drain and store in fresh water in covered jar in refrigerator, changing water daily. Can be kept for about 10 days. Kohlrabi or celery hearts will aproximate the texture but not the flavour.