Years and years ago, Chinese Produce, frozen products and canned, jar and bottled sauces was a hush hush adventure. Literally, you would have to drive to Chinatown to search and find ingredients to help you cook Chinese food.
It was truly an adventure. The owners didn,t speak English, customer didn't speak Chinese. Hand signals were no good, pronouncing ingredient names were hilarious, all this to try to duplicate your favorite dish.
Then the mass exodus of 2nd and 3rd generation Chinese American fleeing to the suburbs. I was already in the burbs and slowly but surely the Asian were coming. Don't get me wrong, it was great! Then Asian grocery stores were popping up. Although not exactly like these stores in Chinatown, they came pretty close. The owners spoke English and were able to help find certain ingredients.
Then, wonton was premade, soups in package, my favorite dishes in a disposable pouch made of the sauce I dreamed of. Just add chicken or beef.
Then dumplings came around and now any dish you hoped to duplicate can be done with redi made mixes and soup packets.
Plain basic rice has been packaged. Just pop in the microwave and its heated.
So, today, you have no trouble finding anything now. Just visit your local Asian Grocery store.
Try the various vegetables, they are delicious!
Chef Woo Can