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Grilling Asian-style

4 East-meets-West ways to fire up dinnertime — and the perfect drinks for each

Asian cooking ingredients
Photo by Annabelle Breakey; food styling by Karen Shinto

Beyond soy sauce

For authentic Asian flair, stock up on these pantry staples (pictured left to right) from your market’s international aisle.

  • Chili garlic sauce: The thick sauce of crushed red chiles and garlic adds instant fire. The Chinese version may include fermented black beans and preserved radish; the Vietnamese is simpler.
  • Rice vinegar: Popular in Japanese and Chinese cuisines, this is a light and mildly tart vinegar. The seasoned version contains sugar and salt.
  • Wasabi: The pungent Japanese green paste or powder gives sauces a horseradish-like burn.
  • Toasted sesame oil: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cooks use this dark oil to lend a nutty aroma to sauces and marinades.
  • Fish sauce: The thin amber liquid, made by fermenting fish in brine, is omnipresent in Southeast Asian cuisines and provides a salty, pungent punch. We prefer more subtle Thai and Vietnamese sauces to stronger Filipino.
  • Mirin: This Japanese rice wine adds subtle sweetness to marinades, sauces, and dressings.
  • Green curry paste: Use the potent, aromatic paste of pounded green chiles and spices to make Thai curry.

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