This is the most commonly used version of the ubiquitous Chinese condiment and is sometimes just labeled as soy sauce in Western supermarkets. It is made with fermented soybeans and has a light, salty taste. Its name literally means “fresh soy sauce” because it is made from the first pressing of the soybeans after fermenting.
A pinkish-grayish sauce made from fermented shrimp ground with salt, it has a very strong, fishy, pungent odor and flavor. When used sparingly in Chinese cooking, the smell and flavor disappear and the paste enhances the flavor of the dish. It is referred to as balichão in Macanese cuisine. Shrimp paste is sold in jars at Asian grocery stores.
Shiitake is the Japanese name for fresh Chinese black mushrooms and is the name they are most often given in Western supermarkets. They have thick dark brown caps, curled edges, and a meaty flavor. Their flavor is not as intense as the dried variety, and they are best suited for use in salads and stir fries.
This is a variety of rice wine that comes from the Chinese city of Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province and that has a sweet, dry flavor similar to Japanese sake. It gets its amber color from the red yeast rice used during fermentation and it is commonly aged for ten or more years before selling. You can find bottles of Shaoxing rice
wine in the Asian food aisle of most supermarkets.
Not to be confused with Thai satay peanut sauce, Chinese sha cha sauce is made with ground soybeans, garlic, and brill fish. The sauce is used by Fujianese and Taiwanese cooks to infuse soup broth with a sweet and savory flavor. Make sure you stir the sha cha sauce in the jar well before spooning it out, as the ingredients have a tendency to separate between uses. It is also called sa cha sauce, and you can find it at any Asian grocery store.