Category Archives: English

What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin’

Are you a seasoned home-cook, an authentic asian food enthusiast, or just looking for some delicious new foodie products to get your hands on? Well, we want YOU!

We at Tang want to share the love with our loyal customers and see what it is you’re cooking with our huge range of authentic products sourced from across south east asia. Be inspired by other online foodies and post your Tang goodies to your social media channels using the hashtag #TangTime for a chance to be featured on our official Facebook and Instagram accounts!

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So what can I buy at Tang to add to my recipe, you ask?

We at Tang Emporium are located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD and offer thousands of carefully sourced, authentic south east Asian ingredients to compliment your traditional or home-made recipes. We take care to stock goods suitable for vegetarians and vegans, with new products arriving weekly. Whatever you need, we at Tang are here to help! Be sure to ask our friendly staff for recipe ideas and advice so you can create your best #TangTime; see you on the other side!

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The Meaning of Moon Festival

It’s that time of year again when we’re preparing to celebrate the annual Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, a celebration that has a rich cultural and spiritual heritage, being celebrated among the Chinese community for thousands of years. Here at Tang, we love sharing parts of our heritage and culture with our customers; so here’s a little synopsis of the exciting event that is the annual Moon or Harvest Festival!

FB - The mooncake is not just a food... It's a profound cultural tradition deep in Chinese people's hearts, symbolizing a spiritual feel

Origins:

 The rich cultural history of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival spans back as early as the 11th Century B.C, during the Zhou dynasty. Ancient emperors of the time used to worship and offer sacrifice to the moon in autumn, as they believed that the practice would bring them a plentiful harvest the following year. Traditionally, the harvest festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar (late September/early October in western society).

Throughout the centuries since the celebration’s creation, adaptations brought about by various Dynasties have increased the popularity of the festival, now known for its widespread communal celebration and worship activities throughout Mainland China and areas of south east Asia.

FB - Mooncakes are made to be cut it into small pieces so the whole family can share! You'll get some pieces that have a lot of egg yol

Celebration:

 The excitement of a new harvest brought together families of the early Chinese dynasties so they could worship and offer food ‘sacrifices’ to the moon in the hope of a prosperous return.

Traditionally, performed outside under the full moon, a feast of fruits and Mooncake were shared during the celebration, whilst burning incense and releasing lanterns. Gifting and consuming of Mooncake originated as part of the harvest worshiping practices and have remained a symbolic gift of reunion.

Mooncake:

Mooncakes are round pastries made from red bean or lotus seed paste, surrounded in thin pastry and often filled with a salted duck egg. Traditional Mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters including ‘Harmony’ and ‘Longevity.’ A symbol of togetherness, Mooncake were seen and an indispensible delicacy as part of the Harvest celebration and have continued to gain popularity up to the current day.

In modern society, it is customary to present them to friends and family as gifts. Mooncake recipes have been diversified with the use of contemporary fillings including chocolate and green tea flavourings, making them all the more appealing to those in western society.

 Whether you’re looking to purchase Mooncake as a gift, for your personal Moon Harvest Celebration or as a unique and delicious treat, make sure you head in to see us at Tang Food Emporium for all your needs!

 

Soy – The Sauce no meal is complete without.

Soy Sauce. It’s the buzz. nothing is complete without a dash of soy. We all love salt. And soy – yes there is that salty taste – but there is more. Soy Sauce – you complete me. On my rice, on my noodles, my chicken, pork, prawns, beef, fish, lamb, with my vegetables, in my soup!

So where does Soy Sauce come from and is it good for you? To answer this important question first – yes, it is good for you.

In a study by the National University of Singapore it was shown that Chinese dark soy sauce contains 10 times the anti-oxidants found in Red Wine, and it can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. It is rich in Lactic Acid bacteria and has excellent anti-allergenic potential.

Soy Sauce originated in China, between the 3rd and 5th centuries A.D. It was a derivative from a meat based fermented sauce called ‘jiang’. As it became more popular its use spread to East and South East Asia. Salt has historically been an expensive commodity and this was a way to ‘stretch the salt’. Originally the sauce used fish with salt and soya beans, but this recipe was replaced and a sauce was created using soya beans only.

The first recorded European interaction with Soy Sauce was in 1737, when seventy five large barrels were shipped to Batavia (Jakarta) on the island of Java, from Dejima in Japan. Thirty five of those barrels were to be shipped to and arrive in Holland (the Netherlands). By the 19th century this flirtation with Japanese Soy was usurped by the common usage of Chinese Soy in Europe.

Samuel Wells Williams, a ‘sinologist’, described the process thus in the 19th century, “The best soy sauce is made by boiling beans soft, adding equal quantities of barley or wheat, and leaving the mass to ferment. A portion of salt and three times as much water are added afterwards, left for two to three months when the liquid is then pressed and strained.” What he did not know was the magic ingredient – ‘Aspergillus Oryzae’ – the fungus used in brewing true Soy Sauce. Traditionally Soy Sauce takes months to prepare.

Many nations prepare their own varieties of Soy Sauce. From traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean varieties you can also find Hawaiian, Filipino and Burmese. Not to mention the variations from each of these. Japan for example has at least 12 very different popular blends.

China offers brewed varieties such as pinyin, jyutping, Cantonese Yale; blended varieties creating sweet or umami (savoury) tastes – these include Mushroom Soy, thick soy sauces and shrimp soy sauces.

There are Indonesian Soys, Malaysian and Singaporean Soys, Taiwanese Soys, Thai Soys, and Vietnamese Soys.

At Tang: The Asian Food Emporium we stock a wide variety of Soy Sauces from many different places. Check here to identify in our shop where you can find these delicious sauces or ask for guidance and recommendations when you attend our store at 151 Russell St in Melbourne’s CBD.

But remember – it’s not ready to eat until you add the soy, so pass it over here please!

Christmas and Dongzhi – The Chinese Winter Festival

dongzhi-chinese-charactersWith the festive season just around the corner for most, it’s Christmas with all its trimmings. For people from China and those following Chinese traditions there is also a very special time just before Christmas. It’s a much older tradition with the festival known as Dongzhi. Dongzhi is the celebration of the Winter Festival and it occurs each year at the time of the Winter Solstice – the 21st of December.

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Tangyuan glutinous rice balls are traditionally served during Dongzhi in Southern China

Tangyuan – Glutinous Rice Balls

Families in China, Taiwan and all across Asia gather to celebrate. The celebration originated in Southern China. Food is shared and wine consumed to celebrate the lengthening of the days and winter starting its pathway into spring. positive Yang energy is revered as the families share Tangyuan. These are balls of glutinous rice, often brightly coloured. Each family prepares at least one large Tangyuan in addition to several small ones. The Tangyuan (rice balls) may be plain or stuffed. Plain or flavoured Tangyuans are stocked at Tang: The Asian Food Emporium at 185 Russell St for your convenience. [See map]

The Tangyuan are cooked in either a sweet soup or savoury broth depending upon preference, with both the rice ball and soup/broth being served in the one bowl. There are plain Tangyuan as well as with delicious fillings of Red Bean, Coconut and Yam, Sesame, Peanut and Taro. These are served along with Juiniang, a mildly alcoholic, unfiltered Rice Wine containing whole grains of glutinous rice (often with sweet osmanthus flowers).

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Dumplings and Dumpling Soup are another traditional Chinese dish served during Dongzhi

 

Dumplings and Dumpling Soup

In Northern China during Dongzhi, the preference is for Dumplings or Dumpling Soup. This tradition originates from from the story of Zhang Zhongjing in the Han Dynasty who saw the poor suffering from chilblains on their ears and had dumplings made and distributed to them to warm them, and so to this day people from this region celebrate by eating dumplings or dumpling soup to celebrate Dongzhi. You’ll find a great range of delicious dumplings at TANG The Asian Food Emporium, try cucumber, prawn and pork, leek, mushroom or vegetable, pork and prawn, Chinese cabbage and pork, pork and spinach, fish, shrimp and pork, fish and pork, mushroom and chicken, mushroom and pork or seafood and pork dumplings.

All are quite delicious, choose your favourites, available now at Tang: The Asian Food Emporium.

Auspicious & Delicious TANG Brings You an Array of CNY Food & Produce

Chinese New Year is around the corner, and it’s time to get everything prepared. TANG The Asia Food Emporium has selected a wide range of Chinese New Year seasonal food & produce, where you can shop & purchase to add flavour & festivity in marking the great new start of the Year of Monkey.

Year Cake – Higher & Better

year-cakeOne of the favourite Chinese New Year dishes must be “Nian Gao”, literally “Year Cake”. According to tradition, Chinese families enjoy preparing different kinds of Chinese cakes, some are savoury like Turnip Cake, while some can be a bit sweet in taste, such as Year Cake. Among all these special Chinese cakes, Year Cake is the most popular New Year treat. No matter you are from the North or the South, live near the seashore or by the river, a dish of Year Cake seems to be an inevitable custom during New Year season. So what indeed makes Year Cake so significant?

Some say the history of Year Cake can be dated back to ancient China, to the time of Spring & Autumn Period, ie around 500 BC. A famous politician of Wu Kingdom, Wu Zixu, was forced to commit suicide under the order of the King of Wu. Before his death, Wu Zixu reminded his followers to “go & dig & find food for the citizens should there come a famine”. This was like a prediction. Sooner or later, King Goujian of the Yue Kingdom invaded Wu, and there was not much food left. Facing such a big threat, Wu Zixu’s followers recalled what the great politician has once said. So they went to the designated place, dug & discovered some “food bricks” that Wu Zixu has stored. These “food bricks” were indeed kind of cakes made of special rice, and by then were turned into food that rescued thousands of lives. In commemorating the wonder deed of Wu Zixu, Chinese people started preparing steamed cake at Chinese New Year, which then became nowadays Year Cake.

Another story of Year Cake is related to good fortune. Some say Year Cake was first mentioned during the Zhou Dynasty. Ancient Chinese believed that eating Year Cake at New Year implied the blessing of great harvestry. Of course we can’t verify whether any of these speaking is true or false, yet we shouldn’t ignore the lucky meaning of the name itself. The Chinese name of Year Cake is pronounced as “Nian Gao”, which is a homophone of “Year High”, meaning “Higher & Better Every Year”. What a fortunate food that brings hope, luck & longevity to the recipients! No wonder Year Cake, aka “Nian Gao” is the most popular cuisine at this festive season of the year.

Nowadays, not just people in China will prepare glutinous rice made Year Cake at the start of a new year, Chinese all over the world will use their own recipes in steaming & preparing such wonderful New Year treat, savoury & sweet alike. What’s more, manufacturers have also brought forth pre-packed Year Cake, where customers can simply buy from the grocery shops, bring home, steam it, and conveniently savour the authentic taste of this fortunate “Nian Gao”.

Lo Hei – Prosperity & Abundance

sashimiWhile Year Cake is a traditional Chinese New Year cuisine, Lo Hei for sure is a modern treat. “Lo Hei” literally means to toss well, which also implies “Prosperity”. It is a dish made of raw fish, with fish carries a homophone of “Abundance”. Lo Hei is believed to be originated in South East Asia, and has been very popular in Singapore & Malaysia for a few decades. In recent years, Lo Hei has become a new trend. Even restaurants in other parts of the globe also started introducing Lo Hei into their Chinese New Year menu, where Chinese all over the world can enjoy a fortunate start of “Prosperity Toss”.

Authentic & traditional Lo Hei dish applied specific kind of raw fish. The modern twist is another popular raw fish choice – Salmon. Orange in colour, salmon adds festive tone to the dish. Indeed, Lo Hei has always maintained a close linkage to vibrant colours. Besides raw fish, its ingredients include: shredded lettuce, celery, carrot and ginger, as well as chopped peanuts, etc. All these ingredients add colour to the cuisine, enhancing joy & bringing luck. Even the steps of eating Lo Hei have its own ritual. The ingredients will be added to the pot one by one, and be well tossed with the sauce made of plum & kumquat. Whenever one adds a new ingredient to the pot, all those involved are requested to say some auspicious words. And when all ingredients are ready, all people need to use their chopsticks to stir & toss up the food, while voicing out loud the phrase “Lo Hei!” “Lo Hei!”. Literally it means “Scoop Up” but as well implying the meaning of “Prosperity Toss”. It is believed that the higher the food being tossed, the better the new year will be.

With so many different ingredients required, many families may not be able to afford time in preparing. Thanks to the manufacturers who introduced pre-packed Lo Hei, customers can simply share the fun of such “Prosperity Toss” & “Wishful Abundance”, comfortably with friends & relatives at home.

Come to TANG The Asia Food Emporium, your one-stop shop for Chinese New Year food & produce, snack & drink. Bring home your most cherished taste at this festive start of the year.

 

TANG The Asian Food Emporium wishes you all a very happy & prosperous new year of 2016!

To celebrate the new beginning, what’s better than savouring novel snacks & refreshments sped from all over the world? As a renowned expert specialty store for Asian groceries, TANG The Asian Food Emporium is pleased to introduce a few latest trendy products selected from China & Korea in kick-starting this brand new year.

Mala Kongjian – Moshare Bubbling Hot Pot Soup Base Seasoning

IMG_1613_worpdressHot Pot is never a seasonal food tailored for winter only. Spice lovers Sichuan people not only embrace the art of hot pot, but also enlighten the world in relishing the taste of this palatable feast. Blessed are we Melburnians! As a city acclaimed of “Four Seasons in a Day”, we for sure have the best excuse to enjoy hot pot whenever we want.

Yet when it comes to the practical side, the thought of having an instant & sumptuous Sichuan hot pot at home seems to be a broken dream — for you who are exhausted after a hard day’s work; for you & you who merely want to have some romantic time with good food; and for a group of you who would like to stay at home to enjoy a big party time. If this is a picture of your own concern, then simply come to TANG The Asian Food Emporium and you’ll find your problem solved. With the newly imported “Bubbling Hot Pot Soup Base Seasoning” from the well-known Chengdu hot pot bento brand “Moshare”, enjoying authentic Sichuan hot pot at home is no longer a dream too far away.

“Moshare” is a famous product of the renowned Chengdu business known as “Mala Kongjian”. Come in the form of “soup base” sachet & “seasoning” sachet, the authentic taste of Sichuan can easily be relished in your home boiling pot. The “soup base” sachet adds flavour to the hot pot soup, enhancing the hot & spicy taste of the feast. The “seasoning” sachet reflects your own preference of different taste, boosting the hot & spicy or fragrant & pungent flavour of the food.

Some may ask: What exactly is “Bubbling Hot Pot Soup Base Seasoning”? Theoretically it means some kind of semi-solid compound seasoning. Well, we need to understand what “bubbling” means. “Bubbling” in the realm of Sichuan hot pot, refers to the food that are cooked & floated at the surface of the boiling water. In preparing your home made Sichuan hot pot, first you need to put your own choice of food & vegetables into a pot of boiling water. When the food is boiled & floated, then you can take them out from the water for further use. After that, empty the “soup base” sachet into the water & wait till it starts to dissolve. Then the cooked food & vegetables can be poured back into the pot to be mixed well, where the fragrant Sichuan aroma spreads & lingers, whetting your appetite. Finally, it’s time to add on the flavour of the “seasoning” sachet, in which the dainty touch will then be completed and the overall taste much enhanced.

“Moshare Bubbling Hot Pot Soup Base Seasoning” is the best complementary choice to all kinds of hot pot food. No matter it’s meat or vegetables, the soup base seasoning not only can enhance the essence of the food, but can also suppress any unpleasant taste, such as: fishy smell, gamey mutton, strong bean taste, etc. By adding “Moshare”, individual preference round the table can each be satisfied.

In achieving the high standard it always aims at, “Moshare” picks only the top ingredients, for instance: Sichuan pepper from Yunnan Highland, facing heaven pepper from Henan, and also Pixian doubanjiang, bringing out the perfect hot, spicy, fragrant, sour & pure taste. No matter you plan to dine alone, with your better half, or with a group of good friends, “Moshare” is your instant, convenient & delectable choice.

The hot & spicy as well as fragrant & pungent flavour of “Moshare Bubbling Hot Pot Soup Base Seasoning” from “Mala Kongjian” are both available at TANG The Asia Food Emporium.


Petitzel Micho – Fruit Vinegar for Drink

IMG_1617_wordpressFrom China we have authentic Sichuan hot pot’s best companion; from Korea we bring you succulent drink that can quench your thirst. TANG The Asia Food Emporium is proud to introduce brand new Korean fruit vinegar for drink known as Petitzel Micho. With this magical fruit vinegar, you can mix & blend different kinds of specialty fruit drinks of your own choice, which is easier than you can imagine!

As a 100% fruit vinegar drink, Petitzel Micho comes in different fruity flavours: green apple, lemon & citron, pomegranate, green grape & blueberry. Simply blend your own choice of Petitzel Micho with corresponding fresh fruits and carbonated water, a luscious glass of juicy drink will then be ready for your enjoyment — green apple ade, lemon ade, grapefruit ade, green grape ade, kiwi ade, mixed berries ade etc. The versatility of this conveniently made sparkling fruity drink will for sure become your new favourite.

What’s more, if you add Petitzel Micho into different beverages according to specific ratio, you can as well enjoy a great variety of specialty drinks of different fruity flavours. For instance: yoghurt, sparkling water, beer & soju. Petitzel Micho not just brings you a succulent & trendy drink to sip & delight in, but also a fun time to share with friends & family.

Petitzel Micho (900 ml) is available at TANG The Asia Food Emporium. Every bottle comes with a bilingual “Quick! Recipe” which gives you tips in how to prepare fruity drinks easily at home.

Celebrating Reunion Day With Family

Lion Dance to celebrate Chinese New Year

Lion Dance to celebrate Chinese New Year

Reunion Day, New Year’s Eve, the last day before the Chinese New Year, as per the lunar calendar, is a time when the whole family living in the household joins in eating a meal together. This special meal is very filling and focuses on fish, which symbolizes life and energy as fish move fast and are energetic. There are also traditional dishes with pork and chicken.

Offerings are made in thanks for previous years. Rice wine and tea are served. The offerings will differ, depending upon the traditions of the faith followed by the family. Taoists offer incense and fruit to the Gods and ancestors; Buddhists make similar offerings to the Buddha and ancestors. Prior to the New Year a special New Year’s cake has been prepared and it is prominently displayed until the seventh day of the New Year.

Dinner is an exciting time for the children as they will receive “Red Packets”. Traditionally the packet contained a coin but these days it is likely to be a larger amount of money. The red packet gifts are given by the grandparents and parents to the children and young, unmarried family members and symbolise a blessing for a long life.

You’ll find all you need to celebrate Chinese New Year, whether it’s red packets, traditional fish, ingredients for pork and chicken dishes, incense, rice wine or Chinese teas at TANG The Asian Food Emporium at 185 Russell Street, Melbourne. Stocks have just come into the store in readiness for the Chinese New Year Festival period to add to the great selection of Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean and Malaysian groceries available.