Fish Sauce

This sauce is a thin, amber-colored extract of fish diluted with water and with salt added. There are many kinds of fish sauces; from China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Fish sauce is used widely throughout Southeast Asia. The Chiu Chow people use it as a dip with many of their preparations. Fish sauce from China or Hong Kong most closely resembles that of the Chiu Chow kitchen.

Five-Spice Powder
A distinctive powder, this spice imparts the taste of anise to food. It can be made from a combination of spices, including star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, ginger root, licorice, nutmeg, and Sichuan peppercorns. There are, to be sure, more than five spices listed, but different makers use different combinations, although anise and cinnamon dominate. It should be stored similarly to eight-star anise. It, too, tends to lose its fragrance after six months.

A Eight-Star Anise, or Star Anise
A tiny eight-pointed hard star, this spice has a flavor more pronounced than that of anise seed. It should be kept in a tightly sealed jar in a cool dry place. It will keep for a year, though it will gradually lose its fragrance.

Fen Chiew
This is a spirit distilled from sorghum. Quite strong, at 130 proof, it is used often in the Cantonese kitchen. Usually available in shops in Asian neighborhoods.

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