My Pantry Staples

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Below you find an example of my pantry staples, my pantry staples will change over time when I find something new to add. The below examples are the core staples that I always have in my pantry.


  • Fresh Ginger and Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Canned Meat, Beans, Veggies, Fruits
  • Cooking Oils
  • Finishing Oil
  • Light Soy Sauce
  • Dark Soy sauce
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Rice
  • Corn Starch, All Purpose Flour (Tempura Flour)
  • Panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs)

Fresh Ginger and Garlic

These are the basic fresh aromatics in an Asian household, they are the foundation of many Asian dishes. You start your stir fry, sauces, marinades with these ingredients. If you add these to a hot pan with a bit of oil you will smell the fragrance. Then you can start by adding other things where you build layers of flavors.


Salt is very important in a lot of dishes as it elevates and brings out flavors. I use fine table salt (non-iodized) for cooking and marinating (Kosher Salt for those in the US) and a coarse finishing salt which is known as sea salt.


Pepper does not bring out or elevate a dish but it does add a flavor and masks other flavors. I use black pepper. Want less strong? Use white pepper. I use ground black pepper if it is for a marinade where I want the added pepper flavor. Whole black peppercorns where you need to ground the pepper for the bigger kick as a finishing pepper.

Canned Meat, Beans, Veggies, Fruits

They have a long shelflife and are very useful when you had no time to buy fresh produce or don’t know what to cook. This is part of my childhood we stockpile them and will never run out of them.

Cooking Oils

I’m using 2 types of oils Olive oil (not the extra virgin one) and Sunflower oil. Whatever oil you use, you want a high heat oil and preferably a neutral flavor oil. Olive is not neutral but it has a light flavor it won’t really affect the flavor too much. Sunflower oils and Vegetable oil are neutral with high smoke points.

Finishing Oil

I use sesame oil as my finishing oil, this is oil that we add at the last step to add flavor to a dish. In most western cuisine you see them adding extra virgin olive oil in Asian cuisines Sesame oil is our finishing oil.


There are a lot of different types of soy sauce, light soy sauce is thinner and saltier than dark soy sauce.

Dark soy sauce is thicker and sweeter and will add color to your dish.

Oyster sauce is a nice sauce to add flavors or to be used as a finishing sauce for veggies like lettuce.

I recently switched from the ‘Panda Oyster Sauce to the Lady on the boat Premium Oyster Sauce. The Lady on the boat Premium Oyster sauce tastes better but is also more expensive. You can use the expensive one as a finishing Oyster sauce, and the Panda Oyster sauce for cooking. They are from the same brand, Lee Kum Kee.

  • Rice wine vinegar

Rice Wine Vinegar helps bring out balance and flavor in your cooking just like a lime wedge. It is milder and sweeter than white vinegar. We add them to marinade sauces and more, I use 3 types:

Mizkan Rice Vinegar (Great for Sushi)
Shaohsing Rice Cooking Wine (Great for marinating)
(Great for Tamago, it is also sweeter than the above 2)

Dry ingredients

  • Rice

Rice is very important in an Asian household when I worked in a Japanese Asian Fusion restaurant that serves sushi and other dishes we had to find rice that could serve both purposes. It had to be sticky enough for sushi and not so sticky enough for fried rice dishes. Eventually, we decided to go for Rhee Chun Rice which is made in Korea. Since the brand delivers excellent quality but is usually too expensive for the regular household but great for restaurant use. Rhee Chun Quality is unmatched we tried a lot of rice brands.

Runner up

Another rice we like to use was Calrose rice which was also sticky but not as sticky as sushi rice but it did not make the cut since we needed it to be less sticky for other dishes therefore the Rhee Chun Rice is the winner and in terms of quality unmatched and the Calrose Rice deserved a second spot for whenever our supplier accidentally ran out then we opt for the runner up the Calrose Rice.

  • Rice flour, Corn Starch, All Purpose Flour (Tempura Flour)

Rice Flour, Corn starch, or all-purpose flour is used as a thickening agent or as a coating for frying batter. When it comes to some of the Japanese fried dishes I will opt for the Japanese Tempura Flour. For thickening sauces I pot for the Corn starch or Rice Flour will be my thickening agent for sauces.

  • Panko (Japanese Breadcrumbs)

Nice outer coating for a crispy outer shell when frying. It is flakier and not as fine as other breadcrumbs. It absorbs less oil, and it brings a crunchier texture.

My pantry staples are what represent me. We are all different your pantry staples do not have to look like mine.

Chef Panko

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