This post originally appeared on Eater.
You’ve stocked your pantry with some basics, but now you can’t stop thinking about vegetable dum biryani, chorizo tacos, or nasi lemak. Maybe you can’t bring yourself to do anything but refresh Twitter, and snacks count as meals now, and you’re dreaming about salami and cornichons but you can’t really justify stepping out for such luxuries. (I’m not speaking from experience. Not at all.)
There is a wide world of pantry items from global regional food cultures that you can use to add acidic brightness (think sumac), heat (a dab of yuzu kosho), and umami (a dash of fish sauce) to your dishes — just like your favorite restaurants do. Sometimes it just takes adding a couple of items to your pantry.
It’s always worth starting with your local specialty markets, bakeries, butchers, wine shops, restaurants, and coffee shops that you’d normally frequent, which may be doing local delivery or contact-less pickup. Check their social-media feeds — you may find that they’re getting creative. In certain locations, wholesalers and CSAs that normally serve restaurants have opened business to home cooks and can deliver locally. Don’t forget to tip extra.
Meanwhile, many online retailers are overwhelmed, and shipping may take longer than usual. As things develop, some may stop taking new orders or restrict their delivery zones (alas, Sahadi’s in Brooklyn). The list below includes stores that are still shipping nationwide as of this writing.
Many cooking traditions share ingredients, and our eating — both at restaurants and at home — increasingly crosses borders. With that in mind, I’ve organized this pantry shopping list by flavor profile and ingredient type. It’s by no means comprehensive. Let’s get shopping:
One-Stop Shops by Region
Unfortunately, there are entire culinary regions that have been omitted from this list. Please let us know of any hot tips.
• H Mart
• Shatila (sweets)
Europe & North America
• If you’re splitting orders with friends or neighbors, you might also be interested in a big order from Zabar’s.
Middle East & South Asia
• igourmet is one of the few online retailers selling paneer.
Condiments and Toppings
• Sriracha and sambal oelek: Yamibuy
• Dukkah: New York Shuk
Meat and Seafood
• Tinned fish: Portugalia specializes in Portuguese tinned fish, including sardines and cod. You’ll find excellent, if pricey, Spanish canned seafood from Despaña’s online store and from La Tienda. Food52 usually sells canned sardines from BELA and may restock soon. Murray’s Cheese and Real Good Food sell a small selection of sardines and PNW-sourced tinned seafood, like smoked oysters.
Oils and Vinegars
• Purple sweet potato vinegar: East Fork (shipping delays)
Europe and North America
• Apple cider vinegar: For extra-delicious if spendy apple cider vinegar, try “The Apple Cider Vinegar” from Pineapple Collaborative or Katz Gravenstein Apple Cider Vinegar (also available through Real Good Food).
Seasoning and Spices
• The Spice House sells Jamaican allspice, jerk and cajun seasoning blends, and tamarind paste.
• Chili garlic paste: Yamibuy sells a few options.
• Dashi: For ingredients to make dashi (kombu, bonito flakes, and dried shiitake) as well as instant dashi, try H Mart, Nihon Ichiban, or Rakuten. The Japanese Pantry, Kayanoya, and Milk Street are also good for artisanal or small batch versions of these essentials.
• Dried fish: Try the Japanese and Korean markets listed above. Real Good Food sells dried shrimp sourced from Louisiana.
• Oyster sauce: Yamibuy
Mediterranean Europe, Middle East, North Africa
• Burlap & Barrel is an excellent source for single origin spices and seasonings, including sumac, Urfa chili, saffron, and smoked paprika.
• igourmet, it should come as no surprise by now, is also a good source if you can’t find something. They carry Calabrian chilies.
• New York Shuk sells a variety of Middle Eastern and Sephardic seasonings and spices, including dukkah, harissa, ras el hanout, and hawaij.
Central America and South America
• Burlap & Barrel is also good here for things like cumin and various types of chili.
• The Spice House has a Latin American spice section, including aji amarillo ground chile, ancho chile, guajillo, and chile de arbol.
• For tamarind, try The Spice House.
South and Southeast Asia
• Burlap & Barrel, Diaspora Co., and Rumi Spice are all stand-outs for ethically sourced single origin spices commonly used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking, including turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, and cumin. Milk Street and The Reluctant Trading Experiment are also worth checking. I Shop Indian and igourmet, once again, will fill any holes.
• The Mala Market focuses on Sichuan spices, but many of the aromatic spices like star anise are also used in South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking.
• The Spice House sells a variety of spices and harder-to-find ingredients like tamarind paste.
Other Pantry Items
• Black sesame paste: The Japanese Pantry
Europe and North America
Middle East and North Africa
• Dates: Joolie’s ships its fresh Medjool dates nationwide.
• Date Syrup: Just Date Syrup
With all purpose and run-of-the-mill (literally!) bread flour becoming harder and harder to come by, you may want to branch out into heritage flours.
• Anson Mills freshly mills its cornmeal, grits, buckwheat, rye, oats, semolina, gluten free, and other specialty baking flours.
• Central Milling, Hayden Flour Mills, and Maine Grains are excellent sources for pastry flours, bread flours, spelt, buckwheat, rye, and other grains. Availability varies from day to day, but they seem to be updating their websites frequently.
• Geechie Boy Mill is great for grits, corn flour, and other southern American staples.
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