iPhone App Helps You Navigate Asian Markets

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We've sung many praises for our trusty Asian grocery stores--locally, we've got 99 Ranch, Freshia in Tustin, Mitsuwa in Costa Mesa, Thai & Laos Market in Anaheim, all treasure troves of wildly flavorful ingredients at affordable prices. But for the amateurs, or even experienced shoppers, navigating the aisles can be a head-scratching ordeal. Kinako, galangal kha, mang kho--huh? (That's toasted soy flour, aromatic rhizome and dried bamboo shoot, respectively.) 

Which is why Andrea Nguyen, author of the award-winning cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and the blog Viet World Kitchen, worked with Chronicle Books to create the nifty new app, Asian Market Shopper.   

Here's the description

Finding and buying Asian ingredients does not have to be frustrating. Here is the ultimate guide for understanding the 100 most commonly-used staples--from fish sauce, Sriracha and tamarind to curry leaf--all pictured with audio pronunciations and selection and storage tips. How-to videos and 25 recipes get you going on cooking!

I like the idea of approaching a grocery store employee and saying, "I'm looking for . . ." and then whipping out a phone, rather than standing there for five minutes butchering the pronunciation and getting a blank stare.   

There are shopping pointers, too. For instance, the entry for coconut milk includes a discussion of coconut cream and the differences between canned, frozen, dried and boxed. Helpful! 

The app is $3.99 and available for the iPhone and iPad. The Android version is in development.

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