Pantry basics and grocery shopping:
Cooking oil: Olive oil, non-GMO corn oil, Non-GMO sunflower oil, non-GMO soybean, but not blend oil.
Salt: Choosing sea salt without any additives.
Soy sauce: Tao Da (陶大）brand is better.
Two kinds of soy sauce: Sheng Chou and Lao Chou. Sheng Chou is light color, used for normal stir fried,salad dishes. Lao Chou is darker color with a little sweet flavor, used for braised or stewed dishes which can add color.
Rice vinegar: The best rice vinegar is from Shan Xi. There are three color: Black, brown, white. Black vinegar has mild flavor. You can buy brown or white color vinegar if you want to keep your dishes good color.
Rice wine: There are wines for cooking, but those for drinks are better, even if it's the lowest price.
Sugar: White sugar for cooking meat and dessert. Brown sugar for Ginger with Brown Sugar Tea in winter. Crystal sugar for soup dessert.
Sesame oil: Select cold-crushed, not machine-made.
Sesame paste: For salad.
Soybean paste: Better buy non-GMO miso. For north or Beijing style dishes.
Curry: You can buy curry powder if you like to make curry paste yourself.
Pi Xian(郫县） spicy bean paste： For Si Chuan style food.
Fish sauce: For Guang Zhou style dishes.
Oyster sauce: For Guang Zhou style dishes. Bran LiJinJi is better.
Anise Star and Chinese cassia peel: For stewed meat or soup.
Garlic and onions: Add flavor to cooking oil