Ingredients Glossary

Look below for ingredients that are used in Taiwanese cuisine. Look at the photo, description, and where you can likely find the ingredient. If you buy via the link to Amazon, it will help to support this site. 

Dashi powder


DashiDashi is a Japanese stock or broth, and it is a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes. Dashi powder is the dried version. It can be made from kombu (dried kelp), katsuo-bushi (dried bonito flakes), niboshi (dried small sardines), hoshi-shiitake (dried shiitake mushrooms), and more. Dashi creates a savory umami flavor from all these ingredients.

The cheaper brands will have MSG, and will do in a pinch. Look for the ones with no MSG as the taste and quality will be better.

Where to Buy

Most Asian markets will carry at least one brand, usually with MSG. Japanese grocery stores will more likely carry more brands and have a choice with no MSG.

Buy at Amazon and support this site: Maruhachi Katsuo Kombu Awase Dashi (no MSG), 8.81 Ounce Unit

Five spice powder


Chinese Five Spice PowderVery common in Asian cuisines.


The most common mix is:

  • Star anise (bajiao, 八角)
  • Cloves (dingxiang, 丁香)
  • Cinnamon (rougui, 肉桂)
  • Sichuan pepper (huajiao, 花椒)
  • Fennel seeds (xiaohuixiang, 小茴香)
Where to Buy

With Asian cooking more common now, most grocery store spice racks should carry it.

Buy at Amazon and support this site: Esutras Organics Chinese Five Spice Powder, 2 Ounce



Root GingerGinger is actually a rhizome, and not technically a root. When selecting ginger at the store, look for firm, heavy hands (that’s what the rhizomes are called), rejecting any that look wrinkled or show signs of mold.

More Information

Check out more details about storage and different types of ginger on Food52.

Where to Buy

Generally available from most grocery stores.

Sweet potato flour


Sweet potato flour/powder (地瓜粉) is used in many culture's cusines, including South American. It can be made from either white or more orange colored sweet potatoes, with most Taiwanese being made from white sweet potatoes.

Where to Buy

Most Asian grocery stores, Latin American grocery stores, or even your local American super market depending on your location.

Buy at Amazon and support this site: Sweet Potato Flour - 16oz.

White pepper


Red, White, and Green PeppercornsWhite pepper (白胡椒) corns consist of the seed of the pepper plant alone, with the darker-coloured skin of the pepper fruit removed. White pepper tastes hotter than black but is less complex, owing to the skin removal. You can buy whole or ground.

Where to Buy

Most grocery store spice racks will carry ground white pepper.

Buy at Amazon and support this site: Simply Organic Pepper, White, 2.86 Ounce