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While some Asian products are available in major supermarkets here in Quito, there is still a dearth. And regularly, products will run out and you may not see them back on the shelves again for months. This irks me when I have a basic staple item-like Dijon Mustard-and it suddenly disappears. At the same time, it gets me motivated to make my own.
Scallions, napa cabbage, bok choy, and many other asian greens are not usually available in the market. But if you go to the open air markets in Quito, there are usually at least one or two Asian shops carrying these items and many more. Hoisin Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sriracha and many other ingredients are readily available, including many types of Asian noodles as well. Often, the owners of these shops don’t even speak any Spanish, but may have an employee or two that does.
Last week I found the local shop carries wonton wrappers, hand made in the shop. Two kinds, one for frying and one for dumplings, were available. As well, fresh tofu, sesame oil and miso are available as well. It’s easy to think, upon first glance, that Quito is lacking in variety-but if you know where to look, you can find it.