The Best Canned Goods to Get at an Asian Supermarket, According to Jet Tila

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You probably know Jet Tila as a judge on Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, or from his latest gig as the floor reporter on Iron Chef America, but did you know that his family opened the very first Thai market in the U.S in the early ’70s?

Jet grew up honing his culinary chops by helping out his parents in their Los Angeles-based Bangkok Market and the Royal Thai restaurant. That’s why we asked Jet for his picks when it comes to shopping at Asian markets — he’s certainly an expert in that department!

Here are just a few of Jet’s recommendations in the canned goods aisle (and some fun ideas for how to cook with them).

1. Canned Lychee in Syrup, $50 for six, 20-ounce cans

“Lychee fruit is delicious and unique and not readily available fresh. It also keeps its distinct flavor when canned in juice. I like to mix the juice with my favorite spirits to make cocktails and then garnish it with the fruit, add it to fresh fruit salad for a special twist, or serve it to my kids (Amaya and Ren) over shaved ice.”

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Maesri Thai Curry, $6 for two, four-ounce cans

“Curry is hard to make and even harder to master, but Maesri brand is awesome. It’s from Thailand and comes in three flavors — all you have to do is add veggies and meat.”

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Aroy-D Young Green Jackfruit in Brine, $8 for a 20-ounce can

“Jackfruit is all the rage these days, especially among plant-based diners. It’s crazy expensive in American markets, though. Most jackfruit products in the U.S. come from Thailand and are then dried and used to make faux pork and other ‘meats.’ Buy canned jackfruit from an Asian store, drain, bake it until dry, shred it, then season with your favorite dry rub or sauce. Then you’re good to go.”

Have you ever picked up any of these items? What did you make with them?