The very aptly named Woks of Life blog is a multi-generational culinary operation geared towards "anyone looking to try their hand at Grade-A authentic Chinese cooking (and any other great recipes — Chinese or otherwise)." It's run by dad, Bill; mom, Judy; and daughters, Sarah and Kaitlin, who are straddling life in Beijing and the United States.
The site's archives are filled with tried-and-true recipes aimed towards home cooks — so naturally we tapped them as expert resources for helping Kitchn readers navigate the frozen aisle of specialty Asian grocery stores.
Here are a few things they always look out for.
1. Frozen Scallion Pancakes
"Frozen scallion pancakes are one of our freezer staples. You can pop them into an oiled pan right out of the freezer and serve them plain, with a quick dipping sauce. Or even better, make a version of a Chinese street snack called jian bing with egg, cilantro, and spicy bean paste. They're great for breakfast, or a quick appetizer when entertaining."
Note: These might also be called green onion pancakes in your local Asian grocery store.
2. Frozen Edamame
"Frozen edamame takes all the complication out of enjoying this most beloved Japanese restaurant standby. They can be added to stir-fries, or boiled and mashed into a purée or hummus."
3. Frozen Sweet Rice Balls
"Sweet rice balls, or tang yuan, aren't exactly a picnic to make at home (although we do have a recipe on our blog for all you die-hard, from-scratch cooks out there). Luckily, the frozen version sold at Asian grocery stores are very tasty! Our favorite fillings are sweet black sesame and peanuts. You can serve three to five per person for the perfect light dessert."
As for where they shop? "We shop at any good, well-stocked Asian grocery store where the produce is fresh. We especially love Hong Kong Supermarket in New York City's Chinatown," says Sarah.