In making backpacking meals the hardest part can be finding the dried ingredients, especially for more exotic meals. I often dry my own ingredients but sometimes it’s nice to just pick them up the store. This is where Asian supermarkets are the place to go.
In America, with our long history of not only refrigeration, but canning factories, grocery stores have moved away from dried goods. In many parts of Asia refrigeration may still not be available. As a result, dried ingredients are used much more often.
This past weekend we visited a local Asian store and feasted our eyes while planned backpacking feasts. It seemed that just about everything you could buy fresh or canned, you could buy dried. There was a whole aisle of dried seafood. With common things like shrimp and various types of fish, to the more exotic like eel and octopus. You could have many different varieties of fish stew just by swapping out the seafood. Another aisle was dedicated to different types of dried mushrooms. A whole week of different flavoured mushroom risottos could be made from that aisle alone. Then of course there were the vegetables, all dried and ready to add to your meals.
If a lack of a dehydrator has been preventing you from packing your own meals, Asian grocery stores can get you started.