Q: What is Lian How® brand?
A: The brand is well-known as sauce products and highly regarded by the consumers. Mr. Yun-Ben Huang inherited the traditional secrete formula and processing methods handed down from his ancestors in his hometown, Fuzhou. He manufactured and marketed Kanshan® series of fermented bean and chili sauces in 1950s and made them extremely popular in Taiwan. After almost half a century, the Lian How® brand began to expand its market in 1970s. The company is now having its subsidiaries, manufacturing facilities and sales offices in China, Thailand, South and Central America, and the East and West Coasts in the United States. The Lian How® brand products encompass retail, industrial, and institutional users. Various packaging and custom formulated items geared for their particular requirement are available. The company is among the top producers of sauces in the world, including edible oils, sauces, seasonings, teas and dried goods, with a total volume surpassing hundred thousands tons annually,.
Q: What is Uncle Chen®?
A: This product line represents the new generation of chili-based products created by Union International Food in the U.S. for the American and Southeastern Asian markets. To enable an additional crop in a year, farmers generally pick peppers before they are fully ripen. But, to achieve the fresh and most flavorful characteristics of the Uncle Chen® chili paste and sauce products, only the top quality, tree-ripe chili peppers are used. Our proprietary process makes it possible to preserve the high quality and long shelf life of these items.
Q: How are fermented bean paste and chili paste produced?
A: The traditional way of making the fermented pastes relies on the addition of salt and vinegar to obtain long shelf life. Our products apply proprietary culture inoculated onto the broad beans, soybeans and chili in a natural fermentation process, which was developed in Sichuan and Taiwan throughout the years. The time consuming process is essential for the development of the characteristic flavor profile and quality. Thus, these products are treasured by the chefs in making various Chinese entrees.
Q: What is the history of the broad bean paste?
A: Soybeans, broad beans, black beans, rice and wheat are traditionally used in making fermented bean pastes. It is believed that the product was first invented in Ming Dynasty (1368-1643 A.D.) and gradually became a popular culinary ingredient. A story indicates that a certain businessman, Mr. Chen, carried beans for his long journey and found them moldy during the trip. Unwilling to discard the beans, he sun-dried them on the roadside and mixed with chili peppers for food. He discovered the appetizing quality in it. He then ventured to produce and sell his invention which led into further refinement of the process, and thus, the famed ¡°Bin County Fermented Bean Paste¡± product and the industry.
Q: What are the unique characteristics of a fermented bean paste?
A: A fermented bean paste may be made with soybean and salt. When chili pepper is fried and mixed with it, the chili bean paste resulted. The fermentation process converts soy protein and carbohydrates into flavoring compounds. Therefore, a small amount of such concentrated mass can bring about a great deal of eating pleasure. The paste is also capable of suppressing fishy and other undesirable odors in other food materials. Therefore, it is frequently used in preparing seafood dishes.
Q: Are there any other applications of Lian How® sauces besides being used as cooking ingredients?
A: The sauces can provide added flavors to entrees to improve eating quality of the food or to suite better individual preference. For instance, kanshan® chili sauce and Chilicious® products help stimulate appetite and elevate the ¡°heat¡± of a hot dish for those who enjoy the pungency of capsicum.
Q: Are there any health benefits of eating chili pepper?
A: The traditional Chinese medicine considers chili peppers with many health benefits and disease curing effects. They are believed to stimulate blood circulation, improve metabolism, promote digestion and increase appetite. From the standpoint of the modern medical science, chili peppers contain small amounts of protein, lipids and sugars, as well as, the antioxidants, such as, beta-carotene, vitamin A and C. These substances, particularly capsicum, are beneficial in preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Although capsicum is pungent, it can reduce the blood viscosity and blood vessel hardening. It is also an anti-inflammatory agent and a pain killer. Some Japanese believe that chili is useful for dieting to trim body weight.
Q: Why shall one use red chili pepper sauce?
A: Red chili pepper sauce is made by using the common red peppers. After cleaning and draining, the peppers can simply be ground in a food blender into paste. The resultant paste yields good heat value but lack of other flavoring qualities. Thus, it is applicable where ¡°adulterating¡± flavors are not desired. Many chili sauce products on the market today, however, contain additional flavoring ingredients, such as, sugar and vinegar. They would not be the choice if only ¡°heat¡± is needed.
Q: How is chili oil used to make sauces?
A: Chili oil is produced by mixing chili powder in a vegetable oil. One may make chili oil at home by heating the oil and slowly blending in the chili powder. The amount of chili powder used depend on personal taste. On the other hand, controlling the oil temperature is critical. Too high a temperature can result in a burnt taste, odor and color in the chili oil. If so desired, MSG, minced scallion, garlic and/or soy sauce may be added to give additional flavors.
Q: What is the benefit of adding black peppers?
A: Using coarsely ground black pepper in a thick sauce can provide a pleasant mouthfeel. But, in a situation where water solubility is desirable, the fine ground black pepper can release greater spicy effect, as well as, prevent settlement in a thin broth.
Q: Why is oil-soluble sauces apply mushrooms as an ingredient?
A: Mushrooms are an excellent flavoring ingredient. Its subtle but exquisite flavor profile is always desirable in cookery, since it does not overshadow or overpower the flavors of the main ingredient of an entr¨¦e. In addition, chopped mushrooms can add texture variety to a dish besides the flavor and taste.
Q: How to properly use sesame seed paste?
A: Sesame seed paste has an appearance of peanut butter. It needs to be mixed with other material for dilution into a thinner sauce. For example, it is an excellent sauce material for blending in with cooked noodles. In preparing seafood or meat dishes, sesame seeds should be roasted prior to application in order to develop the rich aroma.
Q: There are many varieties of sesame oil products on the market with a disparity in their costs. Why the differences?
A: Sesame oil can be manufactured by pressing, grinding or extraction methods. Lian How® sesame oil products are made with fresh sesame seeds. After roasting and grinding, the oil is extracted and separated from the settlement. Only the top layer of the oil is collected to pack for the products. The species and freshness of the sesame seeds, as well as, the processing technology contribute to the quality of the finished product. The highest quality sesame oil demands higher price due to its greater cost. There are also products that are blended in with other vegetable oils. As a result, their flavor intensity is lower and cost significantly reduced.
Q: Are there health benefits of sesame oil?
A: Chinese believe that sesame oil enhance our health and wellbeing. In particular, it is considered a must for the women after a child-birth. Scientifically speaking, sesame oil contains unsaturated fatty acids that are beneficial to our health.
Q: How to properly drink tea?
A: According to Chinese medical practice, people and tea can both be classified into groups with ¡°cold¡± and ¡°hot¡± inclinations. Those who inherit ¡°cold¡± characteristics in their genetic makeup, ¡°warm¡± tea varieties are recommended. And, vise versa. The main categories of teas include: green tea, qing tea (such as, Wulong, Tieguangyin, Dahongpao), black tea, and dark tea (such as, Puer). Other than the difference in their variety, these teas are generally made with varying degree of fermentation. The green and qing tea (Tieguangyin) are subjected to the least degree of fermentation. They belong to the ¡°cold¡± group. The black and dark tea are fermented for the greatest degree and considered to be warmer. The Wulong and Dahongpao of the qing tea are in between the two groups. Tea experts suggest that smokers and over-weight persons take the ¡°cold¡± teas, the elderly use warm teas, and those who have digestion problem drink the other varieties.
Q: How to clean dried wood ears?
A: By adding vinegar or salt (1/10 by weight of the dried wood ears) to the soaking water, followed by rinsing, removal of the roots and an additional rinse should suffice.
Q: What are the main categories of cuisine in China?
A: There are many schools of culinary art in China. The major ones may include: Sichuan, Canton, Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian, Zejiang, Hunan and Anhui styles. They are the so-called ¡°Eight Cuisine Series¡± of Chinese cookery. Some characterize these varieties of cooking like (a) the mild mannered southern beauties for the Jiangsu, Zejiang and Jiangxi cuisine, (b) the robust northerners for the Shandong cuisine, (c) the elegant princes for the Cantone and Fujian cuisine, and (d) the learned scholars for the Sichuan and Hunan cuisine. And, Union Food provides the key ingredients for many of the mouth-watering dishes in the abovementioned schools of Chinese cookery!