As someone who’s passionate about cooking and traveling the world through cookbooks, I buy groceries from many different sources. Some days I take a break from the supermarket and pay a visit to my local butcher shop. On Saturdays the farmers market sparks my creativity with its bountiful heirloom fruits and vegetables. When I’m feeling adventurous, the local Asian Market awaits with exotic produce and a world of unfamiliar ingredients. But it can be overwhelming finding ingredients for a recipe when the labels are printed in a foreign language. Asking for help in the Asian market results in friendly smiles and the realization that no one in the shop seems to speak English. Don’t despair — the Asian Market Shopper app by revered cooking expert and cookbook author Andrea Nguyen is here to help.
This pocket guide includes detailed photographs and audio pronunciations of 100 essential Asian ingredients accompanied by 25 staple recipes. Andrea’s cheerful, encouraging personality comes through in the instructional videos and her tips for shopping in Asian markets melt away any fears of the unfamiliar. Ingredients and recipes are depicted in mouth-watering photos in an app that’s useful and inspiring. If you love cooking Asian cuisine but fear the strange world of Asian markets, Andrea Nguyen is your new best friend.
Asian Market Guide is a treat visually, with content presented in a sleek, modern aesthetic that’s true to its Asian roots. It’s organized in a way that makes sense and easy to navigate. The home screen allows you to browse ingredients by region and access your favorites lists. It’s also nice to be able to view All Ingredients in one place. The Introduction feature adds a human touch to the app, making it more personal as Andrea’s voice encourages you to explore Asian markets. Tap the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner to search. This function works quite well for words found in the recipes and ingredients.Select a region and scroll through the alphabetized list of Asian ingredients. It’s extensive, with everything from spices to tofu to pantry staples to fresh produce. Tap on an ingredient to see an in-depth description and detailed photo of the packaging. Andrea Nguyen’s passion for Asian food is evident in the thorough information provided regarding the ingredient’s history, various forms, uses, preparation techniques and how it’s labeled. She informs you on how to buy the very best quality and in what section of the market you’ll find the ingredient. On the right side of the screen you’ll notice several red icons. First is the pronunciation tool, and tapping it plays Andrea’s friendly voice teaching you how to say the common name in its native tongue. This can be super helpful when you’re in the Asian market and need to ask for help. The next icon is a red star you can tap to add an ingredient to your Favorites list. The box with an arrow allows you to share the ingredient via Email, Facebook or Twitter. Lastly, the plus sign enlarges the image to full screen so you can more closely examine it.
Just as with Ingredients, Recipes are organized by regions of Asia but include a convenient tab for browsing all recipes. Select a region and scroll through them. Those with a red camera icon in the right corner have an instructional video. The recipe cards are smooth and sleek, flipping to reveal more information.
Select Go To Full Recipe for a full ingredients list and preparation instructions. Asian ingredients are highlighted in a jade green color and tapping the word takes you to its full description card from the Ingredients section. This function is very helpful and the green arrow at the top of the screen takes you right back to the recipe. It seems every detail is attended to so users don’t have to fight the app.
A horizontal row of red icons adds functions to the recipe cards just like with the Ingredients section. Tap the icon on the far left for an audio pronunciation guide of the dish’s native name. Add the recipe to your favorites with the star. Save the ingredients for this recipe to your Shopping List with the shopping cart icon. Share the recipe using Email, Facebook or Twitter. The last icon enlarges the font size, which makes the ingredients list easier to read on the go.
The Shopping screen is where lists for each recipe you’ve added are kept. At the top of the screen is another one of Andrea’s audio Introductions with a few valuable tips for navigating Asian markets. Just under the Introduction is the Complete Shopping List, where the app has gathered everything you’ll need to make each recipe you’ve saved. For example, to make the Kung Pao Chicken and Miso Soup you’ll need a total of 10 oz. of chicken, 1 clove of garlic, 5 scallions and 1 tbsp. of ginger. This is a very useful function, but executed in a slightly confusing way. In the screen print below you see scallions are mentioned twice, separated by the ginger. The app has compiled all the ingredients from each recipe in a list form that doesn’t necessarily make sense to users. Once you’re onto this you’ll know to stay alert and not miss ingredients.As an alternative to the Complete Shopping List, you can view individual shopping lists by recipe. Doing it this way is less efficient when you’re in the store since it requires multiple visits to each department (fish, pantry staples, produce, etc.). All shopping lists have check boxes for you to knock off ingredients once they’re in your cart. A box icon with a line through the middle in the top right corner of the Shopping screen allows you the ability to delete recipes from the shopping list.
Chronicle Books, the publisher behind Andrea’s cookbooks, has delivered her expertise in an attractive, highly functional interface with professional video, audio and photography features. At a cost of $3.99, users get a collection of iconic Asian recipes, valuable instructional videos and in-depth knowledge of exotic Asian ingredients. Asian Market Shopper is like having the expert Andrea Nguyen at your side, helping you navigate every isle of the market and select only the best ingredients for your next meal.