Cooking with South China Seas

Known as a one stop shop to find rare and exotic culinary ingredients from around the world, South China Seas shop in the Granville Island Public Market also features the freshest and most fragrant herbs and spices available.

I spent the past few weeks cooking a selection of Asian and Middle Eastern dishes at home using many fresh and packaged ingredients that are available at South China Seas in their shop and many of those ingredients are also available online.

Middle Eastern dishes

Here are the delicious dishes and recipes that I made, I have also noted which of the ingredients were from South China Seas.

I made the following dishes with an Asian theme, specifically cooking up some Indonesian, Japanese and Thai dishes using many products from South China Seas a local purveyor of fine spices and ingredients from around the world that is located in the Granville Island Public Market as well as online.

Green Tea Noodles with Salmon and Red curry sauce — featured these products from South China Seas — Red boat fish sauce, Red curry paste, Roy-d Coconut milk, Lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves and Limes.



2-1/2 tablespoons Grapeseed Oil (or vegetable oil)

1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste

2 kaffir-lime leaves

1 small stick lemon grass split

400 ml can coconut milk

½ tbsp brown sugar

2-1/2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbs fish sauce

8 baby bok choy (halved lengthways)

4 pieces (about 125 gr) Salmon, skin removed

200 g green tea (soba) noodles


  1. Preheat oven to 170 C.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add curry paste and fry for 1 minute, add kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, coconut milk and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in lime juice and set aside.
  3. In a clean pan, add remaining oil and sear salmon over high heat for 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes in the oven.
  4. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add noodles and cook for 3 minutes, add bok choy and cook for 1 minute. Drain and then add the firsh sauce. Reheat sauce, pour onto a deep plate, then add noodles, bok choy and salmon.

Miso-Glazed Eggplant — featured these products from South China Seas — Shoyu miso, Mirin, hot blended sesame oil, and white sesame seeds.



3 Japanese long eggplants

1 tbsp hot blended sesame oil

3 tbsp organic white miso

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp water

2 tsp tasted white sesame seeds

2 stalk green ions


  1. Cut eggplants into 3” pieces, then cut into halves. Brush the hot blended sesame oil on to the top of each eggplant piece on a baking tray and bake for approx. 20 minutes at 350 F.
  2. Mix the white miso, sugar, mirin and water in a small bowl, then brush or add the mixture on top of the eggplant pieces.
  3. Broil the eggplant in the oven for a minute or two, watch to make sure the eggplant pieces don’t burn.

Indonesian Stir-fry — featured these products from South China Seas–Coriander, Kecap Manis, Rice wine vinegar, and Japanese Rice.



1 tbsp grapeseed oil

600 g beef rump steak, thinly sliced

2 tsp ground coriander

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

¼ cup kecap manis

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

150 g snow peas, sliced

¼ cup Napa cabbage, thinly sliced

Steamed rice to serve


  1. Heat oil in a large pan and fry half of the met slices over medium-high heat. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until brown all over. Remove from pan and repeat with the rest of the beef.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add coriander, garlic and carrot. Stir-fry for 1 minute, add the kecap manis, vinegar and snow peas and simmer for 2 minutes or until snow peas are bright green. Remove from heat and stir-in beef and cabbage. Serve with rice.

Red Curry Stirfry with Tofu and Long Beans — featured these products from South China Seas — Red curry paste, Palm sugar, Soy sauce, Kaffir lime leaves, and Japanese Rice.



Grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil) for frying

11oz Extra Firm tofu

4 tbsp Red curry paste

1-1/2 tbsp Palm Sugar

2 tsp soy sauce

½ cup water

5 kaffir lime leaves

20 long beans

Jasmine or Japanese rice for serving


  1. To fry the tofu, add 1 inch of oil to a small or medium pan and fry small pieces in batches for 1 – 2 minutes until tofu is browned. Drain on paper towel.
  2. In a large saute pan, add t tbsp oil, the curry paste, palm sugar and soy sauce; stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the curry paste is aromatic. If the curry paste sticks to the pan, add a splash of water to loosen it. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the kaffir lime leaves with the curry paste.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium – high, add the long beans and toss to mix the curry paste for 1 minute. Add the fried tofu and toss until it is all covered with sauce.
  4. Transfer to the plate and serve with jasmine rice.

On another night I made a few dishes with a Middle Eastern theme using many products from South China Seas a local purveyor of fine spices and ingredients from around the world that is located in the Granville Island Public Market as well as online.

Roast Cauliflower with Dukkah and Green Tahini — featured these products from South China Seas — the Dukkah, and Tahini



2 cups cauliflower florets

2 tablespoons avocado oil

2 tablespoons dukkah

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup tahini sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F
  2. Toss the cauliflower with avocado oil, dukkah, salt and pepper. Spread on to a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  3. While the cauliflower roasts, prepare the tahini sauce. Combine in a blender and process until smooth.

Soft Zucchini with Harissa and Lemon — featured these products from South China Seas — Apricot harissa, bird chili, preserved lemons,



1/3 cup olive oil

6 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 tbsp apricot harissa

1 red chili, finely chopped

½ preserved lemon (finely chopped)

5 tsp lemon juice

2 or 3 zucchini (finely sliced)

½ cup basil leaves


  1. Place a large non-stick sauté pan on medium-high heat and add the olive oil and garlic. Fry gently for 4 minutes, stirring often, until soft and golden. Remove 3 tbsp of the oil along with half the garlic to a small bowl. Add the harissa, chile, preserved lemon and lemon juice to the bowl, stir together and set aside.
  2. Return the pan to high heat and add the zucchini, cook for about 18 minutes, stirring often. Stir in half the basil and transfer to platter. Spoon harissa mixture over the zucchini. Let sit for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with remaining basil before serving.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Yogurt and Maple — featured these products from South China Seas — Pomegranate molasses, sesame seeds, Noble maple syrup



2-3 orange sweet potatoes

3 tbsp olive oil

2 limes

2/3 cup Greek-style yogurt

1 small garlic clove

1-1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses

2 tsp cilantro leaves

1-1/2 tsp sesame seeds

Drizzle maple syrup


  1. Put the sweet potatoes into a small sauce pan with a dash of salt.
  2. Cook the potatoes in boiling water so that they are submerged and cook for 10-12 minutes. Drain the potatoes well, add in 2 tsp of olive oil then mash until smooth.Allow to cool slightly, then stir in half the lime zest and 2 tbsp of the yogurt until combined. Spoon on to serving plate.
  3. Combine the remaining yogurt with the garlic and spoon evenly over the mash. Drizzle with the pomegranate molasses and remaining olive oil, cilantro, chile, sesame seeds and remaining lime zest. Serve with lime wedges. –

South China Seas is located at 1689 Johnston St #125, Vancouver (inside the Granville Island Public Market).

By: Richard Wolak


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