That distinct aroma that emanates from Chinese kitchens

If you’re a fan of Ma Mon Luk Restaurant, you’d probably know what I mean when I say that even as you walk through the restaurant’s front door, you are immediately greeted by an indescribable aroma emanating from the kitchen. I’ve been a Ma Mon Luk habitue since I was a child, I’ve noticed that smell even back then and I’ve come to associate it with authentic Chinese cooking. I didn’t know where the smell came from, I was always sure that the Ma Mon Luk owners would never give away trade secrets, so I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to go there to get a whiff of that wonderful aroma.

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Then, I discovered something. Several weeks ago, I bought a pack of dried roots, barks and herbs. There, you can read in the photo above what it’s called. The label does not say, however, what exactly all the dried items in the package are.

I had forgotten I bought that pack until yesterday when I was looking for a new pack of crushed graham crackers for my white and dark chocolate pie. And I saw the pack of dried roots and barks lying on the bottom shelf of the cabinet of the kitchen island. When I made broth earlier today, I remembered the pack and decided to use everything in it.

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And what do you know? My kitchen smelled of Ma Mon Luk. Amazingly. Unbelievably.

The problem is I can’t remember from which supermarket I bought that pack of dried roots and barks. But since I frequent very few supermarkets, it’s a toss up among The Landmark at the TriNoMa, Unimart, Cherry, S&R and Shopwise.