We've all probably seen the immense array of dried shrimp, scallops, and other seafood, as well as dried mushrooms, offered in Chinese markets. I've been walking past these displays for years but have never purchased anything except the occasional dried shitake. I've no idea what many of these items are in the first place! And why the huge price differential with scallops, for example?
I am an avid home cook, but my dishes are almost always in the European tradition. But I imagine that many of these dried ingredients could be used as flavor boosters in non-Asian dishes. Curious if other CHers use them in this way, or do you buy these often pricey dried ingredients solely for use in Chinese home cooking?
Please enlighten me...these displays look like a wonderland of goodness and I would like to partake!