It's very hard for me to get to any Asian grocers, and their prices for rice cooking wine can be outrageous (a bottle that would cost $1.89 in the US selling for €8-10 which is $12-15).
Though both Asian cooking and ordering food online are in their infancy here, a more convenient and middle-of-the-road solution cost-wise appears to be ordering online. However, I can only find one supplier, who does not even stock this product retail (they specialize in packaged Thai ingredients) but has said he will special-order me a case.
I can order either "Hua Tiao Chiew" or "Jia Fan Chiew" in bottles, or gallons of "High Grade Shao Hsing" in plastic jugs, from this site, for importation into Italy:
In particular, can anyone help with the difference between Hua Tiao and Jia Fan (also transcribed as Jia Fen)??
One remark I came across said that "Hua Tiao" meant "Withered Flower" (Flower = Hua). Other than that I have not been able to find any more particular information.
Oh, and just to make things more confusing, the "Jia Fan" product has a label that is identical to that of the bottle I already own that's running low. However, my bottle does not say "Jia Fan" anywhere on it; instead it says "Chen Nian Hua Tiao Wine". So what's "Chen Nian", mean?
Thanks in advance!