Chinese food is dear to my heart. And though I cook simply--and rarely--I like to know all about my foods and the accompanying sauces, pastes, noodles, etc that can be added to turn something good into something delicious.
Two books from Jim's booklist:
"The Asian Grocer Demystifyed" by Linda Bladholm,
"Asian Ingredients: A Guide to the Foodstuffs of China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam" by Bruce Cost,
have answered so many of my questions of what to do when I walk into a Chinese supermarket. The books' illustrations of veggies (so many kinds of bok choy!) bottled sauces, types of noodles, rice four, preserved stuff--plus brand names in some cases--really enlightened my recent Chinatown shopping excursion.
Just wanted to mention that, 'cause I occasionally forget about the Chowhound booklist--and it's such a wealth of information.