Straight to the Source

A perk of our increasingly globalized world? The ease of access to recipes from afar. We asked local chefs where they head in Little Rock to find real-deal ingredients

The chef: Justin Patterson of The Southern Gourmasian
The goods: Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and tamarind paste
The source: Sam’s Oriental Store (3704 S. University Ave.; (501) 562-2720)
The scoop: Use lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves to brighten up curries; add tamarind paste to homemade pad Thai.

The chef: Moumen Hamwi of Layla’s
The goods: Tahini
The source: Ali Baba’s Mediterranean Restaurant and Market (3400 S. University Ave.; (501) 379-8011)
The scoop: Made from roasted sesame seeds, this nutty paste can be used in everything from baba ghanoush to brownies.

The chef: Steven Chen of Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Cooking
The goods: Chinese broccoli, sweet pea leaves and blue crab
The source: Mr. Chen’s Asian Supermarket (3901 S. University Ave.; (501) 562-7900)
The scoop: These two vegetables, both native to Asia, help make for an authentic stir fry, says Steven.

The chef: Tony Phan of Mike’s Cafe
The goods: Rock sugar and Vietnamese culantro (a relative of cilantro)
The source: Vietnam Market (8521 Geyer Springs Road; (501) 565-4577)
The scoop: Use the rock sugar to flavor pho broth, then top the finished product with culantro.

The chef: David Martinez of Taqueria El Palenque
The goods: Mexican bay leaves and tomillo
The source: La Regional (7414 Baseline Road; (501) 565-4440)
The scoop: Add these herbs to slow-cooked meats. David braoses beef tongue with the bay leaves, tomillo, onions and garlic.

The chef: Pearl Rodgers of Bruno’s Little Italy
The goods: Sea bass
The source: Sam’s Oriental Store (3704 S. University Ave.; (501) 562-2720)
The scoop: Prepare the sea bass a la Bruno’s by baking it in parchment with lemon, butter and fresh herbs.