I was so excited about the discussion on Umami last weekend that I rushed out to our local Asian Ranch Market to buy the ingredients. An hour and a half later, I have some tips.
All three ingredients ended up fairly close to each other in the seaweed section
The dried shitaki mushrooms are easy to find, right across from the seaweed. I spent about 45 minutes looking for dried bonito. There is a soup product called bonito soup base that comes in a tea bag but it also includes a lot of salt, msg and mackeral, which I didn't think was what the recipe called for. I finally found a package of dried shaved bonito next to the seaweed.
The hardest to find was the dried Kombu. I had no clue what I was looking for -- was it a fish? Was it a flower or a kind of flour? Was it a vegetable? Was it in a jar, plastic package or box? Up an down the isles I went until finally I asked the nice customer service lady. She had no idea what it was either, so she made a couple of calls and then, laughing, said it's just seaweed! Just seaweed? I asked. She took me to the seaweed isle and picked up a plastic bag on the bottom shelf that said Aokizami Kombu in small print. In large print it said Dried Seaweed Sliced.
So there you have it. The packages are so big I can probably make enough Umami to last the rest of my life. But for a start, I'm making those port and stilton cheese burgers this weekend.