I became interested in vinegar when I first learned to cook about two and a half years ago.  It adds tons of flavor and cut a major amount of fat from your diet.

I quickly learned that the sweet and tart tastes of many types of vinegars were very appealing.  Balsamic and red wine were my first true loves.  Later on, I branched out and tried rice vinegar,  rice wine vinegar,  apple vinegar, and white wine vinegar. And that was it, as far as I knew. I never saw any other vinegars out there on the food shelves, other than the standard white vinegar which is just as often used for cleaning as it is for any cooking.

I’d heard of malt vinegar too.  I’ve tasted it once with french fries and thought it was disgusting.  I can’t say as I ever recalled seeing it in the stores.

Little did I know that was the tip of the iceberg.

It wasn’t until I came to Taiwan and began taking a look around the grocery stores that I made an intriguing discovery.  While browsing in the sauce and vinegar section for some balsamic (a must have in any decent kitchen) I saw something called pomegranate vinegar.  Sitting right next to it was some Cranberry vinegar.

Amazing! Shocking!  I couldn’t believe my eyes. Pomegranate and cranberry vinegar? What does that taste like? My mind was racing.

I promptly forgot about it as my quest for  balsamic continued.  It was tough to find. Later, I learned that Costco had it but I needed a liter of balsamic like I needed a punch to the face.  What reasonable human being needs that amount of vinegar ever?

More recently, I accidentally bought  black vinegar, which I had been avoiding, because I have no clue what its made from. Turns out it tastes just fine and its made from rice, wheat and some other random stuff.

I took a gamble and bought plum vinegar. It’s surprisingly sweet, and great for stir fries and sweet and sour sauces. I use it as a substitute for sugar all the time.

Then one day I turned down the soft drink and juice aisle at Carrefour, and hit pay dirt.  There, before my disbelieving eyes, I found orange, pineapple, pomegranate, cranberry, kiwi, strawberry, and a slew of other vinegars I didn’t know existed.  They even had lime vinegar. Lime!  Lime is pretty sour already and a juice I put to good use in a wide variety of dishes. Just what does lime vinegar taste like? I’m burning to find out.

I had to forcibly restrain myself. I couldn’t just dump seventy or eighty bucks on fifteen to twenty bottles of vinegar. I have a boat load of other condiments, spices and sauces waiting to  be used and I’m running out of space.  But, I did indulge myself and bought the cranberry vinegar.

I can’t wait to start experimenting with it.

I don’t know how long I’ll be in Taiwan but I am determined not to waste another second.  I’ll be buying a new type of vinegar every time I go to Carrefour from here on out. A whole new world has opened up begging me to explore it.  How could I possibly resist this challenge?

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