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As a novice cook, I’ve found that when tackling an unfamiliar recipe, the fewer ingredients the better. Not only do I dread scouring the grocery store for one product (especially now), but I also can’t justify stocking my pantry full of spices I know I’ll only use a handful of times. Then I discovered the ultimate shortcut: Omsom, a newly launched brand that makes ready-to-use packets with all the specialty sauces, aromatics, seasonings, citrus, and oils you need to prepare classic Thai, Filipino, and Vietnamese dishes. 

The packet isn’t a meal kit (you still have to pick up the protein and veggies) and it’s not just a straight-up sauce either. Once your meat gets cooking, you simply toss the mixture into the pan with any other fresh produce the recipe calls for—no tedious measuring involved.

The brand’s New York–based founders, sisters Vanessa and Kim Pham, had estimable chefs weigh in on each of the three bold starters and their suggested recipes: Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ (developed by Jimmy Ly of Madame Vo), Thai Larb (made by Chat and Ohm Suansilphong of Fish Cheeks), and Filipino Sisig (from Nicole Ponseca of Jeepney’s). The packs can be purchased online individually for $12 each or you can experiment with all of them by getting the trio sampler (now back for preorder after selling out). My mom and I have been doing a lot of recipe testing during quarantine—we made the larb and sisig, each in less than 30 minutes. The convenience of it all almost rivals the bold flavors. 

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