our asian food would use these two ingredients a lot. i don't know how to cook at all (seriously) before we moved to adelaide. but since living here i have started to learn how to cook and i think i am 10 times a better cook then i was. well maybe more because i started off with 0 knowledge in cooking. instant noodles and boiling water is not considered cooking
but i learn to cook using substitute or minimal usage of these two crucial ingredients. my wife is an excellent cook and i reckon she makes the best nasik lemak and nasik minyak in gawler (because we are the only malay living here).
shallots ang ginger isn't unavailable in the shops here. they are easily bought. but the real reason is because of money. have a look at this pic i took last week.
that's in aussie dollar (AUD). and roughly, AUD1 = RM3.