Which ingredient most signals a quality dish?

Phil Maymin asks:

What one ingredient most signals a quality dish to you? For me it is scallions. If it's got scallions in it, it's gotta be good. Scallions have never steered me wrong. I think it's because no one really starts with scallions. They get added later to take a proven dish from good to great.

His answer is excellent.  "Fish sauce" came first to my mind, perhaps because it doesn't taste so good.  Yet it is correlated with high-quality Thai, Vietnamese, and other creations.  Real saffron (expensive, signals quality) and lime (sour, scares off the timid) also could be mentioned.  Chicken gizzards.  Sichuan peppercorns.  What else?


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