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Mijiu v Huangjiu/Shaoxing

Chinese

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3 replies to this topic

#1 TheTInCook

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 02:57 PM

When should I use one as opposed to the other?

I've been defaulting to the shaoxing, but I recently picked up a cheap bottle of michiu to try out.

#2 liuzhou

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:22 PM

Shaoxing is mijiu. Mijiu just means 'rice wine'.

It is supposedly a superior type, but in fact there are many varieties of Shaoxing, ranging from the very cheap to the fairly expensive. The more expensive are intended for drinking. The cheapest are probably intended for cleaning the toilet.

I tend to use a middle of the range Shaoxing most of the time (although, strange as it may seem, Shaoxing wine is not that always easy to find here in southern China. When they have it, I stock up.)

That said, when it runs out, I just use whatever liào jiǔ (料酒) they have in the store. The difference is very slight.

#3 TheTInCook

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 07:16 PM

Now I'm more confused then ever.

The stuff I got is clear. From what I've seen on the shelf, that type is usually labled Mijiu or Michui. (Though the one I took home was labled Rice Cooking Wine (yeah I know))

As opposed to the shaohsings which are brown.

Interesting that the difference is slight. I don't think I could say the same for cooking with red and white grape wines.

Funny how I have better access to some chinese ingredients in the USA then you do in China lol.

#4 liuzhou

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:47 PM

Mijiu (米酒) is a generic term. It literally means 'rice wine'. Some is clear, some is not. Mijiu is produced both as a drinking wine or specifically for cooking.

Huangjiu (黄酒) literally means 'yellow wine'. It includes, but is not confined to mijiu. Despite the name, in color it can be anywhere from clear to brownish-red. Shaoxing wine (绍兴酒 or 绍兴米酒) is at the brownish-red end of the spectrum. The coloring comes largely from the yeasts used in the fermentation. ( Note: Shaoxing wine is often labelled in traditional Chinese characters - 紹興酒 or 紹興米酒.)

Baijiu (白酒 - White 'wine') is distilled and so is a spirit rather than a true wine. It is occasionally used in cooking too, but much more often drunk.

Wines intended only for cooking are usually referred to, and often labelled as, liao jiu (料酒), which literally means 'ingredient wine'.

When I say the differences are slight, I mean at the lower end of the price scale. A Shaoxing wine sold as a cooking wine isn't that different from any other liaojiu. A pricy 'drinking' version would be.

It is not surprising that Shaoxing wine is less common here. People tend to use local (and cheaper) varieties. What other Chinese ingredients do you have better access to? I'd bet for any one that you can get, I can put up 100 that you can't! :laugh:

Edited by liuzhou, 10 May 2012 - 10:13 PM.






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