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TheTInCook

Mijiu v Shaoxing/Huangjiu

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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.

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liuzhou   

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.

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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.

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liuzhou   

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 (log)

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Werdna   

Is there a good brand of Shaoxing I can use?   Because I've bought quite a few that are so horribly bad that I've stopped trying, and just use sake or vermouth in chinese recipes.

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What does Shaoxing wine taste like? Ive never had it. Ive heard there are no substitutes, so I assume its different.

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GlorifiedRice

 

Shaoxing wine is not for tasting, it is for cooking. (Am i right, or am I right?)

 

According to Wiki, its a beverage primarily in China to be consumed with snacks

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Naftal   

IMHO, and in my limited experience, one can only get really good shaoxing in liquor stores where the staff is Chinese & speaks predominantly  Mandarin and/or Cantonese.


Edited by Naftal (log)

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Just a heads up. I was looking on Amazon for this item and noticed they are pulling things over from EFoodDepot...

I and many others have had bad experiences with that seller. I got old and stale food from them

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liuzhou   

GlorifiedRice

 

Shaoxing wine is not for tasting, it is for cooking. (Am i right, or am I right?)

 

 

Not right. Shaoxing comes in two basic grades. All can be drunk, but the cheaper ones tend to be used for cooking. Top quality Shaoxing is seldom used in cooking.

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I cannot buy any drinkable Shaoxing in Pa state stores or Amazon (except for salted kinds). Maybe NJ?

Wait has anyone seen it in Chinatown in Philly or the Chinese mkt on Rising Sun blvd?


Edited by GlorifiedRice (log)

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Anna N   

I cannot find it listed in either Ontario or Quebec liquor stores but it does appear to be available in British Columbia

http://www.bcliquorstores.com/product/100990

Edited to add

It is available in all our Asian stores and my current bottle is 19.5% ABV but it also boasts 1.5% salt! In the past I have seen bottles in locked cabinets in Asian stores. Not sure what that was all about as it is illegal to sell alcohol except in government controlled stores in Ontario. The stuff on the shelves is always very cheap.


Edited by Anna N (log)

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Naftal   

I cannot find it listed in either Ontario or Quebec liquor stores but it does appear to be available in British Columbia

http://www.bcliquorstores.com/product/100990

Edited to add

It is available in all our Asian stores and my current bottle is 19.5% ABV but it also boasts 1.5% salt! In the past I have seen bottles in locked cabinets in Asian stores. Not sure what that was all about as it is illegal to sell alcohol except in government controlled stores in Ontario. The stuff on the shelves is always very cheap.

Anna N- shaoxing that contains salt is meant for cooking purposes only. It is legal in many places to sell "cooking wine" without a liquor license. The store you are referring to, however, may have a license. They just may be keeping the more expensive drinking wine locked up.

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Anna N   

Anna N- shaoxing that contains salt is meant for cooking purposes only. It is legal in many places to sell "cooking wine" without a liquor license. The store you are referring to, however, may have a license. They just may be keeping the more expensive drinking wine locked up.

I am of course aware that adding salt to an alcoholic beverage precludes using it as a drink unless you were very desperate! If stores are locking up their drinking wines they could be in deep trouble! Locked up or not alcohol cannot be sold anywhere in Ontario without a license from one of our government control boards.

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I am of course aware that adding salt to an alcoholic beverage precludes using it as a drink unless you were very desperate! If stores are locking up their drinking wines they could be in deep trouble! Locked up or not alcohol cannot be sold anywhere in Ontario without a license from one of our government control boards.

Interesting discussion here on Chowhound - suggesting if you meet certain criteria you just might be able to get it in Toronto.  

 

I have a bottle I bought back from California that doesn't contain salt.

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Anna N   

Interesting discussion here on Chowhound - suggesting if you meet certain criteria you just might be able to get it in Toronto.  

 

I have a bottle I bought back from California that doesn't contain salt.

Ah yes. I do not doubt there are illegal ways to procure it as there are illegal ways to procure almost anything! But one is left asking this:

If it is not available legally in Ontario how huge is the illegal trade in it or are the Chinese home cooks doing without it or using the salted stuff? There is certainly a large selection of the salted stuff in the Asian stores. Are only non-Asians buying it? Are we non-Asians putting to much importance on it as an ingredient? So many questions. So few answers.

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You can get the real thing at liquor stores in Manhattan's Chinatown. The kind I buy has 17% alcohol and no added sugar, salts or preservatives - just wine, unlike the kind you find at supermarkets and groceries. I can't remember the brand name (it only has characters on the label), but it costs about $6.

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You can get the real thing at liquor stores in Manhattan's Chinatown. The kind I buy has 17% alcohol and no added sugar, salts or preservatives - just wine, unlike the kind you find at supermarkets and groceries. I can't remember the brand name (it only has characters on the label), but it costs about $6.

So, whats it taste like?

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Syzygies   

So, whats it taste like?

 

I have found this in Manhattan's Chinatown; I even insisted on cooking with it for a period. There is no true substitute, but many better flavors out there, in the wine/sake/sherry universe. Draw a triangle with wine, sake, sherry in your mind, and it's somewhere inside the triangle. To use this? That is a litmus test for the importance of authenticity, and different people reach different conclusions.

 

Now, if they sold a $30 bottle, it would probably work better than a $30 sake.

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liuzhou   

This is the most popular brand of Shaoxing around here. I've no idea of its availability overseas. They do various versions. This one was drinking quality; reasonable but not the highest level. I used it for cooking. They also do a cheaper version which is only for cooking.

 

 

Shaoxing.JPG

 

Don't worry about the SS sign. It has been Nazi-fied, The SS sign denotes an official top brand. See here.

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rotuts   

this is 'my' brand  its the 'best' I could find in Chinatown BOS. at least that's what I think they said. Hard to say

 

it was the most expensive, $ 7.95 USD. :

 

Wine.jpg

 

and it looks like this :

 

WineShot.jpg

 

it tastes like a mildly sweet sherry, with a bit of a long taste on the tongue.

 

"dry sherry" is nothing like this.

 

BTW  that's a vintage Tequila Sauza 'shot' glass.

 

Free at the factory if you were to visit in 1960.

 

I still have about 1/2 doz.

 

:raz: 

 

the sample bottles of tequila, 'airplane' sized, have long since

 

disappeared.


Edited by rotuts (log)
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This is the most popular brand of Shaoxing around here. I've no idea of its availability overseas. They do various versions. This one was drinking quality; reasonable but not the highest level. I used it for cooking. They also do a cheaper version which is only for cooking.

 

 

Shaoxing.JPG

 

Don't worry about the SS sign. It has been Nazi-fied, The SS sign denotes an official top brand. See here.

That's the exact same bottle I have from an Asian grocery store in SF.

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ElsieD   

I wonder if the SAQ in Quebec carries it? I did a search on their web site but didn't come up with anything but then my French is pretty much nonexistent. I'll maybe check them out unless someone already knows.

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