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Chinese Black Vinegar


mudbug
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I had a crab dish many years ago at a restaurant in Seattle and fell in love with the dipping sauce. For years I'd kept that flavor in the back of my mind and finally discovered while eating something else years later that black vinegar was the base of the custom sauce they'd designed for the crab.

Well, it's always good to figure out exactly what it is you really enjoy... and for me, black vinegar is one of them. I assume the primary use of black vinegar is for dipping sauces when combined with garlic, rice vinegar, sugar, chili peppers, scallions, fish sauce, etc.

We don't use ours very often because we forget it's "there". But I always enjoy when we do.

How about you? What do you normally use it for and find it works best with?

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I'm most familiar with it in the dish of pig's feet with ginger that is traditionally fed to new mothers to help heat their bodies. Fortunately (or not), this delicious dish was never made specifically for me but I've eaten lots of it because all my aunties were having babies when I was growing up, and now my friends are.

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I've never heard of this as custom aprilmei, quite intersting. Is the black vinegar used as a dipping sauce?

It's not used as a dipping sauce: it's pig's feet, black vinegar and lots of ginger stewed together for ages. Sometimes whole eggs are added. It's a very rich dish and is supposed to be good for the new mother because she's so exhausted and has lost so much blood in giving birth. As a kid, I wasn't supposed to eat much of it because it's too rich but I used to sneak into the kitchen and eat it straight out of the pot.

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I've never heard of this as custom aprilmei, quite intersting. Is the black vinegar used as a dipping sauce?

What aprilmei described is very common in Hong Kong and the vincinity of Guangzhou. I am surprised that you haven't heard of this before, mudbug. :shock:

You said you are Cantonese. Did you grow up in Missouri, or elsewhere (in China?) before immigrating to the U.S.?

Black vinegar is also essential in cooking many dishes. e.g. Some of the "hot braised" meats such as beef, Zha Jee Gai (Cantonese Fried Chicken) - preboiled in black vinegar, hung and wind-dried before deep-frying in hot oil. Sweet and Sour dishes.

As a dip for crab, it is best to mix some black vinegar and sesame oil. That's it. Especially good for hairy crab. Crab meat is very delicate. Dipping it in black vinager with sesame oil can let you feel the true taste of the meat. :smile:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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I'm most familiar with it in the dish of pig's feet with ginger that is traditionally fed to new mothers to help heat their bodies.

Oh my suffering salivating glands!!! Jue Giok Cho has got to be my fav confinement food. Sometimes, I think I become a mom just to get to eat it for a couple of weeks straight!

Here's the recipe.

We also discovered, from a Taiwan restaurant we go to, that black vinegar added to noodles adds a dimension to the dish. Really good. I've started to do that when I cook noodles at home too.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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You said you are Cantonese.  Did you grow up in Missouri, or elsewhere (in China?) before immigrating to the U.S.?

Never have been to China. Born in Canada, raised in the US. Can understand some of the language, can't really speak it. Traditional customs such as these I am unaware of.

The feet sound pretty good based on the recipe, thanks for the link!

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Interesting note about the new mothers confinement and the eating of black vinegar chicken soup. The Cantonese/Toisanese term is "toe yuet", which can sound like either "vinegar" month or "sitting" month. Both meanings are , ahem, very appropriate. :biggrin:

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We also discovered, from a Taiwan restaurant we go to, that black vinegar added to noodles adds a dimension to the dish. Really good. I've started to do that when I cook noodles at home too.

Besides adding taste, my FIL told me that there is a practical health reason for drizzling black vinegar into a bowl of noodle (soup). He said that the factories use a lot of lye water (alkaline?) to produce the noodles. If you eat a lot of noodles, you risk developing kidney stones. By taking in some vinegar (acid), it neutralizes the alkaline (which produces salt in your stomach? :smile: ). It seems to make sense.

Any comments from Trillium, our chemist? Any doctor or dietitian in the forum?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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We also discovered, from a Taiwan restaurant we go to, that black vinegar added to noodles adds a dimension to the dish. Really good. I've started to do that when I cook noodles at home too.

Besides adding taste, my FIL told me that there is a practical health reason for drizzling black vinegar into a bowl of noodle (soup). He said that the factories use a lot of lye water (alkaline?) to produce the noodles. If you eat a lot of noodles, you risk developing kidney stones. By taking in some vinegar (acid), it neutralizes the alkaline (which produces salt in your stomach? :smile: ). It seems to make sense.

Any comments from Trillium, our chemist? Any doctor or dietitian in the forum?

I love Chinese black vinegar - I first tasted it in Shanghai several years ago and had to smuggle some back with me to eat with jiao zi and guo tieh.

As a physician, I can't see how lye could be good for your digestive tract in any way, shape, or form. If I recall correctly, one needs to alkalinize the urine the prevent renal stones from forming. I don't think that the minimal amount of acid in the vinegar would do much for a metabolic alkalosis - you'd have have a LOT of vinegar.

Now I'm getting myself all confused. Electrolytes and renal were never my strong suit. Anyway, I love that vinegar too.

Edited by Zen Baker (log)
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The black vinegar I get here in New York is labeled "Chinkiang Vinegar" and bears the brand name "Gold Plum."

Many Americans don't comprehend that black vinegar and soy sauce are two different things.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Many Americans don't comprehend that black vinegar and soy sauce are two different things.

I hope they can distinguish the 2 different tastes. :raz:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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As a dip for crab, it is best to mix some black vinegar and sesame oil.  That's it.  Especially good for hairy crab.  Crab meat is very delicate.  Dipping it in black vinager with sesame oil can let you feel the true taste of the meat.  :smile:

No wonder black vinegar is optionally provided for sharks fin soup.

TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

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I'm most familiar with it in the dish of pig's feet with ginger that is traditionally fed to new mothers to help heat their bodies. Fortunately (or not), this delicious dish was never made specifically for me but I've eaten lots of it because all my aunties were having babies when I was growing up, and now my friends are.

I totally forgot about that. Even though I shouldn't, since my mom makes this all the time. It's not that anyone has had a child, we just love this stuff....

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Oh thanks, Tepee, for posting about the post-natal black vinegar pig trotters! :angry::angry: My mom made these huge jars of it after each of my 3 kids, along with the chicken and whiskey I posted about in the wood ear thread.

Tradition is that a month after the birth, the women folk all gather to eat this soup with the new mom, who has been eating it for the whole month!

My second fridge was filled with these two post-natal soups.

But, the black vinegar that is used for dipping: jet toe?(toisanese pronunciation)...not the same as the black vinegar for the soup...Am I confused?

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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But, the black vinegar that is used for dipping: jet toe?(toisanese pronunciation)...not the same as the black vinegar for the soup...Am I confused?

Jeet Cho is the Cantonese pronounciation. They are a bit different. The black vinegar used to cook pig trotters is thicker and extra sweet.

My nose and throat cannot take pungent smell too well. Since a kid I avoided passing by those street vendors selling pig trotters.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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What timing!

Have recently asked mum to teach me how to cook jue giok cho as a friend has just had a baby and several of us are helping her make the goodies for the moon yuet gathering. Will remember to take some pics for e-gullet!

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But, the black vinegar that is used for dipping: jet toe?(toisanese pronunciation)...not the same as the black vinegar for the soup...Am I confused?

Jeet Cho is the Cantonese pronounciation. They are a bit different. The black vinegar used to cook pig trotters is thicker and extra sweet.

Yeah, this is right. I've always thought of the one for pig's feet as black vinegar - it has spices and sugar in it, I believe - and the other one for dipping as brown vinegar. The brown vinegar is much thinner and it's what we use as a dipping sauce for hairy crabs.

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Many Americans don't comprehend that black vinegar and soy sauce are two different things.

I hope they can distinguish the 2 different tastes. :raz:

Not always! Many Americans use soy sauce as an actual sauce -- meaning they pour it over whatever Chinese food they're eating (remember the scene in Joy Luck Club?). I've seen people do the same with black vinegar, in restaurants where both soy sauce and black vinegar are provided as condiments on the table (e.g., New Green Bo), and have no clue that they weren't using soy sauce.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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just wanted to let the male populace know

that the black vinegar pig trotter is for girls only :wink:

hehehehe!

actually saw an interesting use of black vinegar while i was doign a trainee day in a hotel kitchen. They were using it like blasamic reducing it down to a glaze and drizzling it on to some fish dishes

it was quite nice much sweeter then a balsamic glaze.

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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just wanted to let the male populace know

that the black vinegar pig trotter is for girls only  :wink:

hehehehe!

For girls... and guys who feel very secure about their masculinity.

Or guys who simply don't care. :wink:

:P its tastes nasty!! :P

like "wa mui" (perserved chinese plums) guys aren't meant to eat it!! :P

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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.....like "wa mui" (perserved chinese plums) guys aren't meant to eat it!! :P

Now wait a minute! Where did this come from? I happen to like "wa mui" since childhood! :biggrin: My father liked it too. Where did you hear such a statement?

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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:smile:

observation of most men's face when asked to try "wa mui" :raz: hehe.

its kinda like the sucking in their faces look

that happens when you give a baby a slice of lemon to eat :laugh:

anyway there are lots of chinese things that guys aren't meant to eat

like "dong gwai"

if i even have a little bit of that i can't breath properly!! :shock:

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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