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Chinese Black Vinegar


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I don't know much about vinegar but I think balsamic vinegar is a good substitution for Chiangkang vinegar.
No way.  They're completely different.

Completely agree with trillium on that one.

That would be like saying "worcestershire sauce" is a good substitution for "balsamic vinegar". It wouldn't be, they're too different.

Comparing worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar is like comparing apple and orange. Worcestershire sauce is not even vinegar.

Leave the gun, take the canoli

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Hi AzianBrewer:

Welcome to eGullet and the Chinese Forum. :smile:

I love balsamic vinegar for dipping my baguette in, and I also marinate a roasting chicken with it before popping it into the oven.

Balsamic might work in an emergency as a stand-in for black vinegar , but it may not be vinegry enough to work as a substitute. :smile:

Dejah

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I don't know much about vinegar but I think balsamic vinegar is a good substitution for Chiangkang vinegar.
No way.  They're completely different.

Completely agree with trillium on that one.

That would be like saying "worcestershire sauce" is a good substitution for "balsamic vinegar". It wouldn't be, they're too different.

Comparing worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar is like comparing apple and orange. Worcestershire sauce is not even vinegar.

How about saying balsamic vinegar is to Chinkiang black vinegar what worcestershire sauce is to soya sauce? Somewhat similiar but still different enough.

regards,

trillium

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How about saying balsamic vinegar is to Chinkiang black vinegar what worcestershire sauce is to soya sauce?  Somewhat similiar but still different enough.

lol... sounds good. I think everyone get's the point now... ;)

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  • 3 years later...

Bumping this old thread because it seems to be most relevant to my current question: Recently, while digging through my pantry, I came across a sealed bottle of Chinkiang vinegar. It's marked with a "best before" date that's, um, long past. I've never known vinegar to go bad before, but I'm not very familiar with Chinese black vinegar. Should I toss this bottle or is it still safe to use? Will the flavour have deteriorated? Thanks!

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Ha! I just read through this thread, the whole while thinking "I have a bottle of Chiangkang vinegar in the cupboard from a few years ago, I'm going to ask if it's still good." Get to the end and you beat me to it! Can't wait to hear the answer. If it makes any difference, mine has been opened but only a tiny bit used.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here's a somewhat late reply... according to the Vinegar Institute (yes, there apparently is such an entity):

"How Long Does Vinegar Last?

The Vinegar Institute conducted studies to find out and confirmed that vinegar’s shelf life is almost indefinite. Because of its acid nature, vinegar is self-preserving and does not need refrigeration. White distilled vinegar will remain virtually unchanged over an extended period of time. And, while some changes can be observed in other types of vinegars, such as color changes or the development of a haze or sediment, this is only an aesthetic change. The product can still be used and enjoyed with confidence."

From http://www.versatilevinegar.org/faqs.html

Now we don't know if they tested Chinese rice vinegars, which are somewhat less acidic than typical western vinegar. But check this:

"Zhenjiang Vinegar

The best vinegar is in Zhejiang, located in Jiangsu province. Zhenjiang vinegar is unique for its color, fragrance, acid, pure and dense material among other kinds of vinegar in China. Taste it, you will feel acid and delicious, fragrant and sweet. The longer you keep it, the better it tastes. This is one of the ¡°three strange things¡±, which will never deteriorate."

From: http://www.visitzhenjiang.com/pages/en/activities/food.html

Just to straighten out the terminology... Chingkiang vinegar should be black rice vinegar that's made in Zhenjiang; Chingkiang (often mis-spelled Chinkiang or Chenkiang on vinegar labels) was the pre-revolution transliteration of the city's name. If it doesn't say it's from Zhenjiang on the label, it should just be called black rice vinegar, not Chingkiang vinegar.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Maybe Chinese black vinegar will never deteriorate, but that statement is simply not true of all vinegars. I just threw out a bottle of red wine vinegar that was absolutely rotten, and which had been perfectly fine several months ago. I've never had that happen before. It smelled awful, and like an idiot I tasted it because I just couldn't believe that vinegar could go bad. But it can. It can.

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I really like it in a Sesame noodle recipe i clipped out of the paper years ago--it was sent in by a man from Singapore & is unusual in that it has black tea in it-- the vinegar adds to the flavor in a delicious way.

I also add it to stir fried cabbage and in other vegetable dishes, but after reading here I'll try it in braised meat dishes, and also i like the idea of reducing it to a glaze.

Z

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just a thought/comment on the Chiangkang (sp?) Vinegar everybody's been talking about on this thread. Having tried it as well as other "black" vinegars that weren't labeled more specifically, I was just wondering if anybody else out there thinks it a poor substitute for real Shaanxi aged vinegar (老陈醋)? I use the latter mainly for use in noodles, dumplings and XLBs, and find it to be way better than that other stuff.

Did I just get a bad bottle, or is there really a difference?

Thanks,

Sloppyzhou

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Just a thought/comment on the Chiangkang (sp?) Vinegar everybody's been talking about on this thread.  Having tried it as well as other "black" vinegars that weren't labeled more specifically, I was just wondering if anybody else out there thinks it a poor substitute for real Shaanxi aged vinegar (老陈醋)? I use the latter mainly for use in noodles, dumplings and XLBs, and find it to be way better than that other stuff.

Did I just get a bad bottle, or is there really a difference?

Thanks,

Sloppyzhou

Did you check the bottom of the bottle ? Any cloudy sediment? Sometimes I see that with the vinegars, so I just toss them.

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Just a thought/comment on the Chiangkang (sp?) Vinegar everybody's been talking about on this thread.  Having tried it as well as other "black" vinegars that weren't labeled more specifically, I was just wondering if anybody else out there thinks it a poor substitute for real Shaanxi aged vinegar (老陈醋)? I use the latter mainly for use in noodles, dumplings and XLBs, and find it to be way better than that other stuff.

Did I just get a bad bottle, or is there really a difference?

Thanks,

Sloppyzhou

Did you check the bottom of the bottle ? Any cloudy sediment? Sometimes I see that with the vinegars, so I just toss them.

I don't remember if the Chiangkang had any sediment in the bottom, but by the end of an aged Shaanxi vinegar there's usually a little (which doesn't seem to bother the flavor). Any thoughts on the primary difference between the two?

-SZ

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About a decade ago I would pick up this stuff at Fantes in Philadelphia. It was called China's Secret and it was about $15 a bottle.------It was amazing--I even used it on steak. I'm sure it was a black vinegar. Over the years I've bought bottle after bottle of black vinegar but Chekiang and its just not the same. Has anyone ever had this or heard of it and, what made China's Secret so distinctive? I haven't seen it in years. I would love to get something similar and know what to look for on the label....

Edited by saluki (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 12 years later...

Is it permissible to ask about the vinegars that the Chinese use in their pickles and preserves? Or is this a topic that you have covered in another thread? I've fallen in love with this black vinegar that I mentioned above. It has such a deep Smoky flavor and I was wondering how it is made.

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20 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

Is it permissible to ask about the vinegars that the Chinese use in their pickles and preserves? Or is this a topic that you have covered in another thread? I've fallen in love with this black vinegar that I mentioned above. It has such a deep Smoky flavor and I was wondering how it is made.

 

Actually, black vinegar is seldom used in pickles. White rice vinegar is by far the usual choice.

I, too, love the flavour of the Zhengjiang vinegar and it's smokiness.

Most black vinegar is made from a glutinous black rice. It is usually used with braised meats and fish. My friend J's husband does a wonderful chicken dish with it, but is protective of his recipe. She is going to divorce him as soon as she gets it! 😂

But most commonly, it is used for dips with dumplings etc..

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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  • 6 months later...
On 7/26/2021 at 10:52 AM, liuzhou said:

 

Actually, black vinegar is seldom used in pickles. White rice vinegar is by far the usual choice.

I, too, love the flavour of the Zhengjiang vinegar and it's smokiness.

Most black vinegar is made from a glutinous black rice. It is usually used with braised meats and fish. My friend J's husband does a wonderful chicken dish with it, but is protective of his recipe. She is going to divorce him as soon as she gets it! 😂

But most commonly, it is used for dips with dumplings etc..

 

Are you able to tell me if one of these is better to use than the other?  I'm making something that calls for black vinegar and when I went through my vinegar cupboard I found these.  I recognize that neither of these may be anyone's first choice but right now, it's all I have to work with.

20220220_140440.jpg

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6 hours ago, ElsieD said:

 

Are you able to tell me if one of these is better to use than the other?  I'm making something that calls for black vinegar and when I went through my vinegar cupboard I found these.  I recognize that neither of these may be anyone's first choice but right now, it's all I have to work with.

 

 

Of the two, I would say the Taiwanese one on the left would be the better, depending on what's in it. Does it list ingredients? They should be glutinous rice, malt, water and salt. No more!

 

The Hong Kong one on the right appears to be a sweetened vinegar. That said, I haven't tasted either. I'm just going by the information I can see on the labels.


Also, what dish you are planning might make a difference.

 

For the best, next time go for one of these (at the link below) marked Zhenjiang or Chinkiang.

 

https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=black+vinegar&crid=20ENSQU73DR9Y&sprefix=black+vinegar%2Caps%2C291&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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18 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

Of the two, I would say the Taiwanese one on the left would be the better, depending on what's in it. Does it list ingredients? They should be glutinous rice, malt, water and salt. No more!

 

The Hong Kong one on the right appears to be a sweetened vinegar. That said, I haven't tasted either. I'm just going by the information I can see on the labels.


Also, what dish you are planning might make a difference.

 

For the best, next time go for one of these (at the link below) marked Zhenjiang or Chinkiang.

 

https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=black+vinegar&crid=20ENSQU73DR9Y&sprefix=black+vinegar%2Caps%2C291&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

Thank you.  I was making a soup with fresh Ramen noodles.  I'm going to try to find the brands you recommended and pick one up.  We do have some Asian groceries so I should be able to find some now that I know what to look for.

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47 minutes ago, Tropicalsenior said:

This is my favorite. It has a wonderful Smoky flavor.

20210701_210245.thumb.jpg.ef12579e389a9cd8e4d22241ddddc95c.jpg

 

That is a Shanxi aged style vinegar. Famous for that smoky quality and second only to the Zhenjiang (Chinkiang) style. Good choice. I usually have both styles.

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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22 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

Of the two, I would say the Taiwanese one on the left would be the better, depending on what's in it. Does it list ingredients? They should be glutinous rice, malt, water and salt. No more!

 

The Hong Kong one on the right appears to be a sweetened vinegar. That said, I haven't tasted either. I'm just going by the information I can see on the labels.


Also, what dish you are planning might make a difference.

 

For the best, next time go for one of these (at the link below) marked Zhenjiang or Chinkiang.

 

https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=black+vinegar&crid=20ENSQU73DR9Y&sprefix=black+vinegar%2Caps%2C291&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

I found both of your recommended ones on the website of an Asian store.  I could not see the entire ingredient list.  Is it enough that a bottle says Chinkiang or Zhenjiang or should I also make sure that the ingredient list is the same as your list?

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3 hours ago, ElsieD said:

 

I found both of your recommended ones on the website of an Asian store.  I could not see the entire ingredient list.  Is it enough that a bottle says Chinkiang or Zhenjiang or should I also make sure that the ingredient list is the same as your list?

 

Zhenjiang or (Chinkiang)* is enough. It has to be the same as my ingredient list to be legally called Zhenjiang.

 

The Shanxi* version may include different grains other than rice, including wheat, sorgum etc. It is preferred for dips.

 

Both these vinegars come at various ages, usually 3 or 6 years. Of course, the older the better.

 

*Zhenjiang (镇江 or 鎮江 - zhèn jiāng) is the city in eastern China where the vinegar is produced. 'Chinkiang' is the old transliteration, now really only used in America.

 

* Shanxi (山西 - shān xī) is the province in northern China which produces this vinegar.

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Here are the two varieties I use, plus a bonus

 

First, Zhenjiang Vinegar.

 

871997940_zhenjiangvinegar.thumb.jpg.1d0578e6d64c86d5cc3c929d41fa3b0e.jpg

 

This is a 6-year old. It is my go-to black vinegar.

 

Then the  Shanxi version

 

628100214_ShanxiVinegar.thumb.jpg.9a6e1d36bf36999d5e6574f594652ad6.jpg

 

陈醋 (chén cù) means 'mature vinegar'. This is favourite in dips with jiaozo or wontons etc. Here we  have a three-year old version, as marked by the 3年 badge, 年 (nián) meaning 'year'.

 

Finally a third high quality black vinegar, this time from Sichuan. Baoning vinegar (保宁醋 (bǎo nìng cù) is the Sichuan cook's first choice.

 

501809222_baoningvinegar.thumb.jpg.0d608c2c704e0c79143d3ffc9b2477cf.jpg

 

I have no idea about the international availability of these particular brands. Baoning may be the hardest to find.

 

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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