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hzrt8w

hzrt8w's wok and burner shopping project

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If yoy lay one wok on top of another, both woks shouldnt take up significantly more storage space than a single 16".

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I had to laugh when I saw Chris's mention of a post by "project". :blink:

Those of us on this forum may remember his "dumpling post"! The BTU was similar. MY brain is once again twisted up like a Chinese fortune cookie AND pretzel together! :wink:  :wacko:  :laugh:  :laugh:

i loved project's posts. they made me laugh, and were totally awesome. where did he go, anyway?

also, i agree with everyone here--both woks wouldn't take up that much more space than just the one...


Edited by mrbigjas (log)

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Send a copy of this thread to Storekeeper #1 so that he will know the negative impact his attitude is giving. And tell him to give a raise to storekeeper #2 as she is the reason you (a potential customer) stayed.

I like the idea of showing what a seasoned wok looks like.

Did they have woks with a wooden handle and a METAL ear on the other side? Do the ones with the wooden handles wiggle? I like the immovability of the solid metal.

I stack my woks, too. The 12'' (flat and round) upside down on each other, and the same with the 14"er flat and round bottoms. They are right over the stove for easy access. (I am tall) And an 18" hangs on a wall.

For about a year I had my cast iron wok upside down on top of one of the stacks. When I've used it, I've replaced it back on the pile. But last week, I didn't balance it correctly, I guess, as it came tumbling down, knocking over a large teflon wok in which I was boiling a pile of potatoes for salad. The boiling water went flying and the heaviness of the iron wok DENTED the heavy teflon one. Thank goodness I wasn't in the kitchen -- but what a BANG (and mess)! So-- stack, but stack carefully if you get both woks!

BTW -- your pictorial visit to the WOK STORE was great --- as far as it went. Too bad the storekeeper didn't realize that you were giving him some publicity.

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Did they have woks with a wooden handle and a METAL ear on the other side?  Do the ones with the wooden handles wiggle?  I like the immovability of the solid metal.

Excellent point. My wok has a wooden handle that definitely wiggles when I use it. I pray to the kitchen gods that it won't break off while in the middle of a stir-fry!

My wok is also without a helper handle (or ear, as you're calling it). It certainly would have come in handy (no pun intended).

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Storekeeper#1 kept looking out the door, and kept greeting the tourists who walked in the door and saying thank-you to those were going out.  And this 40-some year old Chinese who speaks her own language was completely ignored.  Oh... I immediately knew what that implied.  I didn't fit the profile of their typical customer!

So much for citing a celebrity status on eGullet and getting some keen advice.  I should have asked eje to come with me to this store.  Then perhaps I would get storekeeper#1 to talk to me.

I don't know that bringing along a 40 something caucasian would have helped...

:raz:

...though, I certainly would have enjoyed meeting you!

It's too bad your experience was bad. I've never heard anything but good things about the wok shop. Not letting you take pictures in the store is just strange.

-Erik

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I have two 14" inch carbon steel woks. They both have one ear and a wooden handle. Not sure what kind of wooden handle the rest of you have, but mine screw onto a steel bracket that is welded onto the wok. There is a "loop" that I use to hang onto a hook over my stove. The handles never wiggle.

Both of my woks hang over my stove with the rest of the pots I use the most often. My larger woks are stored in the garage. I find the 14" is sufficient for all my cooking, even for a crowd.

I must confess I DO use soap for washing my woks. I soap with a soft plastic scrubbie, rinse, wipe dry, then wipe down with oil on a paper towel. Maybe they are not as "seasoned" as what you all try to achieve, but there's been no complaints about my food. My family and friends know enough to "never look a gift horse in the mouth!" :raz::laugh::laugh:

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So much for citing a celebrity status on eGullet and getting some keen advice.  I should have asked eje to come with me to this store.  Then perhaps I would get storekeeper#1 to talk to me.

A bossy Chinese mother-in-law can come in very handy in these types of situations! :biggrin:


Edited by sheetz (log)

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Meanwhile, I do hope that you'll write a note to the folks at the Wok Shop about your bad encounter. From my reading about the people who run the place, I think they'd want to know about your experience.

I don't know if this would make any difference. Like I said, storekeeper#1 looked like a manager, or perhaps even the owner of the place from the way she talked to other workers in the store.

I was really in shock that an owner/manager class would treat prospects the way she did.

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From the last episode:

hzrt8w was standing inside "The Wok Shop" in San Francisco in a rainy Saturday afternoon. Through the process of elimination, he had only one choice to make to purchase his first wok:

14-inch or 16-inch?

The 14-inch is lighter, while the 16-inch can accommodate more ingredients.

14-inch or 16-inch?

His heart was torn. And he had to think on his feet. Or else this 90-mile drive would be a waste. Which one?

====================================================

I stood there for a minute, contemplating. It did occur to me that I could buy both. However, they are sufficiently similar. Buying both may be a bit of a waste. How do I decide?

Well... think about it this way: I can always cook fewer ingredients on a larger wok, but not the other way around. I would rather have a large enough wok to fry a fonder than not having enough room. 16-inch wok: US$24.95. 14-inch wok: US$16.95. The price difference is... Wait a minute, how far did you drive to get out here? 90 miles? How much is a gallon of gas? $3.00? And how much did you pay for the parking meter to come to this shop? ...

No more thought on the price difference. And I am sure this won't be the only wok I would buy in my life.

I proceeded to ask storekeeper#2 to bag the 16-inch carbon steel wok for me. While I was at it, I also picked up a few wok accessories. I even picked up a bone-chopping cleaver! :raz:

Here are what I bought:

gallery_19795_2734_254.jpg

The 16-inch carbon steel wok sitting on my stove over a wok-ring.

gallery_19795_2734_14616.jpg

I bought a wok-lid, in case I need to cook with the lid on. However, I don't plan to use my wok for steaming. I have a steamer for that. I am afraid using a wok for steaming repeatedly may degrade the seasoning (the oil sheen) on the wok.

gallery_19795_2734_2564.jpg

I also picked up a bamboo wok brush to wash the wok with. This is very handy.

gallery_19795_2734_1239.jpg

I also bought a 10-inch colander. It would be used for scooping up meat from a frying wok. This size would work well with my wok.

Having bought a few items from The Wok Shop, they gave me a complimentary set of long chopsticks (for picking up items during frying) and a wooden spoon for scooping rice. How nice! :smile:

Now having selected my wok, the next step is to season it. This will be my weekend project. I need to re-read some of the old posts from Ben Sook on wok seasoning, and re-read the section on wok seasoning from "The Breath of a Wok".

Storekeeper#2 handed me a pamphlet that provides instructions on how to season a wok. She suggested me to use the oven to bake the wok to season instead of burning it over fire (with oil smeared on the wok using either method, of course). Baking at 400F in the oven will season the wok more evenly than burning. Seems to make sense.

Hmmmm? Another decision to make: How to season my wok?

Bake? Or burn?

Okay, American Idol fans: what's your vote?

For: I should bake, dial: 1 866 436 5701

For: I should burn, dial: 1 866 436 5702

(To be continued)


Edited by hzrt8w (log)

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Baking works well but I think you would have to remove the wooden handles first.

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Baking works well but I think you would have to remove the wooden handles first.

Yes. That's what they told me. The straight wooden handle can be twisted off. However, the wooden "helper handle" cannot be taken off. They said just wrap it with wet towels and then wrap the towels with aluminum foils. Bake for 20 minutes a time. Re-smear the oil on the wok (and cool the wet towel with cold water, re-wrap it). Bake again. Repeat the baking process 3 times.

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I also prefer to use lard as the seasoning fat as I feel it coats the metal better than cooking oil does.

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I also prefer to use lard as the seasoning fat as I feel it coats the metal better than cooking oil does.

I agree animal fat is far superior to vegetable oils for wok seasoning.

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I must confess I DO use soap for washing my woks. I soap with a soft plastic scrubbie, rinse, wipe dry, then wipe down with oil on a paper towel. Maybe they are not as "seasoned" as what you all try to achieve, but there's been no complaints about my food. My family and friends know enough to "never look a gift horse in the mouth!" :raz:  :laugh:  :laugh:

I do too, but I use a wok brush instead of a plastic scrubbie.

Ah Leung, I tried “1-866 436 5701” (bake), but it didn’t work. :laugh:

So I think you should bake. I inherited my wok from my sister, so it was already somewhat seasoned, but when I got new cast iron skillet, I read that baking is better for the reasons stated previously. As for animal fat, I don’t usually have it around the house, but just out of curiosity, won’t lard leave a little residual flavor? Not that it’s a bad thing.

I'll have to also get Grace Wong's book so I can learn more.

edited to add: P.S. Not that I'm not learning anything here.


Edited by I_call_the_duck (log)

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Does anyone dare try those numbers?

I've only used the burn method so can't compare, but the top of the stove seems easier. (to lazy me)

About the wok rim --- I see you have the wok sitting on the smaller opening, so that it sits higher over the heat. If you invert it, so that the wok sits on the wider opening, the wok will be closer to the heat source -- if you want hot heat. The smaller opening is good when you want a lower heat. Some cook-book authors have mentioned this, but one says to use the wider opening on an electric stove.

Any thoughts on this anyone?

I have several wok rims and don't use any of them. The grates that my stove uses over the burners are slightly concave if I turn them over. So the wok sits nice and close to the flame. Check yours.

The bamboo brush I have now sits gathering dust. I've used it, but now I just use my plastic Tuffy mesh thingie. I get better pressure on tough spots with it.

Any pictures of the cleaver?

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Congratulations! My precious, 15 year old wok is also carbon steel. My brother actually seasoned it for me and gave it to me as a present. (I'm thinking he did it on the stove instead of baking it, being a Chinese chef.)

I also use a plastic scrubber thing, and sometimes a copper one, which I find I can use more pressure with than the bamboo brush.

I have several wok rims and don't use any of them.

I use mine only when steaming or making soup. I've learned to compensate even when using my round-bottomed wok on an electric burner.

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...

I have several wok rims and don't use any of them.  The grates that my stove uses over the burners are slightly concave if I turn them over. So the wok sits nice and close to the flame. Check yours.

...

Both the burners on my stove on either side sit in a single fairly deep trough, so I can't really use a wok ring. I do wish I had a wok ring that fit over the burners properly and securely. For better or for worse, I just balance my wok on top of the stove grate.

I've got a similar spun carbon steel wok of the same size that hzrt8w just purchased. You do have to watch the long handle. I always check to make sure that it is tightened before I start cooking.

Since it's the hottest thing I've got, my next goal is to try stir frying over lump mesquite on the charcoal grill. Of course, the danger is, I might burn the wooden handles right off my wok, if I'm not careful.

I've never heard of baking a wok to season and have always just used the vegetable (usually peanut) oil I cook with. I do bake my cast iron pans to season them, though. I guess it is more of an unattended process.

edit - typo


Edited by eje (log)

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I've tried inverting my wok rim, but it wobbles just as much as if I weren't using it, so I have to take the middle grate (really unnecessary) off my stove if the wok is to rest properly. I tried not using it, but I'm too uncoordinated to cook without it.

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Those of you who use the wok rims, I assume have gas stoves. I have only had electric stoves in my homes, so the flat bottom woks are what I have used in direct contact with the element.

As for seasoning, I have baked and nearly burnt the "ear" of one wok as I didn't think to wrap and wet! :sad: It survived tho'.

The other wok, I just used it for deep frying for the first while, and it seemed to do the seasoning job. Nothing sticks!

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Ohh, I'm glad I caught this thread. I'm looking foward to more pictures post seasoning. :D

Actually, my parents are in the market for a new wok. We have a 14" cast iron cantonese wok with the tiny metal handles. We're thinking of upgrading to a 16 incher. We don't do the pow action, so there would be no loss between carbon steel and cast iron.

The most important thing is the wok hei. Which imparts more? Cast Iron or Carbon Steel? Upkeep isn't really important when the wok is used two, sometimes three times daily.

The carbon steel wok does look a lot more rounded. A wok shovel wouldn't work so well, eh?

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Here is a different style wok ring.

However you can also go to a metal shop - take the wok along - and have one made of iron that has just 3 legs so it will rest steady on the cooktop. It is just a ring with 3 legs welded onto the bottom of the ring and they will make it at the height you want so the wok is at the correct height from the burner.

It would look similar to this one made for the DCS range only with three legs instead of 4, but you can have 4 legs if you want.

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The carbon steel wok does look a lot more rounded. A wok shovel wouldn't work so well, eh?

I always use a wok shovel (wok chahn) for stir-frying, and tongs when I need to separate noodles, etc.

That colander looks huge, tho', Ah Leung! :unsure:

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wonderbread:

How much does your cast iron wok weigh? Is it as heavy as a 10 inch cast iron fry pan?

Ah Leung:

I wondered about the burners you showed in your posts. To me, they also looked like the replacement burners for my "wok tables"  :unsure:

Nope, not as heavy as an American cast iron. I also at one point had the single-handled, round-bottom wok made of the same material, and I could shake and toss the ingredients inside.

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