I've Finally Found a Wok My Chinese Grandma Approves of, and It Changed the Way I Cook
Jul 07, 2023
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After using it for a year, I couldn't recommend it enough.
Food & Wine / Tyler Roeland
Growing up, I quickly learned that my Chinese grandma expressed her love with food. There was a language barrier between us, but the second I stepped into her house, she was pushing White Rabbit Creamy Candy, Jin Jin Jelly Cups, and trays of baos onto her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. In her mind, full bellies meant full hearts.
When I moved out on my own and began to cook more regularly, I always found myself drawn to Chinese recipes. I began to use ingredients and tools my grandma used. But there was one tool I always avoided: A wok.
I'm not sure why, but I always thought a nonstick pan was good enough. However, after using this wok for a year, my food has not only tasted better, but I've never felt more connected to my grandma and my Chinese-American identity. I couldn't recommend it enough (and my grandma approves, too).
To buy: Yosukata Carbon Steel Wok, $61 (originally $70) at amazon.com
At a young age, I learned that making a good Chinese meal was all about cooking things fast and easy. This wok helps me do just that. Its impressive specs include a lightweight feel (it's under 3 pounds, which is great considering the carbon steel construction) and 3.5-inches of depth, which helps for an even cooking space. It also boasts a pre-seasoned interior that can be used on a variety of cooktops.
It's available in two sizes (11.8-inches or 13.5-inches), but I have the smaller one since I live in an apartment. At nearly 12-inches, it's large enough for quick weeknight meals like vegetable stir fry, but it doesn't take up too much space, either. I also really like the welded handed base which, if you’re particularly talented, is great for flipping pork fried rice. I’m not quite there yet, but I definitely appreciate the ergonomic design of the handle, especially if I’m using chopsticks to move steamed dumplings around.
It has even made a difference in more prep-heavy Asian dishes like pad thai, which requires a lot of slicing and chopping of vegetables. This wok manages to soften both raw and frozen vegetables in the blink of an eye, while add-ins like chicken, shrimp, and pork — some of my favorite proteins in noodle-based meals — receive a quick and level sautée with very minimal effort. In fact, you definitely don't have to be a seasoned wok-user to reap the luxuries of this pan since the sturdy handle and deep-set bottom do most of the work for you.
It's not just me who loves it, this kitchen essential has over 2,000 five-star ratings from Amazon shoppers. One shopper described it as "everything they wanted from a wok," and I definitely agree. I love that I never have to wait too long for frozen vegetables to cook, and I can't help but notice a big difference in the way proteins sear up.
I never thought that using a specific piece of kitchen equipment could make me feel more connected to my Asian culture. However, when I cook with this wok, it instantly reminds me of spending Lunar New Year at my grandparents' house and watching my grandma cook an incredible traditional dinner.
From its affordable price point to the durable design that's a breeze to clean, I love cooking with this wok, especially since it makes it that much easier to whip up meals my grandma affectionately cooked for us. For just $61, that's a small price to pay.
At the time of publishing, the price was $61.
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