So, you have decided to buy a wok. Maybe a friend has raved about the simplicity, style, and flavor of these classic pans, or you want to try cooking restaurant-quality stir fry at home. You have made the right decision. Once you have your work, you’ll realize your kitchen was never complete without one.
For thousands of years, woks have been used for frying, boiling, braising, and steaming. They are a favorite among Chinese grandmothers and professional chefs alike and for good reason. Whether you’re new to wok cooking or a hobbyist looking to add to an extensive collection, a quality wok is a worthwhile investment.
Please note that not all woks are created equal. You’ll want to take some time to research the best woks for your kitchen and cooking style.
For a stylish, professional-quality option, try Dalstrong’s 12” Wok Pan, or the easy-to-clean nonstick version of the Wok Pan with Eterna® Nonstick Coating. These sturdy woks never require seasoning and conduct heat like a dream.
How to choose the best cooking woks
In traditional Chinese cooking, woks are valued for their ability to produce a unique flavor called wok hei, which is sometimes translated as “the breath of the wok.” Due to their shape and ability to conduct heat, woks are particularly well suited to creating the complex, smoky flavor of wok hei, which is achieved by browning vegetables at the perfect temperature. While it may be difficult to replicate, the wok hei is one of the perks of owning a wok and adds an extra layer of flavor and authenticity to your cooking.
Woks are commonly associated with stir-frying, the delicious Chinese cooking technique of frying vegetables or meat in small amounts of oil. Stir-fry is a popular dish around the world and is a quick, nutritious, and healthy meal that can be as easy or as complex as you like. “Stir fry” is not a direct translation, and the Chinese term refers more to tossing than stirring, as the unique rounded shape of a wok allows food to be flipped with a flick of the wrist as it cooks.
Despite their reputation as stir-fries, woks are very versatile pans. Sure, woks are great for cooking up a chicken stir fry or a batch of fried rice, but the other uses for woks are almost endless.
Put a lid on your wok, and it can be used to steam vegetables or dumplings. The unique shape means the woks are also suitable for cooking fried foods, as the sloped sides reduce the chance of boiling over and help contain hot oil splashes. Many wok connoisseurs swear that woks are perfect for popping popcorn cooked to perfection, and because of the high heat and layer of oil, the popcorn will even help season your wok.
1. What are the different types of wok?
While traditionally made from carbon steel or cast iron, modern woks come in a wide variety of metals and finishes. Now enthusiasts have the option to purchase not only traditional cast iron and carbon steel woks, but also stainless steel, aluminum, non-stick, and even electric woks. Carbon steel and cast iron are classic choices, but they do have their drawbacks.
Cast iron and carbon steel woks rust quickly and require a lot of care, attention, and maintenance. Cooking acidic foods like tomatoes or sauces that contain vinegar can stain carbon steel woks. Carbon steel is less versatile than other materials. Maintaining carbon steel woks can be challenging for home chefs, so nonstick and stainless steel woks are better alternatives.
Unlike carbon steel, stainless steel or aluminum woks are suitable for a modern kitchen. Seasoning stainless steel or aluminum cookware is optional, though many chefs still choose to do it anyway.
You don’t have to worry about drying out or rusting. Stainless steel and aluminum are much easier to clean. Dalstrong woks are also safe for the refrigerator or freezer. It can withstand the heat of an oven or grill up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
For a long time, chefs preferred carbon steel over aluminum or stainless steel because of its ability to conduct heat. While stainless steel is durable, heats up quickly, and retains heat well. Alternatively, aluminum is great at conducting heat evenly throughout the pan. But it doesn’t retain heat like stainless steel and can be less durable.
Fortunately, high-quality modern woks offer a solution to this problem. The best woks fuse stainless steel with an aluminum core to mitigate each metal’s problems and maximize its benefits. With a stainless steel and aluminum wok, you get the best of both worlds.
2. What kind of wok do the professionals use?
Cookware varies according to needs and personal choice, so different chefs will prefer different types of the wok. Carbon steel woks have been a traditional choice for professional chefs before high-quality aluminum core stainless steel woks became available. However, modern woks are beginning to gain popularity as chefs realize that newer technology can provide superior heat distribution and eliminates problems traditionally associated with carbon steel.
If you’re looking to fill your kitchen with professional-grade cookware, quality is worth paying for. The good wok will last you a lifetime. Add some professional culinary tools to your collection, like the titanium tongs that help you handle delicate foods while cooking, and you’ll be whipping up crispy tempura and savory stir-fries like a pro.
3. How do I choose a good Chinese wok?
Cast iron or carbon steel woks traditionally used for Chinese cooking have rounded bottoms with handles on each side. They were great for the kitchens of ancient China, where stoves had curved burners that held rounded bottoms upright, there was no nonstick coating, and no one had to worry about whether or not their pans were dishwasher safe. However, modern chefs in modern Western kitchens have different needs.
Since traditional round-bottomed woks are incompatible with modern gas and electric stovetops, you’ll need to retrofit your stovetop with a wok ring if you opt for a round-bottomed wok. While wok rings are inexpensive and readily available online, careful research is required to find a wok ring that fits your stove, and they can be a hassle to use. Round bottom woks also require special wok spatulas to fit the curved bottoms of the pans.
Alternatively, you can check out the wide variety of modern flat-bottom wok pans available. With a flat bottom wok, you won’t have to buy a wok ring or worry that your pan won’t be compatible with induction hobs or your gas stove, and you can use your favorite spatula, too. Plus, stainless steel nonstick woks offer alternatives to finicky carbon steel and cast iron.
4. Which type of non-stick wok is best?
When shopping for nonstick cookware, you’ll always want to look for options that are PFOA and APEO-free. Nonstick coatings that contain PFOA and APEO tend to deteriorate over time and leach chemicals into food. These chemicals can potentially cause harm not only to your body but to the environment as well. Fortunately, new technology means you can find nonstick options that are PFOA- and APEO-free and work better than ever.
Eterna® Nonstick Coating is one of those options. In the industry-standard dry egg test, Eterna® lasted 26 times longer than competitive brands and 10 times longer than premium options. It is always worth investing in high-quality nonstick cookware for the sake of your health and well-being. Plus, you never have to worry about seasoning your pans!
5. What is the best quality wok?
Taking into account the wide range of woks available on the internet, the best wok will always be the one that best suits your cooking style and needs. Remember: when you opt for a stainless steel wok, the best woks have aluminum cores to ensure even heat distribution.
The combination of steel and aluminum will heat your food quickly, evenly, and easily. The woks listed below are excellent, sturdy, and versatile options that require no seasoning, retain heat well, and are easy to clean—perfect for the modern kitchen.
Both woks feature a dual-handle design, making it easy to handle the hot pan in the kitchen. These woks are the height of style and luxury, with a mirror-like shine and strong 2.5mm stainless steel coating that will make them a stylish and eye-catching addition to your cookware collection. These woks are built to last, and if they don’t, Dalstrong will honor a lifetime warranty against defects.
The 12” diameter means these woks are perfect for frying or cooking large amounts of food at once, and the flat bottom allows the wok to rest firmly on the stovetop. Pop into an apron, chop up some veggies with your favorite knife, and get cooking. You’ll have food for the whole family in no time.
A. Wok Pan 12” ETERNA Nonstick 12”
The ultimate wok for someone who loves to cook but hates a mess, the Eterna® Nonstick Wok Pan from Dalstrong’s Oberon Series makes cleanup easy and hassle-free. Not only is Eterna® Nonstick Coating safer than PFOA and APEO Coatings, but it’s also designed to last. The 35-micron thick coating means the wok will retain its non-stick properties for years longer than competitive non-stick pans.
Unlike carbon steel or cast iron skillets, you’ll never have to worry about seasoning this pan or scrubbing up tough messes. The durable nonstick coating can easily handle acidic foods that would damage a carbon steel or cast iron wok. It’s the perfect skillet for families or anyone who likes to cook a simple, quick, and stress-free stir fry.
The wok comes with a tempered glass wok lid, which helps contain heat and splatter. This wok combines the practicality of nonstick cookware with the Oberon series’ signature aluminum core and stainless steel liner.
B. 12 ”Wok Carton
The Oberon Series Dalstrong 12” Wok Pan is an excellent choice for the experienced chef looking for a sturdy and versatile pan. The aluminum core helps conduct heat so beef, chicken, or vegetables cook evenly, while the stainless steel liner keeps the wok safe from dents and lets you cook whatever you want without worrying about the wok. rust or stains.
While stainless steel is much tougher and requires much less diligent seasoning and maintenance than carbon steel or cast iron, many chefs still like to season it to make their pans more slippery.
Some more experienced chefs may prefer this pan to the nonstick option due to the level of control that seasoning their stainless steel cookware gives them. It’s also the best choice if you’re interested in cooking delicate dishes that require searing or browning.
A vented tempered glass lid is perfect for popping popcorn, cooking casseroles, or steaming vegetables. Take a look at the Dalstrong wok pan if you’re interested in beautifully crafted, stylish cookware that’s guaranteed to last.
While cast iron and carbon steel woks may appeal to traditionalists, modern technology and engineering provide a wider range of options and continue to improve upon the old design.
From families to students to professional chefs, anyone who spends time in a kitchen can benefit from a high-quality wok. Whether you’re interested in sauteing a quick dinner for your kids or searing a succulent steak, you’ll no doubt find yourself cooking with your wok for years to come.