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Oct 10, 2003 05:50 PM

What is alkaline water and where can I get it?

  • c

I'm trying to make some Malaysian and Chinese desserts and dumplings, and the recipes call for "alkaline water" or "kan sui" (cantonese). What is this, what does it look like, and where can I get it (in the Bay Area, if possible)?


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  1. How about adding some baking soda to tap water? Wouldn't that work?

    1. It's a potassium carbonate solution, and used in place of baking soda. It's said to add color and texture to pastry or dumpling wrappers. I'd be surprised if you COULDN'T find it in Chinatown, though I have no idea what to look for.

      1. I could be wrong, but isn't alkaline water what people on the East-coast complain about when they say, "You can't get any good bread West of the Mississippi, The water's too alkaline"?

        Just asking,


        1. Found it in Chinatown! It's a specific solution that's advertised for use in "refreshing dried squid"! The lady at the counter told me you can use it to make jian shui zhang (mandarin) or "alkaline water dumplings".

          I'm sure you can make an equivalent using baking soda and water, but I don't know what the correct proportions would be.

          Check out the recipe below, which uses alkaline water. It's a classic hawker dish in Malaysia.