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black vinegar

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What is this and where can I find it? I'm located in Toronto... downtown.

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  1. It's a traditional chinese ingredient, espec in szcheuan cooking. Very very dark in color, richer in flavor than standard clear rice vinegar. I got my large, inexpensive bottle at an asian grocery (far, far from toronto, so I can't help you with that part).

    1. A regular poster on another board that cooks a bunch of asian recommends Chinkiang Vinegar. He says its the best brand from his massive taste tests.
      -Becca

      2 Replies
      1. re: Becca Porter

        This was probably Gold Plum brand Chingkiang vinegar. It is great. My local Chinese grocery went out of business, so I now get it at Ethnic Grocer.com. It is under $2.00 per bottle.

        1. re: jmnewel

          Yeah, thats it. Sorry I forgot that part.
          -Becca

      2. A few months ago I went searching for back vinegar at Super 88 in Boston Chinatown. I thought I'd found it, but when I got the bottle home the contents tasted like vinegar mixed with Wostershire sauce - not the tangy, rich goodness I know to be the flavor of black vinegar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mhoffman

          That's Taiwanese black vinegar. I made the same mistake. Apparently it has its uses but I tossed mine. Ick.

        2. There are a few varieties; I'm most familiar with two of them. The ChinKiang/Zhengjiang black vinegars from the namesake city in Jiangsu are used extensively in the cooking around that province. (Jiangsu cooking is one of the pillars of Shanghainese cuisine.) Shanxi also has a dark vinegar of their own that's perhaps a bit more pungent; Northern Chinese seem to prefer it (well, at least my Northern Chinese friends).

          These are the more commonly available ones at least in the US, and one might see them used in restaurants that specialize in Chinese cuisines from other regions.

          I believe there's a version from Sichuan as well, which contributes to some of their traditional dishes like hot and sour soup.