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rice vinegar vs. rice wine vinegar

  • d

Are rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar the same thing? (A Google search turned up conflicting answers, so I thought I'd ask the real experts on this board.) If not, are they similar enough that I can substitute one for the other in most recipes?

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  1. i was not aware they were different things. if you are using this vinegar in asian cooking(it is a staple of japnese ckg.), it should be rice wine vinegar.

    1. They're the same. In order to make vinegar you first have to ferment the sugar in something into alcohol (i.e. make rice wine) and then ferment the alcohol into acetic acid.

      1 Reply
      1. They are exactly the same thing. There are different types, black, red and white. However don't confuse either with rice wine. This is what it says...a wine and not a vinegar. The rice vinegar is rice wine that has been turned into vinegar.

        1. The two names are used interchangeably, but there is a significant difference between "seasoned rice wine vinegar" and plain old "rice wine vinegar". The seasoned vinegar has had sugar and salt added to it.

          1. Thanks for posting this question. I've noticed a lot of recipes lately that call for Rice Wine Vinegar but cannot find it in the store. I've been using Rice Vinegar instead. Good to know I'm not missing out on anything.

            1. Rice Wine Vinegar is a true vinegar. I find the taste to be much milder than most other vinegars. As chefbeth mentioned there is a variety that is seasoned and is also known as Mirim. This is used for things like making sushi.

              9 Replies
              1. re: KaimukiMan

                I believe mirin is from the dregs of the seasoned rice wine vinegar. It is sweeter than seasoned rice wine vinegar, and slightly thicker.

                1. re: chefbeth

                  Mirin is a type of rice wine. You can make vinegar from wine but not wine from vinegar.

                  1. re: C. Hamster


                    I have had trouble finding mirim. Do you think that a medium sweet sherry could be used as a substitute? I have used dry sherry successfully in place of normal chinese rice wine. Would really appreciate some advice.

                    1. re: amatim

                      You can find mirin in any asian grocery.

                      1. re: amatim

                        Many thanks for replying so quickly. I was really surprised that my really big supermarket did not stock it. They seem to have everything else! I will look tomorrow but tonight I planned to marinade some salmon in soy, rice viniger and mirim. Do you think that ordinary rice wine will be an acceptable subsitute - the reicipe is only asking for 60ml for two salmon steaks. Does mirim really add a sweet kick in which case I will improvise? Many thanks ... A

                        1. re: amatim

                          Mirin is naturally kind of sweet but some mfr's add sugar and some even add flavoring. You could use rice wine and sugar if need be.

                          Miso would add another level of savory flavor, too.

                          1. re: amatim

                            I use mirin a lot in stir fry recipes and have found that some stores do not stock it with their other vinegar products. Mine, for example, has mirin in what they call the 'international isle'. You might want to ask the store manager.

                      2. re: chefbeth

                        Traditionally, mirin is made with sweet rice, white rice, koji, and water.

                        My understanding of the process: The regular rice is innoculated with the koji and water is added, and it sits for month, stirred daily, then strained. A lot of cooked sweet rice is added to the liquid with more koji, and the whole "mash" is aged for three more months. The koji beaks down the starch and the alcohol and sweetness result. Then it's strained. I use the mirin from Mitoku, but the Eden company makes a rice only mirin that's pretty good.

                        It's hard to find authentic mirin, but worth it. The flavor is so much deeper and more complex than the usual sweetened, relatively cheapo stuff -- although the cheap stuff is better than nothing.

                        1. re: Richard 16

                          Japanese grocery stores usually have authentic (hon) mirin, but Chinese/Vietnamese supermarkets usually carry only the cheaper aji mirin.


                    2. I am so glad you asked this. I have occasionally found bottles labeled "rice wine vinegar", but mostly only "rice vinegar". And as you note, a lot of recipes call for rice wine vinegar. I had no idea that they are the same. I was in a Japanese food market recently and they did not have rice wine vinegar - had never heard of it. Now I know why. Thank you.