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Jan 2, 2007 09:11 PM

Shaoxing wine source?

Anyone know where I can find some of this? Preferably in Ottawa? The LCBO seems clueless, and I've yet to see any wine in the local Asian grocers (surprise, eh?).

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  1. In his *Taste of Montreal*, Barry Lazar suggests that Montrealers looking for the wine head to Asia Market or Kowloon Market in Ottawa's Chinatown. Common brands are Pearl River, Pagoda, Double Happiness and Golden Star.

    1. No, I don't think the LCBO carries it, but in Toronto all the big Chinese/Asian supermarkets in Chinatown do. Dunno if Ottawa has a Chinatown but head to the biggest Asian grocery store you can think of. Mine is a dark brown bottle with a red cap and a big red label that, along with a lot of Chinese, says right on it "Shaoxing Wine", which makes it a lot easier to spot than many ingredients.

      1. Anything sold in a food market is 1.5% salt even if it is 15% alcohol. Try the LCBO Vintages lists. Otherwise, you're looking at smuggling your own ;^)

        1. Some Chinese friends and cooks who frequent NY's Chinatown have advised against the usual Shaoxing wine that you buy in most regular Asian markets and suggest only buying the good stuff (still not expensive) in a wine/liquor store in an Asian neighborhood, if available. Of course, this isn't easy for many of us. Some of these people have advised me that they'd rather use a decent Spanish sherry than the market variety of Shaoxing. Don't know if it's a fair comparison, but one of them compared it to the difference between using supermarket "Cooking Wine" and a decent wine that you would cook with.

          1 Reply
          1. re: markabauman

            Never knew you could get it in liquor stores. But I do remember it also comes in gourd-shaped earthernware jugs.

            I see a lot more Asians buying the store brand than I see non-Asians buying supermarket "cooking wine," which says something. (Does *anyone* buy that stuff, besides my great aunt?)What quality you buy may depend on what you're doing with it. Not many non-Asians drink it straight as a beverage (for which of course you'd want prime stuff). Usually in cooking it is buried in a marinade or sauce with soy sauce, sugar, other stuff. (Incidentally, the ingredients on my bottle don't include salt, just "Rice, Water & Wheat.")

          2. No problem getting Shaoxing wine at Asian markets, though I have often needed help finding it on the shelf. However, it definitely is analogous to "cooking wine" in that it contains a significant amount of salt. I believe there is a salt percentage that the LCBO specifies as making a liquor product not suitable as "beverage alcohol". This is why it is on supermarket shelves.

            I've never seen it at the LCBO and have always wondered whether this is the normal form of the product (i.e., salty) or if we are being cheated out of the real thing. I have tasted "dealcoholized" wine that is, at least, drinkable, but I have never tasted mainstream "cooking wine" that didn't make me gag. OTOH, the dishes I've cooked using the salted Shaoxing wine have tasted good, but I do wonder. Can anyone from China clarify this? Is there a place in Toronto where one can get the "good stuff"?