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Apr 19, 2009 05:32 PM

Need advice on rice wine

The local liquor store (LCBO Canadian government bootleggers :-)) cannot get Shaoxing Rice Wine but they can get Glutinous Rice wine. Is there any similarity? Is it the same? Is it a good substitute? I would hate to order it in (have to buy a case) and find it is NFG. I have been using a medium sherry.
Google tells me what glutinous rice wine is, but not how it relates to Shaoxing.

Moderators...please do not move this thread to Wine. I use this wine for cooking, not drinking.

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  1. What do you intend on using the Shaoxing Rice wine for?

    I've always understood that Shaoxing wine to be glutinous rice wine but branded "Shaoxing" because of -- for lack of a better word -- terroir.

    Chinese rice wine is generally a relatively low alcohol content that is made from fermented glutinous rice or millet, then aged for ten years or more. The best and most famous rice wines have come from Shaoxing in the Zheijang province.

    With that said, I don't see why -- as a matter of theory -- why generic glutinous rice wine could not be a substitute for Shaoxing wine. But because distributors and manufacturers will offer different glutinous rice wines -- e.g. alcohol content, sugar levels, salt, etc. -- you should taste before buying, or cooking, if at all possible.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Thanks for that. I cannot taste before using because I have to special order a case. It will be used in Chinese cooking.

      1. re: billieboy

        Have you tried ordering Shaoxing wine over the web? Or is that forbidden by the Canadian government?

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Absolutely verbotten ..I think I will just stick with Sherry. Has been ok. If I don't know the difference, I guess I'll be happy :-)

    2. Have you tried getting it in your local Asian supermarket? That's where I always buy mine - I doubt that an off-license (liquor store) would stock it.

      6 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        My little town of 3000 does not have an Asian supermarket. We are damned lucky to be able to get soy sauce :-)

        1. re: billieboy

          I also live in a small town with limited asian supplies in the grocery store. However, my shelves are stocked with just about everything asian imaginable from on-line stores. My favorites are and When I am in the "city" I shop at the big markets, but I manage to stay stocked with essentials all year long. A case of rice wine would last me a life time.

          1. re: Jane917

            I have no trouble getting Chinese ingredients because both my daughters live in Toronto and keep me well supplied. It is just the rice wine I can't get. The Ontario Gov. has the monopoly on liquor and the only rice wine they have is called Glutinous Rice Wine. My local store does not carry it and I would have to special order it. I just wanted to know if it is anything like Shaoxing wine. Google doesn't seem to know.

            1. re: billieboy

              I use the cooking wine available on the shelf at the local Asian market. It is salty but if I don't want the salt then I sub dry sherry. I'm from Alberta.

              Why don't you get your daughters to get the cooking wine where they buy the other ingredients?

              1. re: sharonanne

                I don't want the salted version. Soy sauce is salty enough without adding more. I will just stick to sherry.

                1. re: billieboy

                  Yeah, I went through this whole thing a while ago. On this board someone asked if Chinese cooking wine was the same as other wine where the stuff used to make cooking wine is inferior even before the salt is added. No one ever seemed to be able to answer that question. I had a good look at the selection of cooking wines at T&T and there is quite a variation in price as well as in color. I chose a more expensive darker cookiing wine and use it as mentioned. It really does taste like dry sherry with salt added.

                  That said, I have plans the next time I am in a US city with a good-sized Chinatown to seek out unsalted chinese wine just to find out for myself.