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Nov 16, 2009 03:28 PM

desperately seeking cast iron wok

well, I'm not sure how desperately, but everything I've seen both in Japantown and out in the Richmond are super light, thin aluminum.
can anybody recommend a place where I will be sure to find a cast iron wok?

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  1. The Wok Shop

    Wok Shop
    718 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA

    1 Reply
    1. Maybe this thread on the topic helps.

      In the last month, i've seen them at either Ranch 99 or Marina Foods.

      Marina Food
      2992 S Norfolk St, San Mateo, CA 94403

      1. yes, i've checked out the wok shop website and i am looking for a thick, heavy cast iron wok. I know they exist, as I had gotten one in NY chinatown. all the of the cast iron woks i've seen are super thin and light (defeats the purpose of cast iron). the thick, heavy material may not be a traditional chinese design, but one that I prefer nonetheless.

        9 Replies
        1. re: trepverter

          I haven't seen one of those in years. Lodge makes one.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Lodge may be the best around (as far as cast-iron quality for the price). However, I have not been able to find a round-bottomed cast-iron wok yet (Lodge's, like most sold in the bay, are flat bottomed to rest on the burner, not round with a ring to go over the burner).

            1. re: pockyjunkie

              Traditional lightweight cast-iron woks like those at the Wok Shop have round bottoms:


              Are there American-style thick, heavy cast-iron woks with round bottoms? I've never seen one.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                The Lodge Pro Logic has a rounded interior with a flat bottom for use on different burners.

                1. re: wolfe

                  Not into the flat bottom as it's harder to make the rolling/flipping motion to 'stir the pot'.

                  Robert, the Wok Shop woks - do they have a ring to go underneath? The ring really helps with heat convection for gas cooking and, of course, stability.

                  I can't imagine there are American-style cast iron woks with round bottoms because it'd be very heavy to lift, almost impossible to flip with.

                  1. re: pockyjunkie

                    The Wok Shop has a wide selection of accessories including rings, scoops, striners, brushes, and lids,

          2. re: trepverter

            In SF Chinatown, Try Ginn Wall on Grant Ave between Jackson and Pacific. I have seen iron woks there in the past.

            1. re: trepverter

              I think you are confusing carbon steel for aluminum and cast iron. In general, cast iron woks have a flat bottom, because they are intended to be used on weak-flamed cook tops that don't put out enough heat to keep carbon steel up to temperature. A flat bottomed wok will capture the anemic heat of the average burner more efficiently, and then the cast iron allows it to retain heat while you cook a small amount of food, then reheat before the next batch.

              How thick are you looking for? My lodge cast iron pans are less than 1/4" thick, and they look similar to the cast iron woks at the wok shop.

              1. re: SteveG

                There are two kinds of cast iron woks. The traditional ones from China the Wok Shop sells are very thin and light, like carbon and stainless steel woks, and heat and cool off very quickly.

                The modern American ones are thick, like skillets and dutch ovens. Shipping weight for the 14" Lodge is 10 lbs.

            2. Nice wok if you can get it.

              1. I'm not sure you will have much success finding cast iron woks. While I remember seeing a few, they are not too practical. Tossing food in a cast iron wok can be arm-breaking. There are sevee\ral reasons for a carbon steel wok, not the least is lightness. The thinness of the steel permits the charring so essential to Chinese cooking. I don't think I've ever seen a serious wok made from aluminum.

                5 Replies
                1. re: OldTimer

                  This thread piqued my interest. I've spent 25 years in and around Chinese restaurants, and I've seen *all* kinds of cookware, but *never* a cast-iron wok. The finest are steels of various sorts. One old chef who works for me has a hand-hammered wok and I can't figure out what kind of metal it's made out of.

                  It's cool to know that Lodge makes/made one, and that there are others out there. I'm always looking for cool ways to finish foods in the restaurant, and, if only to finish gua tieh (pot stickers), I'd be game to play around with the cast iron.

                  I'd love it if anyone who finds/cooks with one of these relates their experiences on this or another thread...

                  1. re: shaogo

                    I really think the only purpose of a thick cast iron wok is to allow high temperature cooking on a weak burner. If you have a restaurant-grade burner, there will be no benefit.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        My two round-bottomed woks have rings, are fairly thin, and rust if I don't dry them immediately. what are they made of? Isn't that carbon steel?