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Dec 1, 2009 07:45 PM

Where can I buy Shaoxing cooking wine?

I can't find it anywhere. Is it a behind the counter thing at asian grocery stores or what?

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  1. Since the SAQ doesn't import it, it can't be sold legally in Quebec. Incredible but true.

    According to Barry Lazar, it can be had under the counter in some local Chinese stores. Otherwise, head to Ottawa's Chinatown. See

    7 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      I didn't check Bary Lazar's story, but I bet it's pretty old, because Shaoxing wine and Japanese cooking wines have been available at Asian groceries for a few years, now.

      Pretty much all Asian places have Shoaxing cooking wine. I recently got some at the store on Clark in Chinatown and previously bought it at Epicerie Coréenne et Japonaise on Sherbrooke in NDG. A 640ml bottle of Shaoxing cooking wine goes for about $3.

      1. re: SnackHappy

        Really? I'll have to check it out. Wonder when this changed. Thanks. My Toronto folks will be happy if they can stop schlepping bottles for me, though they're too sweet to ever have complained. ;-)

        1. re: SnackHappy

          Really?! I usually keep an eye peeled for it -- most recently at the Brossard Kim Phat -- and haven't seen any. And if the Épicerie Coréenne et Japonaise on Ste-Catherine West stocks it, it's escaped my attention. Anyway, great news if we can now buy it. Will scour the next Asian food store I'm at.

          1. re: carswell

            "And if the Épicerie Coréenne et Japonaise on Ste-Catherine West stocks it, it's escaped my attention"

            I was talking about the one Sherbrooke West. I don't know if they have it at the store on Ste-Catherine which is actually called Marché Oriental.

            1. re: SnackHappy

              <I was talking about the one Sherbrooke West.>

              So I understood.

              <which is actually called Marché Oriental.>

              Yeahbut the sign says Épicerie Coréenne et Japonaise and nobody I know calls it Marché Oriental. Confusing, eh?

              1. re: carswell

                To add to the confusion, turns out it's called Jang Teu although it also goes by Jangte.


                I just call it "That place next to Maison Bulgogi".

                1. re: SnackHappy

                  To make it even more confusing, I think in Jang Teu's case "Marché Oriental" is simply descriptive wording on their sign (like "Épicerie Coréenne et Japonaise") with their actual name written in Korean only. There is an actual place called "Marché Oriental" on St-Denis south of Jean-Talon, which is an excellent Viet/Thai/Asian supermarket. Also, Jang Teu has two stores, the other being on Décarie south of Sherbrooke. So "the place next to Bulgogi House" probably works best. Confusing!!

                  Bulgogi House Restaurant
                  2127 Rue Sainte-Catherine W, Montreal, QC H3H1M6, CA

      2. Wow that is truly sad. I was wondering why I couldn't find it anywhere. Guess I'll have to wait until my next trip to Toronto, substitute it with Sherry or find a grocery store that'll sell it in a brown paper bag :D

        1 Reply
        1. re: Evilbanana11

          Yup. It's weird. I went on the same fruitless quest a number of years ago. Now my friends and family trek bottles back from Toronto for me.

        2. I haven't seen it in town - however, it's possible that they're allowing the salted version to be sold (which isn't really drinkable, but also not much better for use in cooking IMHO). I gave up schlepping it back from Ontario or the US a few years back, and started using Hakutsuru sake instead - works just fine as a substitute.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cherylmtl

            I have two bottles bought at the Asian store on Sherbrooke across Akhaven--- it is spelled Shao Hsing Cooking Wine near the soy sauce

            1. re: blondee_47

              Do the ingredients include salt? Because there are two versions of many of these cooking wines - one with salt, and one without.

              1. re: cherylmtl

                Shaoxing cooking wine is salted (1.5%). Otherwise, it could not be sold in grocery stores.

          2. saw the wine in person at Marché Inter Asia, 4335 wellington, 514-768-9888
            (dark caramel colour)

            bought the tri-star version (colourless)
            same price , same salt content but different alchol content

            so what would the Shaoxing used for specifically, as it would impart the colour into the recipe

            7 Replies
            1. re: divya

              We've moved a number of posts about Shaoxing wine in general to the General Chowhounding Topics board - you can follow the discussion here:


              1. re: divya

                Yay! Thanks for the tip, divya. I had no luck at Jang Teu or Hawaï but just picked up a couple bottles from Inter Asia on Wellington in Verdun. They have the amber Pagoda Brand salted Shao Xing cooking wine (640 ml bottle, alc. 18%, salt 2%) for $2.79 as well as clear Tri-Star salted cooking sauce (cooking liquor) (600 ml bottle, alc. 18%, salt 1.5%) for $1.99. They're right out on the bottom shelf in the centre of the store, no need for cloak-and-dagger, brown bag spy intrigues. I had only been able to find Shirakiku brand Cooking Sake before (which is totally different) so you saved me a trip to Ottawa or Toronto!

                1. re: noom1

                  Funny this thread came up, i was just watching Masterchef Australia, and they were showing a recipe with the ShaoXing wine! It was a boiled chicken in ShaoXing and Japanese mirin. Out of curiosity, does anyone know if this dish is the same as the drunken chicken sold at some Chinese restaurants?

                  1. re: saltnpepperwhat

                    Yes, Drunken Chicken is a very popular dish made by marinating the chicken in Shaoxing wine. Per Wikipedia (, there is also drunken shrimp, drunken gizzard, drunken fish, drunken crab, drunken liver, drunken tofu, drunken chicken feet... and Mao Zedong's favourite dish was drunken pork belly, which he considered "brain food".

                  2. re: noom1

                    Selling it with salt content makes it cooking wine - nothing cloak and dagger about it. You won't be able to find the unsalted (hence, drinkable) version anywhere, though AFAIK.

                    1. re: cherylmtl

                      As of a month or so, the unsalted version can be found in Montreal. I'm not saying where. Sorry folks.

                      1. re: unburnt

                        Then why bother mentioning it at all? ;-)

                2. Not sure if it's OK to reply to this post now that the topic has been split off, but you can definitely secure it at the Dragon supermarche on Fort between Maisonneuve and St Catherine, directly across the street form PA Supermarket. And yes, it is literally a "behind the counter" item. Just ask confidently for it at the front cashier and it will magically appear from below. It won't hurt to practice your pronunciation first so they know you know what you're asking for ;)

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: wokhei

                    Posts that deal with where to find Shaoxing wine in Quebec are still appropriate for this thread.

                    1. re: wokhei

                      WOOO thx a lot. I frequent that PA multiple times a week and know exactly where that store is.

                      1. re: wokhei

                        Thanks much wokhei (cool handle---have you read ?) Is the Shaoxing at Dragon salted or unsalted?

                        1. re: unburnt

                          @unburnt- thanks! Love that book dearly- the gorgeous wok featured on the cover and the story that went with it inspired me to hunt around shanghai while I was there for something similar.

                          In the magical way she described in the book, I followed the "ting ting ting" of metal being hammered in small industrialized neighbourhood, rounding a corner to see the exact same two brothers fashioning their woks by hand! I'll never forget it. I bought two- the first is the best piece of cookware I've ever owned, and the second is packed away for an heirloom ;)

                          The wine does list salt as an ingredient- "alchohol 16%, salt 1.5%" The only place I ever found the unsalted drinking wine was directly from a wonderful old man named Mr Poon who taught a chinese cooking class from the kitchen of where Niu Kee no stands on Clark. He had crates of it, and would let us take it home for $3 a bottle!

                          I would kill to be able to take that course again- he would demonstrate each dish, which we then ate, followed by replicating it ourselves and setting it aside to take home- 3 separate dishes (the first week was lobster) for $30! He had worked in Chinatown he said for 50 years and had an encyclopedic knowledge of recipes. The four of us in the class dictated all the menu choices for the following session. I called to confirm one week and a small voice said "Mr Poon is no" and hung up. That was the last I heard of him. Anyone have any insights into Chinese cooking courses locally?

                          *****apologies for the rambling anecdotes******

                          1. re: wokhei

                            That's a good story, better than mine: I went to San Francisco's Wok Shop after reading the book, but was rather disappointed by the quality. Indeed the wok they marketed as hand pounded was just an ordinary steel wok with indentations punched in. The low price didn't stop us from trying it anyway, but it's been slow to take seasoning and never replaced my old Indian wok with its two rough handles and by-now deep black interior.

                            The most important lesson I took from the book is that if you can't muster the BTUs at home, you should cook in very small batches. As it turns out, this is a good way to go anyway, because we get to try small variations each round. (Not that I'm not tempted at times to get a 170,000 BTU burner from Tonight, we made Shanghai noodles with beef with Korean chile paste, soy sauce and ginger, together with gai lan and some homemade pickles and kimchee from the place next to Kim Phat. It's a simple meal, but if the wokking goes well, it's hard to beat.

                            Sorry, new in the area, so I don't have any insights about where to learn Chinese cooking. If you had asked about dashi . . .

                            1. re: unburnt

                              if ur 'indian wok', made of iron.? and is heavier than most steel woks
                              as i have one, and never used it for anything else except frying
                              wuld be interested to cook wokking recipes, as i find it distributes and retains heat very well.

                              1. re: divya

                                The Indian wok is not cast iron, just some sort of shaped steel. It differs from the Chinese woks in that it has steeper sides and two loopy handles. Your cast iron wok should work great for many dishes, because as you say it retains a lot of heat, so you'll be able to cook more at once.

                                Wokking is more about technique than recipe. If you haven't already, start simple with Chinese greens--gai lan, pea sprouts, bok choi and so on. Use a small amount of salt, ginger or garlic. If the water leaving the greens doesn't immediately vaporize on the wok surface, the batch is too big--you don't want to steam them.