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Sep 20, 2010 03:38 PM

Good flat-bottomed wok ?

A friend with a new gas range asked if I know where to get one. I listed my usual suspects to him:

• Ming Wo (23 E. Pender, Chinatown)
• Russell Food Equip (1255 Venables)
• Dunlevy Food Equip (60 W.7th Ave)
• Genesis Food Equip (1990 Powell)
• Paragon food Equip (760 E. Hastings)
• Vancouver Used Food Equip Warehouse (193 W. 3rd Ave)

Although I'm not up-to-date on who sells what. Any particular stores and/or model of flat-bottom wok you would recommend ? My friend is not planning to spend more than $60.

(I strongly recommended him a round-bottom work, btw)

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  1. If it's a flat bottomed model he wants I strongly suggest he check out the various models of 'Kadai' sold in Little India-cheap sturdy and well built.

    2 Replies
      1. re: LotusRapper

        Kadai are great, depending on what your friend wants to use them for. I am not so sure that they'd work well for Chinese-type stir frying -- at least, most of the ones I have from India don't, but I haven't checked out the ones sold here. Just something to think about before spending $$.

        For Chinese woks, your list sounds pretty good, unless your friend wants to try mail order from the Wok Shop in SF.

    1. I would add Tinland (Chinatown). Great selection of woks - but I don't recall seeing flat-bottomed ones...though I'm sure they must have them.

      On that note, I used to think that woks are a necessity for Chinese cooking at home...however, not even the hottest semi-pro stoves get close to what you need to achieve "wok hei". Woks generally waste too much heat (the sides act as a heat sink which tend to cool down the cooking process.)

      I now recommend a smaller slope sided carbon steel pan - like this de Buyer and just cook in batches. These blue steel pans get very hot. Hot enough for "wok" cooking.

      17 Replies
      1. re: fmed

        Excellent suggestion, Fmed. I think I'll get one myself (price is right too), the 12.5" version.

        I ditched my non-stick wok last year after deciding my family (esp. kid) would no longer eat foods that risk being contaminated by PFOA/PTFE. Since then I've been "wokking" with a faux Le Creuset enamel castiron saucier pan (actually sears decently if pre-heated properly). But man, it's freaking heavy .........

        1. re: LotusRapper

          If you can't get it at a local W-S, I know a source. PM me if you need this info.

          1. re: fmed

            Will do :-)

            Arghhhhh, W-S Canada doesn't have online catalogue, WTH !

            1. re: LotusRapper

              Isn't there one on Granville around 12th, LR? You could check it and Cookworks out at the same time. And then have lunch at Lin's :-).

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  Don't forget to hit Lin's early to get the XLB :-).

            2. re: fmed

              I was at Cookworks tonight and they have some blue steel frypans and I think they are on sale, though not sure. Might be worth a call...

              You will scoff, but I love my 12" hard anodized aluminum flat-bottomed Calphalon wok that I got as a wedding prezzy ten years ago. It has a nice long ergonomic handle and works well for me, retaining the heat evenly. More than $60, I fear...

              I just realized I have not cooked Chinese since we got our DCS stove installed in July (I do use my wok for lotsa other stuff like pad thai, pancit and pilaf... and other things that don't begin with P). I wonder if I could get a little wok hei out of it. It is about a billion BTUs. I've never had it above medium for fear of incinerating things...

              1. re: fmed

                Checked with W-S today. They have it for C$114 (12.5"), quite a difference from the US$55 on the US W-S site price. I may wait 'til a Xmas sale or see what Cookworks has to offer, like Grayelf said.

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  Cookworks has a 10" Calphalon 1 anodized flat bottomed wok similar to mine (but with a metal long handle instead of the ergonomic covering on the one I have) on sale for $79, reg $139....

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    Just got an e-mail. Williams Sonoma is having a 20% off all cookware sale until this Sunday. In store and in Canada only.

                    Rats...missing it by a just wandering around and drooling on the pots.

                    1. re: bdachow

                      Hey Fmed - any news on your discount sourcing ?

                      1. re: LotusRapper

                        Let me get back on it! (See you in vanchow...)

              2. re: fmed

                For those that might be interested. I'm in Calgary and mail ordered 3 'Lyon style' blue/black skillets from City Chef Kitchenware, a Vancouver company. As fmed said they do get hot.
                Link to the page featuring these skillets:

                City Chef
                12500 Horseshoe Way #150, Richmond, BC V7A, CA

                1. re: rosetown

                  Thanks Rosetown. That looks pretty good. As for myself, since I'm on electric range so the better they conduct heat (and evenly) the better :-)

                  1. re: rosetown

                    Rosetown! Long time no see. Yes these will work well too. They are slightly thinner than du Buyer but that is a minor quibble.

                    LR - The last time I checked City Chef, they only had the low sided ones (1.5") for "pancakes" - you might double check if they have the high-side ones (2.5")

                    1. re: fmed

                      Greetings Fmed - Busy summer - major renos - you forced me to bring out the measuring tape. :)
                      12 1/2 inch diameter - 2 1/4 inch depth
                      9 1/2 inch diameter - 1 7/8 inch depth
                      7 7/8 inch diameter - 1 5/8 inch depth
                      6 1/4 inch diameter - 1 1/2 inch depth

                      So on my order, depth increased as diameter increased. They are thinner than du Buyer and they came with a Paderno label. Though I very much doubt that they are manufactured by Paderno.

                2. I saw a flat bottomed wok at Costco Downtown. I am sure its a good value as its the trusty old Costco we are talking about. Didn't catch the brand but I think it was 80$. Also You might want to check out cook works on broadway as they had special on wok's as well calphalon anodized one was also 80$ if I recall.

                  1. I know this is going to sound crazy, but IKEA. Really. It will do everything you need it to do and will take a good beating, all for $7.99.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: 12pines

                      Interesting option (esp. for 8 bucks).

                      But it's nonstick-coated :-/


                    2. I've found some pretty cheap flat bottom woks at homeware (Fraser St. and 45th Ave). They are always on sale so you can check their website.