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Nov 17, 2010 06:41 PM

Black flakes from BRAND NEW Wok

I just bought a brand new Wok for an Asian market in Pittsburgh. It is presumably 1/8" Steel and Black. It IS Magnetic. The owner of the store told me it was cast iron. But I have cast iron cook ware and there is no way this wok is cast iron. It is way to thin. My issue is upon the first time using it lots of black flakes came off showing a "steel color" underneath. I did season it with oil a few times before using it. How ever as soon as my tongs touched the surface the black came off on the food in big flakes.

I've searched high and low on the internet and cant find anything about it. Did I not season it enough? Is it Teflon? (if so I can peal it off with my finger nail.) Is it supposed to come off? Is it dangerous to eat? Did I ruin it? PLEASE HELP ME!!!!

Thank you :-)

Photos are attached

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  1. Cantonese call this a Peking/Bejing wok:

    It is not Telfon.

    Just season it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Cool. So is all the black going to come off? Is it ok to eat? Should I scrub the crap out of it till the black is gone?? And thank you so much for replying.

    2. I think you have a carbon steel wok. I wonder whether the black stuff that is flaking off is just a protective coating. Many carbon steel woks and pans come with a coat of lacquer on them (usually clear, IME) to prevent rusting during transport and storage. I'd suggest scrubbing off all the black coating with steel wool and a lot of elbow grease. Then, as CK says, just season it.

      PS. I like to season carbon steel on the stovetop. Scrub it down to bare metal with steel wool. Dry thoroughly. Wipe a thin layer of oil all around the inside with a folded up paper towel, heat up the wok until it starts to smoke, rub the oil around the inside with another folded-up paper towel held with tongs. Let it cool. IME, three cycles of oiling/heating should give you a nice base of seasoning. Good luck!

      10 Replies
      1. re: tanuki soup

        Awesome...I guess its time to pull out the old elbow grease!!

        1. re: agolden23

          Scrubbing the whole thing will take much work. Try testing this. Try heating the wok dry on stove and see if the you can slowly burn the black layer off. If so, this means the black layer can be burned off at high temperature. Knowning this, you can put the wok in an oven and turn on the self cleaning cycle and have the oven burns off the layer.

          I cannot be sure if it works, but you should give it a try.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Thats a good Idea. But it makes me think. Why would any company produce a product that requires such work before use?? I have to be missing something

            1. re: agolden23

              The reason is that: usually that black coating does not fall off.

              1. re: agolden23

                I have some cast iron that was made in China that had a horrible protective coating on. I finally gave up on the elbow grease and got out the cordless drill with a wire brush. That experience ended my desire to buy the cheaper cast iron.

            1. re: agolden23

              I just heated up the wok with no oil and it started smoking quite a bit. The hotter it gets the easier the black stuff comes off. Has any one ever used one of these woks? someone must have owned one before and can tell me what the deal with it is.

              1. re: agolden23

                I have one that looks similar but the coating never came off like that. I can see through the coating at the bottom but it didn't scratch like that. I don't know what to tell you. I almost didn't post because I don't remember what it was like when I bought it, but I know that the coating didn't come off in big flakes like that. How much did you pay for it?

                1. re: la2tokyo

                  OK I asked a bunch of people who would know about this, and they all said that what you have and what is pictured in Chemicalkinetics link is different. The wok pictured in that link is the same as the one I have, which is uncoated. It has kind of a purple sheen on it when you buy it, but it's bare metal. I don't know what the coating on the wok you have is made from. I attached a picture of my wok, which has been used about five times a week for five years with intense heat. It looks rusty because of the flash. In real life it's much darker looking. The black color on the outside is from it being seasoned after a lot of use. The whole thing was kind of purple when I bought it. It is about 18" diameter and it was $8 at a chinese restaurant supply store. The one in that link is overpriced.

                  1. re: la2tokyo

                    I think you have a "black steel" wok, which is carbon steel with a very tough electrochemical surface finish applied at the factory. (It's the same as "bluing" on a gun.) When new, it will have an iridescent dark purple/blue/black look to it (like a puddle of gas and oil at a gas station). As you said in your earlier post, this durable black surface finish would never peel off as the OP described.

          2. That doesnt look like one of the protective finishes to me, looks like the cheap Nonstick some use especially how its scratched and peeled off. Usually the protecitve coating on the carbon steel are vegetable based and clear.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ZeroSignal

              You're right. A cheap nonstick coating is also a possibility. But one thing that makes me think otherwise is that the handle (and presumably the outside of the wok too) seems to have the same coating on it.

              PS. I agree that protective coatings are usually clear. Every piece of carbon steel cookware I've ever bought has had a clear lacquer coating on it. I've always used steel wool to remove it, but high heat would probably also work.

              1. re: tanuki soup

                It looks like enamel that's peeling off. Enamel used for pans is supposed to be non-toxic, so most likely it's harmless, but enamel shouldn't come off that easily, even if you do scratch it with metal utensils.

            2. My guess is that this is a carbon steel wok that has been coated with black lacquer. The coating is only meant to protect the steel from rusting during shipping. (The other ways rust is avoided is to coat in wax or heavy mineral oil.)

              In any event, that lacquer (or wax or oil) has got to go before using the wok. See the attached link: