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Good place to get a cast-iron wok in toronto?

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gegtik Sep 1, 2011 08:26 AM

Hi all,

Since I just got through a kitchen reno and got myself a Bluestar gas oven from Costco (great deal, that!) I've wanted to get into wok cooking.

After some research I had decided to go with a carbon steel wok; I've checked nikolau but they didn't have quite what I was looking for, and eventually I visited Tap Phong and found a 16" (!!) cantonese-style carbon steel wok for $18 that seems pretty good.

However now I realize I'd also like to try a traditional northern-style cast iron wok as well, maybe a 12-14" wok. Not an american-made, thick-walled wok but rather a chinese style, fragile, thin-walled cast iron wok with a handle and relatively steep walls.

Does anyone have any idea where I can find such a wok in the GTA?

Thanks!

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Tap Phong
360 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

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  1. jayt90 RE: gegtik Sep 1, 2011 08:44 AM

    I got one in the Pacific Mall.

    1. iMarilyn RE: gegtik Sep 1, 2011 08:48 AM

      Tap Phong on Spadina. Hundreds of them!

      Nevermind...

      -----
      Tap Phong
      360 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

      1. atomeyes RE: gegtik Sep 1, 2011 08:53 AM

        the cast iron woks are awesome (except when taking the food out of the wok...those things are heavy).
        i bought mine from Cook's Place on the Danforth. They had to special order a lid for me (and you need a lid to do proper asian cooking).
        another option is Kitchen Stuff Plus. they also sell cast iron woks.

        1. sweetie RE: gegtik Sep 1, 2011 09:27 AM

          If you are ever in Markham, I would check out the Chinese housewares stores. There is one in Market Village, Pacific Mall, Peachtree Plaza (hwy 7 and Kennedy), First Markham Place...pretty much every single Chinese mall has one of these housewares stores. Of course the stock varies from store to store but all of them will carry woks.

          2 Replies
          1. re: sweetie
            atomeyes RE: sweetie Sep 1, 2011 09:40 AM

            chinese stores don't usually have cast iron, if my memory's correct

            1. re: atomeyes
              aser RE: atomeyes Sep 1, 2011 11:01 AM

              They have both, the cast iron ones usually have a flat bottom, whereas the carbon steel restaurant style woks are rounded.

              There's also a kitchenware shop in the Warden & Steeles T&T plaza, they have both types there.

          2. dachopstix RE: gegtik Sep 1, 2011 11:11 AM

            There's a Chinese restaurant supply store on Kennedy Rd, south of Steeles Ave, on the East side, south of the Petro-Canada and the Active Green & Ross/Speedy.

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            Petro-Canada
            , Haileybury, ON P0J, CA

            5 Replies
            1. re: dachopstix
              jayt90 RE: dachopstix Sep 1, 2011 11:37 AM

              It is Reliable, 3477 Kennedy Rd. They give you a hefty discount if paying cash.
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/774187

              1. re: jayt90
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                gegtik RE: jayt90 Sep 5, 2011 02:00 PM

                I dropped by Reliable on sunday and they only carry carbon steel woks. Some of the houseware shops in pacific mall carry some flat bottom cast iron woks but I hope to find a round bottom wok if possible.

                1. re: gegtik
                  h
                  hari mirch RE: gegtik Sep 5, 2011 05:08 PM

                  So far in the GTA, I have only seen flat-bottom cast iron woks. Oddly, considering the large Chinese population here, we don't have a really good wok store like San Francisco or New York (though Reliable is great in its own way). You can mail order from here:

                  http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/...

                  1. re: hari mirch
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                    gegtik RE: hari mirch Sep 6, 2011 05:57 AM

                    I've been considering mail ordering from the wok shop, though it's been fun finding new chinese kitchen stores in the city. I'm going to try to drop by Mississauga's little chinatown plaza to find out if they have any, and if not I guess it's wokshop.com for me!

                    1. re: gegtik
                      h
                      hari mirch RE: gegtik Sep 11, 2011 12:27 PM

                      You can, however, easily get cast iron karhais very cheaply from Indian/Pakistani stores, e.g. Iqbal's in Thorncliffe. While not exact the same shape/gauge as a Chinese wok, they are serviceable. I don't know if you'd find the size you are looking for. My cheap iron karhai seasoned very quickly and has maintained its seasoning, even though I primarily use it for cooking acidic sauces. (The seasoning comes from the long slow frying of the onions, ginger, garlic and chiles).

            2. a
              autopi RE: gegtik Oct 6, 2011 08:04 PM

              any thoughts on where to get a medium sized flat-bottom wok in downtown toronto -- or at least somewhere TTC accessible? i tried tap phong today, and while they had a good selection of round bottomed woks, i only saw one flat-bottomed one. i have an electric stove, hence the need for a flat bottomed wok.

              i can mail order from the wok shop, but the s&h to canada is expensive.

              4 Replies
              1. re: autopi
                haggisdragon RE: autopi Oct 7, 2011 04:21 AM

                I got mine at T&T. I'm pretty happy with it.

                1. re: autopi
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                  plug RE: autopi Oct 7, 2011 11:06 AM

                  on spadina... go to Tap Phong Trading

                  they have stainless steel, cast iron and carbon steel.

                  I prefer carbon steel.

                  -----
                  Tap Phong
                  360 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                  1. re: plug
                    h
                    hari mirch RE: plug Oct 10, 2011 07:22 PM

                    autopi said they already went to Tap Phong and didn't find what they were looking for.

                    As I recall, Nikolau sells a good flat bottom wok.

                    -----
                    Tap Phong
                    360 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                    1. re: hari mirch
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                      plug RE: hari mirch Oct 11, 2011 06:12 AM

                      LOL.. i am blind as there was another post on Tap Phong in Sept.

                      how bout the T&T on cherry street? i know the other locations have flat bottomed woks.

                      -----
                      Tap Phong
                      360 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                2. h
                  hari mirch RE: gegtik Oct 22, 2011 01:14 PM

                  I went to Tap Phong today. They got a shipment of 14 and 16 inch cast iron Cantonese woks (with two loop handles). Unfortunately, each and every wok in the shipment is flawed. All are cracked to some degree, some also have lumps and/or pits.

                  I use a flat-bottom Chinese cast iron wok that I got in one of the Chinese grocery stores - can't remember where - that is actually my favourite wok. It gets very hot even on my old domestic gas stove.

                  To gegtik: just wondering if you have a powerful burner, because I would imagine it is hard to keep a 16" hot enough on a home stove.

                  -----
                  Tap Phong
                  360 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: hari mirch
                    s
                    szw RE: hari mirch Oct 22, 2011 05:12 PM

                    I have a chinese carbon steel wok but its pretty useless to me on my weak electric range. I bought a stainless steel flat bottomed wok from costco which I get the most use out of. Thick base and I think it was like $20 or so. Not traditional but I find it works much better for home use.

                    1. re: hari mirch
                      jayt90 RE: hari mirch Oct 22, 2011 05:17 PM

                      The home stoves from OP's Blue Star reach 22,500 btu/hr.

                      1. re: jayt90
                        aser RE: jayt90 Oct 22, 2011 11:07 PM

                        My understanding is that the costco spec'ed models are only 15k. Different from the retail versions with 22k, which are far more expensive

                        15k can be upgraded to 18k, then another hack can take it to 22k.

                        1. re: aser
                          h
                          hari mirch RE: aser Oct 23, 2011 09:42 PM

                          I've looked at 60,000-100,000 BTU gas jet wok stove units online, which would make a 14" wok competitive with a restaurant wok, but my rational side tells me I would need a lot of skills I don't currently have to handle high heat wok cooking.

                          1. re: hari mirch
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                            plug RE: hari mirch Oct 24, 2011 06:11 AM

                            i think the one at restaurants blow up to 200,000 BTU's if i'm not mistaken.

                            the single burner freestanding unit they also sell at tap phong (the one right in front) blows around 70,000 BTU

                            1. re: plug
                              h
                              hari mirch RE: plug Oct 24, 2011 08:07 AM

                              Yeah, real restaurant wok stoves go up to 200,000 BTU - but also use a 19" wok, which is almost double the surface area to heat.

                              I have never noticed the single burner freestanding unit at Tap Phong - is it meant for indoor use? And do you remember the cost?

                              -----
                              Tap Phong
                              360 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                              1. re: hari mirch
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                                plug RE: hari mirch Oct 24, 2011 08:22 AM

                                its meant for outdoor use (uses propane)
                                i use mine in the garage (door opened half way)
                                i didnt buy mine there but at another establishment for $300

                                1. re: plug
                                  aser RE: plug Oct 24, 2011 10:57 PM

                                  I've often thought about buying one of these, although I would be hesitant to use it anywhere but outdoors. Do you use it in the winter inside your garage?

                                  btw, here's the vid showing the 18 to 22k upgrade on a bluestar.

                                  http://youtu.be/NVMXNqCSBmo

                                  1. re: aser
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                                    plug RE: aser Oct 25, 2011 06:19 AM

                                    yes... i use it in the winter in my garage.

                                    i just make sure its well ventilated

                                    its similar to this where there is a low wall around it that comes with the unit so theres abit of safety with that

                                     
                                2. re: hari mirch
                                  jayt90 RE: hari mirch Oct 24, 2011 08:29 AM

                                  I bought a single propane burner at Honest Ed's; 60,000 btu for about $45 a few years ago. The round bottom woks fit on it. It is called a patio burner and should be used outside or on a balcony if codes allow. You can't have a propane tank indoors, and these devices are not easily attached to natural gas without a technician.

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