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Hand Hammered Wok from E-Wok Review

Sternbean and I have recently bought a couple of hand-hammered woks from e-wok:


Sternbean’s post can be found here:


Here are some of the photos I have taken for this hand hammered wok. The first photo is the wok after the initial scrubbing/cleaning. The second photo is the wok after the baked out, first seasoning and oiling. The third and the fourth are close-up photos which show the hand hammered marks. The fifth and final photo shows my stir fried rice (salted fish with chicken fried rice).

This is a true authentic hand-hammered wok, and it is by far the best wok I have ever had. Nothing comes remotely close, and I have used and seasoned a few woks. I am very impressed. I am not saying this because it is a good looking wok, which it is. I am saying this, because it is truly a high performance wok. The thickness is just right. The shape is of the classic Peking (Northern) pow wok. It seasoned very easily. I only seasoned it once, and I was able to make fried rice with no sticking. As you could see from the photo, the fried rice came out fluffy without sticking to each other and forming crumbs. In contrast, I have used the Williams Sonoma wok for two weeks and foods still stick to it slightly. This hand hammered wok is also better than the USA made carbon steel woks from wokshop. Those are good woks, but cannot be compared to this one.

These hand hammered woks are $44 or so. Unfortunately, the shipping and handling cost quite a bit. I ended up paying for $72. It took almost two weeks to arrive. If you are in the market for a good quality hand hammered wok, then you should consider this one.

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  1. What's your heat source? I would love to make fried rice like that!

    18 Replies
    1. re: pabboy

      "What's your heat source?"

      Thanks. Believe it or not. I used the worst of worst: electric (I am renting an apartment). It is possible to make decent fried rice even on an electric stove. It just takes a bit more patience and practice. I can not wait to use this wok on a gas stove and see it kicks asses.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Now I'm totally befuddled.

        A round bottom wok on an electric stove? Are you using a wok ring? Does anything come in contact with the heating element?

        Before I was impressed with your fried rice. Now totally amazed!

        1. re: pabboy

          Yes, a wok ring. No, it does not come in contact of the heating element, but it gets very close.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I was in a similar situation. I found one supplier of home induction wok hotplates here in Thailand (found it at a very large Robinsons) - probably from a Chinese source. It did not support a Thai style (one handed wok) since the base was not shallow enough, but it supported the two handed chinese style woks. I was in a similar situation because my building has very poor electric hobs. I just turned the hob off at the fuse-panel then but the induction hotplate on top of the electric hob..... it has been good enough for now. So somewhere out there there is at least one manufacturer building induction hotplates that support round bottom woks - don't know of a north american supplier but there must be one. Local cost is between $150 and $200. Not perfect but it does heat up very hot very quickly. I have seen professional induction drop in woks for condo's or professional kitchens but could not afford it (plus it would require changing my rental property).

            1. re: cacruden

              cacruden, does your unit look something like the one pictured below? This is of a Adcraft unit available here in the states for around $250 or so...

              1. re: toddster63

                Looks like a little higher quality make actually (also your wok looks in better shape - but mine works great anyways). It gets up to 2000watts of power which is much better than most (average priced/common) kitchen ranges (non-induction). The electric burners (underneath) took probably 2 minutes to heat up (very slow) - induction almost immediate. Not having an oven though -- induction made it almost impossible to dewax/season.... had to bring it out to a friends place in the country side originally to do that (without liquid in it it heats up until it glows and the safety heat sensor kicks the unit off).

                1. re: cacruden

                  That's not my unit, it's of another online woker's setup—and I don't like the silly "hammer" pattern on the wok, and it's way too new and UN-seasoned. Your wok looks great, cacruden. Nicely seasoned and used! Thanks for sharing—your unit looks great. I'm not surprised you have such nice wok induction units at reasonable prices in Thailand with all the woking there...!

                  1. re: toddster63

                    You guys are really getting me interested in an induction wok unit. I will buy a house one day, and I would love to have a wok unit. A gas stove wok unit or an induction wok unit? I can see advantages for either. Gas is more conventional and is a proven technology, and will work very well even if the wok is routinely lifted (for tossing). Induction will be much cleaner, and require a smaller ventilation system. Less heat in the kitchen, and possibly less noise (tough to say on this one).

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Gas is always better for woks. Can't have gas in my unit, and hob is poor at best so this was the best option I had available. I never toss my wok on this unit. Induction will not be "much" cleaner and the ventilation system would have to be the same - though the heat itself would likely be lesser. When cooking on a high power wok you are "vaporizing" a lot of oil, and that is what the ventilation system has to be able to handle (you will notice it much more if you toss chilies into hot oil - it will sometimes feel like you are getting hit with a wall of mace)...

                      1. re: cacruden

                        I agree. I've been woking outdoors with a propane burner for 3 years now, doing stir-fries at up to 50K BTU's. Lately I have been really attracted to stir-frying indoors, and have been re-examing flat bottoms on my electric stove and considering the induction wok burner too...

                        But so far it's been hard. When you get your wok up to almost 700F, and stir-fries are done in 60-90 seconds, (and your wok turns inky black within 6 months) you really get hooked. But then again, it's a PITA to haul everything—veggies, marinating meat, sauce, garlic, ginger—outside and get it all inline and organized...!

                        But then, over the stove with a flat-bottom, a stir-fry takes like 5 minutes to complete and tastes a little bit more "stewed" for lack of a better adjective...

                        1. re: toddster63

                          <it's a PITA to haul everything—veggies, marinating meat, sauce, garlic, ginger—outside and get it all inline and organized...!>

                          No kidding. I cannot imagine cooking outdoor all the time. I have to prep everything before hand? and not to forget anything? Man, you should see how I cook. I always forget garlic here, ginger there... and I would often start cutting while the wok was cooking something else. :P

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            In a warm climate (as in here), I could and would cook outdoors all the time here if I had the outdoor area. I would just setup a stainless steel countertop near the wok and put a fridge outside near it. It would have some shelter over but open, and I would have a small LCD tv outside as well, as well as a picnic table for eating. Inside I would keep a separate drink fridge.

                            1. re: cacruden

                              The problem occurs when you have half a kitchen in one area, and half in another area :p

                              1. re: cacruden

                                Now, just imagine people with two wives (two separate families). :P

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Fairly common here as well.... but not two full wives, one full wife and "minor wives". Personally, I find one (none right now) more than enough I would find having more than one (at the same time) to be way to complicating.... :p

                                  1. re: cacruden

                                    < Personally, I find one (none right now) more than enough>

                                    Agree. :P (Male bonding -- you and me)

                              2. re: cacruden

                                Hu cacruden -

                                This is exactly what we have done, sans Fridge.

                                Years ago I gave my parents our BBQ cooking island, which was tiled to my wife's specifications, had a side burner, and two double stainless doors for equipment.

                                The ne noticed that our BBQ with two wings and a side burner was becoming too small.

                                We cook outdoors today quite often (weather permitting) and bought and assembled a small stainless table with a shelf below. This was purchased from a Chef's supply firm nearby. It accommodates BBQ items, a Pizza Oven (gas fired), and when the Pizza oven is stored below, a surface for Wok prep and cooking on the gas side burner.

                                Bringing prep bowls of wok items is not a problem, considering that the main benefit is the odors and cooking smoke stays outside the house. As in fish, shrimp, chili, and hot oil. We also invert the wok ring on the side burner to bring it closer to the gas on a cold Winter's day and to control the wok more from moving around.

                                A glass of something in hand, perhaps a bit of music playing, with all your tools, prep items and wok sizzling away is enjoyable.

                          2. re: cacruden

                            <When cooking on a high power wok you are "vaporizing" a lot of oil, and that is what the ventilation system has to be able to handle >

                            Excellent point. You are correct.

        2. Congrats Chem - looks beautiful - enjoy!!

          It looks solid - all the mass produced carbon steel woks, northern or southern style, I have seen in the stores that I haunt are very thin - they flex - what about yours??

          12 Replies
          1. re: rosetown

            This one is thick enough that it does not easily flex. Well, if I push it hard, I can flex it, but it does not flex under normal operation or cleaning in the sink.

            It is much stiffer than the so called US made carbon steel wok from the wokshop and the Williams Sonoma wok.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Do you mean Wokshop hand hammered wok? (They have two. One is listed has Wokshop hand hammered wok which very regular pattern and other is just listed as hand hammered). I received the following wok today.


              A 14 inch flat bottom wok from 14 gauge steel is quite stiff which is close to 2mm thick. I will think a 1.5 mm wok will be less stiff unless made with harden able steel.

              1. re: tanvir

                I have had a couple of woks from the Wokshop which were advertized to be 14 gauge. You would think they should be closer to 2 mm, but they were definitely closer to 1.5 mm. Let me know if yours is different.

                Its so called hand hammered wok is actually pretty thick. I just don't like it for other reasons.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I took out the micrometer and stand corrected. The wok is 1.5mm +- few hundredths. I feel it appears to be stiffer than round bottom is because of six inch or so flat surface. The arc of the parabola will be larger on the round bottom and the hands has greater leverage.

                  You are right, I just assumed that 14 gauge means =~ 2mm thickness.

                  1. re: tanvir

                    Sound good. As long as the wok is stiff, then you are fine. A lighter wok is easier to maneuver, so it is good. Thanks for the update.

                    1. re: tanvir

                      The gauge of the steel really is kinda dependent on your heat source. Those thicker 14 gauge woks from the Wok Shop (made in the USA), have a thick padding of steel on the bottom that really holds heat, and for weaker electrical stoves, it can really make all the difference. I tried to use a Ken Hom flat bottom wok that was not thicker with padded steel on the bottom (it was stamped from one uniform sheet of 1.5mm steel), and I was shocked at how fast it cooled down when moderately loaded on my electrical coil stove--much weaker performance the the thick padded bottomed USA made woks the Wok Shop sells...!

                      1. re: toddster63

                        We enjoyed Kenneth Hom on BBC when I worked in London, and living on a budget as an engineer there, his style of cooking appealed to us being thrifty with meals and food budgets. His emphasis, then as now, centered on a wok that heated & cooled quickly.

                        I did buy one of his early woks, and it did heat up and cool down quickly. Heading back to Switzerland I found it cooled down too quickly for Winters there. I had been looking for an alternative ever since.

                        Along comes a stint in Southern California, where I saw a stainless steel wok being used for the first time by Wolfgang Puck. Glass lid, large, and alu core, it heated about the same time up, but kept our meal warmer longer. It was packed back home too.

                        That was followed by the large Rösle 35cm wok, and the 21 cm AEG, both which are stainless, induction compliant and the heaviest of the group. They clean well, do not stick, and the Rösle is the BBQ / Induction unit for a large dinner with guests.

                        Remarkably, all of our woks are still being used at one time or another, including the one from the UK. I say this as they do hold up with care, and the first was probably purchased before Jeremy Pang, who we also like to watch, had even been born.

                        1. re: SWISSAIRE

                          Yes, I'm a big Hom fan too... Not too many Americans are familiar with him, which is a shame. His documentary of modern China and it's changing cuisine from a few years ago with Ching-He Huang was truly as they called it a culinary adventure. I don't think PBS ever showed it in the US, but you can watch it on YouTube... We are more familar with Ching-He Huang and her shows on Cooking Channel here in the US, and I greatly enjoy her as well. She has the same up attitude as Hom and just makes me smile...!

                          I love my stainless wok for steaming (mainly to make Chow Fun noodles from scratch), but I could never stir fry in it--the extra flavor (or wok hei) that the carbonized surface of seasoned steel/iron has just become too crucial to my taste buds. I even fry exclusively in my DeBuyer steel skillets now--eggs, fish... The stainless is good to steam rice in, though, or make oatmeal...

                          1. re: toddster63

                            I have one of Kenneth Hom's books in German, circa 1999, which he autographed, entitled " Kochen mit der Wok. " Really a nice chap, with OBE no less.

                            The word "fusion" is used liberally throughout. We have tried every one of the recipes in it at least once, most being a success. To my knowledge he remains popular in the UK and Germany, but is not well known in France. Perhaps owning a home in the South of France he wishes to reside there " under the radar, " when he is not in Thailand.

                            His BBC show on Exploring China we much admired, but having been to Kashgar years ago, I think he took a bit of a chance going there. This is the kind of trip you do when you are young !

                          2. re: SWISSAIRE


                            I'm less than thrilled with my cheap steel stir fry pan (I warped it during seasoning, all my fault) and given my longtime love for stainless, I wouldn't mind a stainless wok, except for all the people who say it's a terrible pan for stir fry.

                            Would you mind describing how you use your various stainless woks? What kind of heat, etc... how easily do they clean? I'm concerned about cooked-on oil on the walls, which can be a bear to remove. Do you prefer your stainless woks over the others?

                            Thanks! I'll be your best friend and take you to the circus. :)

                            1. re: DuffyH

                              Morgen DuffyH-

                              Stainless Steel Woks:

                              1. Rösle Multi-layer, alu core, 35 cm, induction, round bottom, heavy. Not seasoned.

                              2. AEG Fusion, multi, alu,core, 21 cm, induction, round bottom, light. Not seasoned.

                              3. Bistro-tek, multi, not induction, 28 cm, light, flat bottom, glass lid. It may actually be a Tramontina from Brasil. Not seasoned.

                              The first two were purchased in Germany, the second was a gift. The Rösle and the Bistro-tek are used for large meals with guests, while the AEG is used primarily for 1-2 people.

                              Medium to Medium High Heat setting, to sizzle. The AEG cooktop is that efficient. Gaz on the outdoor side-burner is turned on high.


                              1. The first two woks sit on an induction-compatible trivet, very sculptural, that conducts the induction energy through the trivet to the side walls of the wok to heat.

                              Note that the bottom of both woks never actually touch the induction cooktop. We first saw the AEG trivet demonstrated at the Frankfurt trade show, or Messe, and was an eye opener. And as it remains cool, both the wok and trivet can be taken off the cooktop, and placed on a dining table, if you want to serve directly there.

                              2. My experience is that although the Stainless woks heat up a bit slower, they remain hotter, keeping the food warm. Up here this is important. I rarely have to remove food from the woks unless I do not want it to overcook.

                              3. OIL: We used what is called pressed nut oil, similar to peanut oil. I am not sure if it is 100% peanut oil, but following Kenneth Hom's advice, we keep the amount of oil used to the minimum, and again, these woks require no seasoning.

                              There is no burning, nor brown or black marks on the inside of any of the woks after cooking. Only get the wok heated, add the oil on the side walls of the wok, and add items to be cooked in stages. Our overhead exhaust fan is always on when we cook, so most airborne lipoids are drawn out.

                              4. OIL USE: Clearly the flat bottom wok uses more oil than a round bottom wok

                              5. SPLATTER: Only once interestingly enough, when we used a large jar of very moist garlic paste from Migros, instead of mincing garlic as we normally do. Little white spots on the wok and cooktop, but easily cleaned up. Only minced aromatics are used now in our wok cooking.

                              6. STEAMING: Unless it is something small such as rice paper wrapped fish, we do not use the woks to steam. For that we use a Rösle Brater or stainless roasting pan with a Steam insert, or Dämpfeinsatz.

                              7. CLEAN-UP: When the stainless cools, the woks are rinsed in the sink, and later hand washed. If something burned inside, the soaking lifts it, and it cleans with a soap sponge or a small brush, and then hung to dry.

                              The big 35 cm is used out on the BBQ side burner often. That is gaz fired using a wok ring, and a year later there are a few scratches but no burning or dis-colouring whatsoever.

                              We do not use abrasives including Bar Tenders K on the woks, as there is no need. After washing, a drop of oil is rubbed in to the interior, and the woks are stored away, one on top of each other, separated by a paper towel. The wok hanging to dry in the photo is 1 year + old.

                              Yes, they could be cleaned in a dish washer, but aren't

                              I think you would find that induction cooktop can heat a suitable wok very well and quickly. Our selection of round bottomed woks might look like the wrong decision with induction, but we like the efficiency and found a way to use them.

                              Do I prefer German Terra Cotta, or Stainless Steel ? If it is good quality 18/10, then Guilty as charged.

                              I hope this is helpful.

                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                <After washing, a drop of oil is rubbed in to the interior, and the woks are stored away,...>

                                Thank you, Swissair. I'm a fan of seasoning my stainless steel, just never thought to apply it to stir fry. I appreciate the timely reminder.

                                I'll perfect my technique in my Vollrath Tribute saucier. It's only 2 qts, so too small for a proper one pan stir fry, but just about right for batch cooking. It's got a wicked thick aluminum layer, making it very forgiving. It should prove an ideal practice pan. Sadly, neither the AEG nor Rosle pans seem to be available in the USA. But I've got time, others will come along.

                                <If it is good quality 18/10, then Guilty as charged.>

                                This is me, as well. I've got some carbon steel, but they're mostly used for breakfast items, grilled sandwiches and shallow frying. I've got a pair of cast iron pans that I hardly ever use. I'm thinking of making pizza in them, just to see if I can't find a good use for them.

                                For my every day cooking, from searing to sauces, it's the stainless steel that I'm most comfortable with, and it's what I reach for. It never disappoints, no matter what I ask of it.

                                You are ever helpful, thanks. :)

              2. I was going to buy a 12" pow wok at $48 but the shipping would have been another $32. That's just obscene. Apparently they are shipping from China one wok at a time. No thanks, E-woks. Let me know when you have an outlet in the US.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Zeldog

                  The shipping fee is a lot in comparison, but it is probably more meaningful to look at the final price vs final performance.

                  ~$80 for a hand made hand hammered high quality wok is not a lot. People easily spend >$200 for a Le Cresuset Dutch Oven or an All Clad saute pan.

                  Certainly this $80 hand hammered wok beats the heck out of this $350 copper wok in term of price and of performance -- despite the "free shipping" offer for the copper wok:


                  1. re: Zeldog

                    Hi, Zeldog:

                    Let me try to make you feel better. Try buying copper from sellers in France--shipping typically adds $60-80.


                  2. Excellent - just the kind of info I was looking for. I ordered one (one handle style) today (seller taost on Ebay). I was going to get the pow wok from the Wok Shop but this one looks like the real deal -- not a bunch of dimples hammered into after manufacture.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: o_pinon

                      "Excellent - just the kind of info I was looking for. I ordered one (one handle style) today (seller taost on Ebay). I was going to get the pow wok from the Wok Shop but this one looks like the real deal -- not a bunch of dimples hammered into after manufacture."

                      I don't know if I mentioned this. The ebay seller taost is the same person responsible for the e-wok. They are selling the same things from the same group.

                      I actually have the Wokshop hammered wok as well. This hand hammered wok from Shanghai China is better. Not only it is more traditional, but it has better geometry and everything.

                      I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Let us know your experience.

                    2. I just bought one of these for a friend.

                      Just curious, did yours have a few "duller" spots where it seems a shiny coating has been scraped off? I'm hoping this is just some kind of coating that's meant to protect the wok during shipping and handling, but I've never owned a wok myself so I really don't know.

                      I'm happy to say I've had a good experience with the seller so far... I don't want meant to discourage anyone from buying or imply that there's anything wrong. I just want to make sure the wok is ok before I give it to my friend!

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: affodil

                        I have definitely seen a couple spots closed to your photo #3 especially on the exterior of the wok. I have not seen the case for photo #1. It really does not matter much in the big picture because I ended up scrubbing and cleaning the wok before seasoning, and I think your friend should too.

                        My first uploaded photo is the wok after it has been scrubbed clean.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Thanks. That helps me put my mind at ease. May I ask what you scrubbed yours with? Ewoks says not to use anything abrasive but over here (http://www.culinate.com/articles/feat...) Grace Young is using something like steel wool! :O

                          1. re: affodil

                            I used steel wool just because I have one, but I do agree that anything abrasive work too, like those green pads may work as well.


                            Steel wool is just easier if you have them because they won't fall apart like the green pads do sometime. Since this is a gift for your friend, you probably should let your friend scrubs it, not yourself.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                I have seen bamboo wok cleaners that are used.... look very good for that use, but I find that I don't have anything too sticky that a cloth will not remove.... so have not bought one (probably sold in Chinese stores in America).

                                1. re: cacruden

                                  It is just a little nice to have if foods stick to the wok. An pastry scraper also work too. Like you said, you can always buy a bamboo brush in an Asian supermarket or a Chinese restaurant supply store.

                          2. re: affodil

                            I wanted to follow up to say that the seller (taost on ebay) just got back to me and he (or she, not sure) agrees that once it's cleaned and seasoned the wok should be fine. :)

                            1. re: affodil

                              :) I think it is a dude, but I could be wrong.

                              Yes, once it is cleaned and seasoned then it should be fine. That shiny surface you see does not matter in the long run because in the long run, it is the seasoning surface which is to protect and enhanced the cooking performance. Afterall, we are supposed to scrap that surface off anyway before the seasoning process.

                              Is your friend a dedicated cook? If so, he/she should like this wok. It is actually a well made wok with with dimension. On top, it is a hand-hammered wok, which gives it a very artistic twist.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Yes, he is. And the hand-hammerd part is what made me choose it. I looked all over the internet and couldn't find anything quite like it. Thanks for the review!

                                1. re: affodil

                                  My pleasure. I hope he finds as much joy as I did with this wok. If he is experienced with carbon steel or cast iron cookware, then he should find no time in adapting this cookware. If no, then there are plenty good videos on youtube and elsewhere regarding the seasoning process. Good luck.

                          3. I recently purchased a 16" southern China style wok from e-woks. To make a long story short, It is exactly what I had searched two years for. The wok is sturdy and quite deep. It is truly a hand made item, not just finished by hand. I use an outdoor burner for this, and every wok I use. A stove just can't put out the heat needed. To season, I used flax seed oil. I applied about 8 thin coats and baked each one at a time in a 450 degree oven. The coats were allowed to bake 30-45 minutes followed by a cooling period. After it was cool, it was washed with a copper scrubber. The resulting seasoning coat looks like black lacquer and gave a great base to start cooking with. Prior to seasoning, I scrubbed the wok with a stainless scrubber and hot soapy water, and then with Chinese garlic chives to remove the metallic taste from a new wok.

                            All in all, this wok is absolutely beautiful and a fine example of the dying art of a hand-made wok. These woks are not cheap and the freight is not cheap, but if you want an authentic artisan made wok, these are it.

                            1. Hi Chem, did you get your wok via the eBay link above or straight from e-woks?

                              Also, what do you think of the chopping blocks from e-woks? I know you got one from the SF wok shop.. but wondering if you have impressions of the e-woks ones.

                              Thanks so much!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: iyc_nyc

                                HI iyc,

                                I got my hand made wok from eBay store because it is slightly cheaper. The eBay store and the e-woks site are owned by the same people.

                                I have not used the e-wok chopping blocks, but theirs are very different from the one I got. The one I got from the SF wokshop is made out of pine wood. It is a soft wood chopping block. Soft chopping blocks are often used in Chinese barbecue shops.

                                The ones offered from the e-woks store are Tiliaceae tree cutting blocks, which is also called ironwood. These cutting boards are very dense and hard. They would feel heavier than they look.


                                Since you live in NYC, you can probably go to your local Chinatown and see which one you like better.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Thanks so much, Chem! Re: the chopping blocks -- do you think the e-woks ones are too hard .. i..e., might be tough on knives? What are some other considerations (beyond look/feel) to decide b/w the soft vs. hard chopping blocks?

                                  If I have more chopping-block qs after this, I'll start a new thread. Sorry! :-)

                                  1. re: iyc_nyc

                                    <do you think the e-woks ones are too hard>

                                    I don't know -- to be honest. I have used an ironwood cutting board when I was in my graduate school, but that was before I know much about knives. In addition, I don't know if my ironwood is the same kind of ironwood as theirs. There are many "ironwood".

                                    In theory, a very hard wood can dull knives, but I think in practice, that difference is very small.

                                    <What are some other considerations (beyond look/feel) to decide b/w the soft vs. hard chopping blocks?>

                                    Well, Chinese barbecue shops prefer soft wood chopping blocks because they often swing knives in heavy and large motions. So a softer wood chopping block is gentler. In addition, if you notice, most Chinese barbecue shops use pure up-and-down chopping motion instead of slicing motion. A softer wood block is not only gentler for the knives, but it allows the knives to cut in deeper and therefore allows the foods to be cleanly cut through. If you have ever used a glass cutting board, then you would realize that it is difficult to cleanly cut and separate foods especially meats, because the glass cutting board does not allow the knife edge to cut through.

                                    For regular home cooks, the difference between the soft and hard cutting boards may not be significant. Another difference is that hard chopping blocks weigh more than soft chopping blocks for the same given size.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Super helpful as usual -- thanks so much!

                              2. I just have to throw my 2 cents in here as well. I ordered 2 woks from these guys about a year ago...and love them. My only complaint is that while they used to offer a flat bottomed wok, they don't any longer. I wanted to get some other sizes. I also am burdened with an electric stove. These are the best woks I have ever found.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: wabi

                                  <My only complaint is that while they used to offer a flat bottomed wok>

                                  The flat bottom woks are shown on their websites. Are you saying that they are not really there?

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Correct...they told me in an email that they stopped making them..unless enough folks asked for them and they are making them again. If they are...I want a few more of them!

                                    1. re: wabi

                                      I just sent them an email, and they replied pretty promptly...they no longer make flat bottom woks.

                                      1. re: wabi

                                        Got it. Thanks for letting us know. I wish they would just remove the flat bottom woks from their websites. You said you ordered 2 woks about a year ago. Were they flat bottom?

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Yes...I have 2 flat bottom woks from them. A mid sized and a larger one. I wanted to get a small one and one of their largest sized ones. It's a shame they don't make them any more...these are the best woks I have ever owned.

                                          1. re: wabi

                                            <Yes...I have 2 flat bottom woks from them>

                                            Awesome. At least you got two.

                                            <these are the best woks I have ever owned>

                                            Same here. Mine is most definitely the best wok I have ever owned, and I have had quiet a few carbon steel woks (~7). These are not counting the aluminum and the triply stainless and the nonstick Teflon woks.

                                2. Chem, based on your glowing review and the review of others, I'm thinking about getting this wok for myself and possible a friend, and have a few questions (for you and anyone else who has experience with this wok).

                                  What size wok did you get, and do you recommend that size for standard home cooking?

                                  I currently have a rental standard-issue gas stove. Is the round-bottomed wok best for this type of stove, and in general?

                                  Are you still as happy as you were with the wok -- and with the long/one-handled version?

                                  Finally (for now..), I can't seem to find e-wok/taost on ebay anymore. Do you know if he might still be on there, under another name? Otherwise I might purchase direct from the e-wok site -- is this the wok you got: http://e-woks.com/index.php?main_page...

                                  Thanks so much in advance!

                                  13 Replies
                                  1. re: iyc_nyc

                                    <What size wok did you get>

                                    I got a 14" wok. In term of size, it depends what your need and your stove. If you have a powerful stove, then a larger wok can take advantage of it and cook more food. A smaller wok, on the other hand, is more maneuverable. For home cooks, you are looking between 12" to 16". I think 14" is a good balance.

                                    <I currently have a rental standard-issue gas stove. Is the round-bottomed wok best for this type of stove, and in general?>

                                    For a gas stove, a round bottom wok is better. For an electric stove, it is more complicated. On an electric stove, a round bottom wok is better for handling the food in the wok, but a flat bottom wok absorb heat faster and better.

                                    <Are you still as happy as you were with the wok -- and with the long/one-handled version?>

                                    Yep, I am still very happy. The long single handle wok is better for tossing foods, and I do frequently toss my foods as I cook. Many people prefer the two short handles version. Due to the fact of being more balanced and easily to move the entire wok -- when necessary.

                                    <I can't seem to find e-wok/taost on ebay anymore>

                                    You are right. I cannot find taost neither. However, I have found the same woks sold by a different store: HwaMart. Same photos, even same city in China (Shanghai). You can contact him and see what's up.


                                    <is this the wok you got: http://e-woks.com/index.php?main_page...>

                                    Yes. Your link is correct.


                                    I have recently found out from another poster (ictown775) that Williams Sonoma is currently carrying a real hand hammered carbon steel wok made by Cen Lian Gen.


                                    Cen Lian Gen is made famous in the West because his wok was used as a cover shot for Grace Young's book: Breath of a Wok:


                                    So there is another option for you.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Chem, thanks so much for this. Do you have an opinion re: the WS one vs the eWok one?

                                      Also, if I went with e-Wok, I'd likely get the long one-handled version. If so, do you recommend getting an extra loop handle on the opposite side -- I tk there is a choice for that (?).

                                      For my friend I'd likely get the two-loop version since I tk she's a newer cook hence might not be trying to wok toss any time soon!

                                      Thanks again,


                                      1. re: iyc_nyc

                                        <Do you have an opinion re: the WS one vs the eWok one?>

                                        I think both of them are very good choices. I have used the eWok one and others here have also. We think eWok's woks are good -- real hand made products. The WS one is said to be made by Cen Lian Gen who has a great reputation.


                                        My guess is that the eWok one will be cheaper (even including shipping) for you, and allows more options. The WS one will allow you to check it in-person and give you a better return policy -- in case you later regret. In addition, you won't have to wait for shipping. If you have a WS nearby, then you may as well just call to see if it has one. If it does, then just take a look.

                                        <If so, do you recommend getting an extra loop handle on the opposite side>

                                        I bought it from taost from ebay. I actually did NOT ask for one, but it came with one nonetheless -- not that I complain about it. The advantages of having an extra loop handle are that it is easier to transport a heavy wok filled with food, and you can hang it on the wall. The disadvantages are that you have one more component to clean and wipe, and it costs an addition $2 I think. If you are not sure, then I say get it.

                                        One last thing. The eWok woks as well as many other woks are sold with only a short hollow steel handle. The reason they do this is to allow you to have the option of (1) simply using it as it is, or (2) install a wooden handle on your own.


                                        The eWok handle is long enough to use it as it is.

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Awesome, thanks as always -- your judgment is always gold!. Btw, quick q -- how is the korean stone pot treating you? (quick because otherwise i should really start a new thread :-)) I really love mine!

                                          1. re: iyc_nyc

                                            Mine works fine. It is pretty cool. However, I have not been using it much, not because it does not work, but because I don't make Korean dishes as often I thought I would. I only used it 2 or 3 times. Thanks for the earlier H-Mart advices on the stone pot.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Chem, a belated thanks for this. Love my stone pot (and Korean food) but it's been relegated to the shelf for now while I get acquainted with my clay pot and pressure cooker. :-)

                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        WS sent out a 15% coupon w/ FS, so I ordered the hand hammered wok. I already have a cast iron one from the Wok Shop that I like very much, but thought it would be helpful to have 2 when cooking large meals. Will report back if I have anything interesting to say about it!

                                        1. re: emily

                                          <WS sent out a 15% coupon w/ FS, so I ordered the hand hammered wok. >

                                          Williams Sonoma? Which one? It has an inexpensive mass production hand hammered wok which I find to be a bit too thin:


                                          and it has a true hand hammered wok:


                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            Hi Chem, WS no longer mentions the wok's affiliation with Cen Lian Gen. Any theories as to why not - do you think this is still the same wok?

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              The hand hammered wok (second link). Assumed it was still Cen Lian Gen's (as I never saw the original affiliation listed on the WS website).

                                              1. re: emily

                                                Based on my memory, I don't remember ever seeing Cen Lian Gen's name listed on WS website. I think the information was only mentioned by others on the internet. They claim that these woks are made by him and that Williams Sonoma salepersonal have confirmed that. Still, I have not read it on the website.


                                                On the other hand, it isn't like most people know who "Cen Lian Gen" is. Putting his name on the link could be confusing for potential customers.

                                      3. I need to reply to this thread as a whole...
                                        I have 2 woks that i got from Ewoks in China that are flat bottomed woks. I have an electric stove...
                                        I love them. I wanted some smaller and larger woks but Ewoks are no longer making them... So my search went on. I talked with Lane Chan at The Wok Shop, and found out she was selling some flat bottomed, steel handled woks that were made in the USA.

                                        The woks are here: http://wokshop.stores.yahoo.net/flbop...

                                        I just received them. I seasoned them using the Flax Seed oil method..and I used my Weber Grill as the "oven" as my oven was too small for the larger wok (16 inches).

                                        I used 5 cycles or coatings of flax seed to season my woks. I used the first one tonight to stir fry some Brussel's Sprouts with Lap Choeng... The wok performed flawlessly on my electric stove. Great heat

                                        absorption, even heating, and it cleaned up easily with just an abrasive scrubber and no soap in the sink. This was both a testimony to the wok and to the seasoning method.

                                        I have nothing but good things to say about the woks from www.wokshop.com.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: wabi

                                          Wabi, would you be interested in selling one of your flat bottomed e-woks at a premium price...?

                                          1. re: toddster63

                                            Toddster....I appreciate your kind offer, but my e-woks are my go to woks. I love them.

                                            1. re: wabi

                                              Yeah, I figured you would never part with them—but I am trying with any and everyone that has one of these God-awufully rare FB e-woks...!

                                              I have the new USA POW wok you mentioned, and it's nice enough, but I really wanted one of those flat bottomed e-woks. On the other hand, if they are all hand made (to order), why not just make the flat bottomed as people order them? They produce fine woks, but this flat bottom fiasco has made me really wonder about their "hand made to order" claim...?

                                              I mean, again, if they are made to order entirely by hand, why not just make a flat bottom for the clients as they want them..?!

                                              I wish they would at least remove the flat bottom picks and ordering pages from their website...!

                                              Can you tell I'm developing a chip on my shoulder regarding this? Ha!

                                        2. If anyone wants to email the e-wok people and request that they start back in production with the flat bottomed hand hammered woks, please contact them at:


                                          Thanks, all the help given is most appreciated...!

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: toddster63

                                            Yep, I have have already emailed e-wok a few hours ago just to ask if they are really giving up flat bottom woks for good.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              I emailed them just several weeks ago before I bought the new flat bottomed woks from the Wok Shop. I think it would be worth it for anyone reading this thread who has even the smallest interest in a flat bottomed hand hammered wok to email the e-wok folks. Perhaps they will hear our cry.

                                              All that said the fit and finish of the new Wok Shop flat bottom peking pans are better...but true to my name, I like the wabi of the e-wok woks.

                                              1. re: wabi

                                                The thing that annoys me about the new USA Peking style woks is that the company stopped making them with a nice thick "pad" at the base. I have their classic Cantonese model with two elephant ear handles, bought it from Tane three years ago (but they have made this thick heavy model for decades), and it has a much thicker base that holds more heat and makes the wok noticeably heavier than the newer models. My new Peking style is the same exact bowl design (which is the best of all the flat bottoms in terms of preserving the fluid motion of cooking in a rounded wok), but much lighter—I'm talking it weighs a full pound less than my older Cantonese style. I really wanted the same heavy wok with a metal handle and was disappointed when it came much thinner than my older model...

                                          2. The thing though about real hand hammered woks (not the half-ass Cantonese "hand hammered" export that is just a pressed wok that is then artfully touched by hammer here and there) is the all over rougher texture left by the hammering. The tiny pits and valleys and bumps and craters holds seasoning better and deeper than a more uniform machined surface, and tends to build up seasoning faster (akin to cast iron) as food and oil molecules get snagged by the irregular patterns and makes a surface that is un-even and slick—making it hard for food to stick to (I mean Chem, the starter of this thread made fried rice in a newly seasoned baby of this sort and NO sticking! Un-heard of! I never make fried rice until a wok is at least 6 months old or STICK-EREENO!)

                                            Combined with the "lumps" of seasoning—well, these woks make for the best woks in terms of non-stick and for the flavor, or what I think is the real secret of wok-hei, that the seasoning brings...! Cantonese home cooks know too that high temps alone can't give you wok hei—that a well seasoned wok is the real secret (and many of them swear by the traditional thin Chinese cast iron woks that also have a very irregular "bumpy" surface.

                                            The person that taught me much of my Chinese cookery had one of these entirely hand made woks from 1960's that had 30+ years of seasoning and use and MY GOD the flavor of anything out of the wok really was incredible...!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: toddster63

                                              <The tiny pits and valleys holds seasoning better and deeper than a more uniform surface>

                                              If that is the major beneficial difference, then both a real hand hammered wok and a spun wok finished with hammered marks can provide you the rough surface. Tane Chan offers those, but they look superficial and frankly unattractive -- when look closely:


                                              Ultimately, I think both hand hammered and machine spun woks can produce good results. Afterall, most restaurants do not just buy hand hammered woks. The reason I liked the hand hammered woks from e-wok are really two folds. First, they are simply great woks with good dimensions. Mine is reasonably thick, but not too thick. It is thick enough that I cannot easily bend the wok, unlike the thin wok I got from Williams Sonoma. That WS wok is light and thin.


                                              The e-wok is yet not too thick that I cannot use it to toss foods. The curvature is exactly how I like it. Second, it is a hand made product which truly has an artistic to it -- especially this is becoming a dying art.

                                              I have just received email from e-wok (Hua Sunn) an hour ago. He has confirmed that they no longer carry the flat bottom wok. I wrote back and told him that he should really consider removing these flat bottom wok options from the website.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                In order to keep to keep up the public demand, I just sent them an email asking that they continue to keep making flat bottom woks. In all honesty...I would most likely buy another small and large hand hammered wok from them if they offered them.

                                                1. re: wabi

                                                  Hey Wabi—what is the diameter of the flat area on your most average (14"?) e-wok? Also how tall is the bowl? Thanks...!

                                            2. Does anyone know if e-woks is still in business? Have been trying to order a wok and have not had any luck. Tried to email them but did not get a reply.

                                              30 Replies
                                              1. re: UncleRon

                                                I don't know for sure. I contacted them last Oct, and they were still in business back then. Its ebay shop (as far as I know) updated since middle of last Nov. When did you email them? I would email them again if it has been >3 days. Sometime emails get lost.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  It was only last night. What worries me is all the errors I keep getting when I try to check out at the end of the order. Then when I try to create an account I get more errors. This is my first wok and I wanted to get it right the first time. Maybe I aimed too high and I should just get a stamped out Model-T instead of a Lamborghini.

                                                  1. re: UncleRon

                                                    :) Well, there are some ebay ones too.

                                                    eWok at one point has a eBay shop and I actually bought my wok through the eBay shop (because it was cheaper that way). How did I know? Because I emailed eWok and then the eBay shop and they were confirmed to the same shop. That eBay store has since closed for a long while.

                                                    HwaHart has the same woks listed, so you can ask if their are from the same as eWok. The account appears to be active as people are still writing feedbacks.

                                                    <Maybe I aimed too high and I should just get a stamped out Model-T instead of a Lamborghini.>

                                                    Many machine stamped woks will work well too. I just wanted something slightly nicer and something hand made, but there is no reason why a machine wok won't be nearly as good or just as good for cooking. Good luck.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      "Many machine stamped woks will work well too. I just wanted something slightly nicer and something hand made"

                                                      I too appreciate the look of the hand made hammered wok. So few useful objects are made by hand these days. The ebay storefront has the 14" Peking style but I need the extra loop for the pot rack. I will be patient and try again in a few days.

                                                      1. re: UncleRon

                                                        <The ebay storefront has the 14" Peking style but I need the extra loop for the pot rack. I will be patient and try again in a few days.>

                                                        I understand. When I bought my hand hammered wok, I didn't want the extra loop handle. Guess what? Mine came in with a loop handle regardless. I really didn't care one way or the other. My point is that the seller may have one with a loop handle. Write the eBay seller an email. Whoever first able to get the product you want, you can buy the wok from it. Good luck.

                                                        I agree with toddster. e-woks usually takes about 2 days to reply.

                                                2. re: UncleRon

                                                  E-woks takes a few days to reply to emails. I would not trust that WWW site as they are still selling flat bottomed woks, and they do NOT manufacture nor sell flat bottom woks anymore—but they will take your money for them on their site...?

                                                  You can buy them through a seller on ebay (search for hand hammered wok). I think that would be a safer bet...! I would hold off on paying for it until you contact them through ebay about the additional helper handle being added...

                                                  1. re: UncleRon

                                                    I've been trying to order a wok from them for a while now too and had the same web site issues (returning an error message); and have not gotten any response to the 2-3 emails I sent them at least 1-2 months ago. Please keep us posted re: whether they respond to you!

                                                    1. re: iyc_nyc

                                                      OK, maybe I will email them as well. :)

                                                      1. re: iyc_nyc

                                                        I emailed the ebay vendor yesterday about a loop being available. I would rather have the e-wok hand hammered but may just get an inexpensive one from the Web Restaurant Store.


                                                        Since this is my first wok maybe that is what I should get. Would hate to ruin a nice wok.

                                                        1. re: UncleRon

                                                          <Since this is my first wok maybe that is what I should get. Would hate to ruin a nice wok.>

                                                          Getting an inexpensive wok is certainly a good starting point. However, this particular one maybe a bit too cheap, and I don't mean the price. It is a 18 gauge steel, which means it is about 1mm thick. If possible, look for something thicker, like 16 or 14 gauge -- something closer to but not necessary exceed 2 mm. Good luck.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            The ebay store hwamart replied to my email about the extra loop. Says no problem! So it's ordered and my journey begins! Hand hammered in the traditional manner, 14" round bottom Pow Wok with extra loop. Now to learn how to cook in it. :-)

                                                            Just want to send a big Thank You! to all the posters here for sharing your knowledge. It is much appreciated.

                                                            1. re: UncleRon

                                                              :) Thanks for letting us know. I emailed e-wok and Hwamart as well. I am sure they are the same person. Why do I say that? Because they both told me that they are pregnant and feeling sick. :P

                                                              From e-Wok

                                                              "So sorry for such delay. I am pregnant and I feel so much sick all the time...."

                                                              From Hwamart:

                                                              "sorry, i am pregrent so i got limited energy to answer all the emails....."

                                                              You got the 14" Pow Wok? That is the same I have order too. Well, really, they often in centimeter, and there are two size which comes close to 14". The 34 cm (13.4") and the 36 cm (14.2"). I have the 36 cm diameter one. Good luck.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Chem, which ems did you use for each of them? So odd that I have yet to get a response. I was asking about putting in an order for several woks, and my emails were brief and to the point (?!).

                                                                1. re: iyc_nyc

                                                                  I didn't use anything special. For e-wok, I used the "contact us" page, which I assume you probably did. Shoot them another email.


                                                                  It is possible that this lady is working her email mailbox backward (from the latest to the earliest) or that she simply lost your mail. It is also my belief that the eBay store is connect to the same people. Good luck.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    I want to get the wok from E wok. It's been two days and no one reply my email. Are they still in business?

                                                                    1. re: Luckymama

                                                                      Well, sometime it takes awhile for them to write back. Last time it has something to do with baby and pregnancy. I don't know if they are in business, but I would shot another email. I think it is a very one-man or one-woman operation.

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        I got a reply yesterday and they will be sending me a 14" wok on May 2. It will take a month since I'm in NYC. I also ordered the chopping board and wok accessories and they don't sell it any more so I got a refund for that.

                                                                        1. re: Luckymama

                                                                          Oh thank you so much for letting us know. Yes, the shipping takes awhile. Please let us know how the wok turns out for you. When I got it, it has a little rust on the handle. Not deep rust, but I had to use papertowel to clean it a bit. Nothing like sandpaper.

                                                                          As for the shopping board and wok accessories, you can find some good one in NYC for sure. I am sure you can get one of these chopping blocks. Assuming if you really want one:


                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              Where did you buy this chopping block? How big is it?

                                                                              1. re: Luckymama

                                                                                Mine is 14" in diameter. 5" thick. You can find these in major Chinatowns. I have seen them in SF Chinatown. I bought mine from the Wokshop



                                                                                the shipping fee will be more than the product price.

                                                                                Did you say that you live in NY? You can definitely find them in NY Manhattan Chinatown. If you don't know where to look, just ask one of those Chinese BBQ shops where they get theirs.

                                                                                These whole wood blocks are specialized tools. You need to properly handle the or they will split.

                                                                                There are something close:



                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  Hi, I received my wok from ewok yesterday. It's really a good looking hand made wok. It came only in bubble wrap with one handle sticking out. They claimed that this is an iron handhammered wok. Is it really iron or is it carbon steel?

                                                                                  What's the best way to season the wok? I'm thinking of just following the instructions on seasoning on their website.

                                                                                  1. re: Luckymama

                                                                                    Looks gorgeous, Lucky...

                                                                                    They often refer to carbon steel as iron in China, and often their "alloy recipes": have a tad more iron in them. But it is essentially carbon steel. Carbon steel is essentially a steel recipe with a touch more iron in it...

                                                                                    1. re: Luckymama

                                                                                      Hey. Nice photos. I have asked the them the same question. Despite the fact that they call these "iron" woks, they are carbon steel woks in term of composition. The reason is more of a language thing. The Chinese classify their steel a little bit different.

                                                                                      <What's the best way to season the wok? I'm thinking of just following the instructions on seasoning on their website.>

                                                                                      I did not know there are instructions on their website. In the most general term, I seasoned my wok on the stovetop, not in the oven.

                                                          2. re: UncleRon

                                                            E-Woks is still in business.

                                                            I bought a wok on Nov 27th, asked a question about it, and got a response by Dec 2nd.

                                                            47 days later (!), I e-mailed to ask where my wok was, given that they told me that it would ship out on Dec 2nd, and they responded one day later, stating that it hadn't shipped until Dec. 23rd.

                                                            I just got it on Jan 17th, and it was mailed in bubble wrap only, which had torn around the handles. Subsequently, there was a split rivet in one of the handles. Although the wok itself (minus the split rivet) is beautiful, I am quite irritated over the whole process.

                                                            If you buy one, be prepared to wait, and maybe be prepared to accept flaws. Here are a few alternate e-mail addresses for them (customerservice@e-woks.com or hua.sunn@gmail.com).

                                                            1. re: jessicatok

                                                              The shipping is definitely slow. I am sorry to hear about the split rivet. Is that a rivet within the handle or a rivet between the handle and the wok? For those who want a two handles wok, Williams Sonoma sells 14" hand hammered woks made by a famous wok maker.


                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                Unfortunately, it's the rivet between the handle and the wok. It's not the *worst* split, but at the same time, I am hoping to season the heck out of this thing and then keep it forever, and anything that raises a question as to its durability gives me pause.

                                                                I saw the Cen Lian Gen wok from WS, per your thread with another Chowhounder (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862973), but another $100 ante isn't in the cards right now. However, many thanks for memorializing the link to the WS wok -- this way I won't have to remember the name and location, which will be a plus if this e-wok wok shells out after a few years.

                                                                In the meantime, I spent four hours seasoning the new wok in the oven at 500 degrees, then my husband and I spent some time rotating it around on our 17,000 btu burner, which filled our poor house with smoke, but gave the thing a pretty fair coat of seasoning.

                                                                The picture below is the light brown color of the oven seasoning, but we didn't get a good picture of the blackened wok.

                                                                1. re: jessicatok

                                                                  Phew. It does not look too bad at all. :) I won't worry too much about it. It looks more of a cosmetic fault than a real structural problem.

                                                                  Moreover, you have the so called Cantonese style wok which most people do not rely the handle for tossing and flipping food. As you can see from this original post, mine is a the so called Peking style wok. The rivets on the long handle will be important because the wok will be constantly use to toss food. I tried to use the Cantonese woks a few times and I even have two of them with me now, but I just have problem using them to toss foods. It really hurt my thumb. Yes, thumb -- where it locks on the handle. :)

                                                                  <if this e-wok wok shells out after a few years.>

                                                                  It will be fine. :)

                                                                  <In the meantime, I spent four hours seasoning the new wok in the oven at 500 degrees>

                                                                  Did you just get the wok?

                                                                  <The picture below is the light brown color of the oven seasoning, but we didn't get a good picture of the blackened wok.>

                                                                  Nah, I think the last photo is really good.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    <It does not look too bad at all>
                                                                    Thank goodness! My husband said that if it came out, he'd figure out how to re-rivet it, so not to worry.

                                                                    <Did you just get the wok?>
                                                                    Yep, Thursday. Luckily, I had a long weekend to goof around with it.

                                                                    <...Cantonese style wok...>
                                                                    Of course! I was happily set on getting the Cantonese wok instead of the Peking/Pow -- my family is southern Chinese. I can't easily toss foods, so I just "chaun" a lot instead.

                                                                    1. re: jessicatok

                                                                      <my family is southern Chinese>

                                                                      My too, which is why I tried hard to use the Cantonese style wok, but at the end, the single handle wok works better for me. Good luck and have fun. Please let us know if it works/not works for you.

                                                          3. Just to add my 2 cents...I found that those guys take about 2 days to reply as well..but were very nice. I agree, their website sucks. When I bought my flat bottom woks several years ago, I could not get Paypal to work through their website. After several emails were exchanged, I got a correct Paypal address and forwarded them the funds. The woks arrived safely in the mail. I really do like their flat bottomed wok, and will surely use it forever.

                                                            That said, the flat bottom Pow woks now offered from the Wok Shop are VERY comparable and a great bargain. They can be found here:


                                                            I bought 2 of them, a 12 and a 14 inch, and have been using them as well.

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: wabi

                                                              I agree that the new USA made POW wok is a nice wok. However I own this wok and the more classic wooden handled model from the same manufacturer, each bought from Tane at the Wok shop, and I gotta say I prefer this one:


                                                              It the "classic" wood handled model, but has a thicker "pad" of steel around the bottom flat area than the new POW model. It truly does cook hotter and preform better on my electric stove than the new one metal handled POW wok.

                                                              I talked to Tane about this, and she says it isn't so, that they are made to same standards at this US manufacturer; however I have had several friends (including an automotive engineer) witness and agree that the more classical wooden handled model does indeed have a thicker more steel padded bottom area. And I can testify that it does hold more heat, and so gets hotter and therefore cooks better on my electric coil stove.

                                                              I also have an older "Cantonese" style wok by this manufacturer (with the same round bowl shape), with the two metal elephant ear handles, and it too has the nice heavy padded bottom area. It seems to be only the new POW wok model that does not have the thicker padded bottom.

                                                              My .02 cents of experience...

                                                              1. re: toddster63

                                                                I have used all three sizes of the US made carbon steel with helper handle from Tane. 16", 14" and 12". I started wit 16", and then 14" and finally 12". They are reasonably good wok, but I personally still find this hand made wok to be better. No, it is not because it is hand made. As mentioned in my original post, it just seem to have the curvature I prefer and the thickness

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  A little off the wok subject, but a friend found an old 2 ft x 2 ft cast iron table for next to nothing and mounted a cheap ($50) 50,000 plus BTU burner on it. Burner had a wok ring. He uses it outside with propane & it screams fire to the point of being scary. Need an oven mitt. All the smoke and mess blow away in the wind.

                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                    That sounds really good! How about a picture? Would love to see that.

                                                                    1. re: UncleRon

                                                                      It will be a while before I see him to take a picture, but the burners are can be had/seen online. Bayou Classic & Alpha are 2 I have researched.

                                                                      Planning to build an outdoor kitchen....galv metal Studs, thin masonry board followed by light weight stick-um cultured stones & granite tile top.

                                                                      My old Big Green Egg....med gas grill like a 3 burner Cal Flame....high BTU side burner like above. Figure on leaving a cut out under the burner and lining it with cheap 1/2 thickness fire brick. Same will radiate heat up & can be replaced easily/cheaply is stuff is spilled.

                                                                      My project is pretty ambitious, but these super high BTU burners also come with legs and look pretty reasonable & portable.

                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                        Looked up the Bayou Classic at Walmart. What caught my eye is " Cooks at 185,000 BTUs ". That is Hot!

                                                                        1. re: UncleRon

                                                                          That will season your Wok! There was one that was stainless and would probably tolerate being left outside with with some type of cover. The ones with legs could be stored in a shed. It obviously could be used for many things but it looks perfect for "serious" wok cooking and a 1/4 the price of a 15K BTU side burner from say Cal Flame.

                                                                    2. re: Tom34

                                                                      In my experience over the last 3 years with about 5 different outdoor wok burners, the American cast iron burners (anything from Bayou) are really over-rated in fire power. Yes, they are HOT, no doubt, but 185K, well NO, it just isn't so. And you just don't need this much heat anyway. Chinese restaurants use this much heat, but it's very sporadically; the heat is turned on and off with either the cook's feet or knees. The food is rarely over this much direct heat for long—otherwise it would burn and the wok's seasoning would vaporize and leave bare carbon steel. You can see this on many YouTube videos of professional Chinese cooks.

                                                                      The best high temp outdoor wok burner I have used is the one I got from an Asian kitchen supply store for $59 (it's also sold all over the internet, including Ebay, for almost double this price). It supposedly is rated at 119K tops, who knows—but I can tell you that turned all the way up it's just too hot and I can't cook on max for more than about twenty seconds or so at a time—which was not true for the 185K Bayou I used. The Bayou could take more like a full minute before burning and damaging my beloved woks, not to mention charred food.

                                                                      I like to use this Taiwanese burner at about half of it's power, and even then I need to remove the wok from the burner (usually while tossing the food) about every 30 seconds or so, or the food will start to char too much and my seasoning gets too jeopardized. Using this burner at high is just out of the question, unless you only keep the food over the burner for no longer than 20 seconds or so, and then you still really have to watch it. The wok sits very low to the flame on these wok burners, and they are very powerful.

                                                                      These Taiwanese wok burners are inexpensive, have an automatic igniter, and are fairly easy to adjust the temp/flame (though not ideal—the knob takes a little finesse if you want to go medium-low.) But it is by far the best outdoor woking solution I have found, and at $59 it was a bargain too (the same store had great woks for $7-$12!)

                                                                      I set this burner up on a $20 wire table from Home Depot, and it works great. I zip tied the propane cord along the back of the wire table for neatness, and it looks great and tidy. I love it!

                                                                      Here are some pics:

                                                                      1. re: toddster63

                                                                        Looks great! Any chance of seeing a few pictures of it burning at diff temps?

                                                                        For my outdoor kitchen, I am considering a good commercial star burner for normal stove top cooking & a flame thrower for a wok or big stock pot.

                                                                        If properly supported, do you think your burner would be stable enough for a large stock pot and would the flame pattern match up ok with a big pot?

                                                                    3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      <<"...but I personally still find this hand made wok to be better. No, it is not because it is hand made. As mentioned in my original post, it just seem to have the curvature I prefer and the thickness...">>

                                                                      Yeah, it really sucks that the flat bottomed ewoks are are no longer available! Would LOVE to have one....!

                                                                      1. re: toddster63

                                                                        I am sure someone out there makes it. Just have to hunt down the makers.

                                                                2. Do you like having the extra loop?

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jp96

                                                                    In some cases, it is nice to have the extra loop handle to move the wok around (when it is full). However, it is not necessary most of the time.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      Thanks. Any idea if taoist is still around on Ebay? Your link above is not working and I searched Ebay.

                                                                      1. re: jp96

                                                                        I know taoist the store is no longer around on eBay. Instead a new eBay store: Hwamart was opened and carried the same hand hammered woks. However, the woks are no longer carried there.

                                                                        It was less than a month ago that hwamart was carrying the woks:


                                                                        If you are really interested, then you should contact hwamart email as well as eWok email address. It usually takes about 2 days before you get a reply, and since the lady said she is preganent, you may even get a slower reply than usual.


                                                                        Now, if the price is not too high for you, and if you are interested, then you should really getting one. Keep in mind that this is very much an artistic work by a skilled artist, and it is somewhat a dying art. They are not mass produced like All Clad or Le Creuset or Calphalon. It is not the kind of cookware which you can say "Hmmm, maybe I should come back and get this wok a year from now". A year from now, they may not sell it anymore.

                                                                  2. Since e-woks is no longer producing flat-bottomed woks, I'm curious if anyone has purchased a ROUND-bottom wok from them?

                                                                    Can you use the round-bottom wok on a gas stove? Can you use it on the gas stove without a wok ring?

                                                                    Thanks in advance!

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: althalius

                                                                      I bought a round-bottom wok with the extra loop. I use a wok ring because I feel like it's a little bit more secure, but I think it would depend on the size of your grates. Because of the weight of the handle, my wok doesn't sit flat like a flat bottom wok. It just kind of rests in a tilted position. It's secure enough for stir fry, but I don't think I could brave deep frying in it as it is.

                                                                      1. re: althalius

                                                                        Round bottom woks work great on gas stoves. But as to wether you need a wok ring or not--that is very dependent on your stove configuration. Some stoves have great burner grates that fit round bottomed woks just fine and no ring required. Other stoves, NO--the burner grate makes the wok too wobbly and you need a wok ring for sure. It's very variable. Some stove manufacturers recognize this and make optional accessory specialized wok burner grates made for round bottomed woks on their stoves.

                                                                        1. re: althalius

                                                                          I feel lucky to have purchased 2 of their flat bottomed woks before they stopped making them. I use them and they are my "go to" woks.

                                                                          That said, I was anxious to try the Wok Shops US made Pow Wok, so I purchased one...

                                                                          I like it a lot! It's a sturdy wok, that now seasoned, is virtually identical to my e-wok hand hammered wok. I think it's a good deal and a good wok.

                                                                          They can be found here: http://www.wokshop.com/HTML/products/...

                                                                        2. May I ask, is e-wok's shipping time still a long one?

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: iliria

                                                                            I don't know. I assume it is, but your should email e-wok to be sure.

                                                                          2. I ordered my roud bottom wok (with two loop handles) from them and it arrived within 2 weeks (which is quite fast considering that it was over Christmas period). I am really happy with the quality of craftmanship and how nice the wok looks. Does anyone have any instructions/advice how to season the wok please? I have heard that there are two options: on the stove and in the oven? Also once you have cooked with the wok I assume that you wash it with sponge and washing up liquid and then season it again? Or do you just coat the inside and outside with a layer of oil?

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: iliria

                                                                              <I ordered my roud bottom wok (with two loop handles) from them and it arrived within 2 weeks>

                                                                              That is really quick for them. I got mine in 4 weeks, and many other people as well.

                                                                              <Does anyone have any instructions/advice how to season the wok please?>

                                                                              I roughly scrubbed the wok with steel wok. Then, I filled the wok with water (80-90% full) and bought it to a boil and keep it boiling for a couple of minutes. Then, carefully pour the hot water out and scrubbed the wok again. Washed and rinsed one more time.

                                                                              After the cleaning, then I started to season.

                                                                              < I have heard that there are two options: on the stove and in the oven?>

                                                                              Yes. I usually do most of my seasoning on the stovetop, but I often include one iteration (just one) in the oven. For example, I may do one quick oven seasoning first. Then proceed the 2-3 repeat seasoning on the stove.

                                                                              <Also once you have cooked with the wok I assume that you wash it with sponge and washing up liquid and then season it again? >

                                                                              You can wash it with soft brush or a sponge with water. Try to avoid heavy detergent in the first week while the seasoning process is still building. After each cooking session, you "can" do a quick mini-seasoning or hot oil coating when the wok is relatively, but it is definitely not required. In other words, you don't need to do a full blown seasoning each time. Either you don't do it at all, or if you do it, do a very quick one: heat up the wok, pour in 2-tablespoon of oil, swirl the oil around, toss the oil.

                                                                              In the long term, you should NOT need to season the wok after each use.

                                                                              <Or do you just coat the inside and outside with a layer of oil?>

                                                                              Just inside. The outside may get seasoned overtime just from cooking, but you don't need to intentionally season the outside.

                                                                              1. re: iliria

                                                                                Avoid soap after seasoning. I use a copper scrubber (not stainless) on tough cleanup. Coarse salt and a little oil also make a nice scrub for carbonized food remains.

                                                                                I used the oven method from a tip by America's Test Kitchen. I used flax seed oil, available from natural foods stores. You only need a small amount, so buy the smallest bottle you can find . Keep it cold in the fridge. The flax oil creates a lacquer-like smooth seasoning layer. I used about 8 baked on very thin layers. Search for flax oil and seasoning on the net for cast iron.

                                                                                All new seasonings are fragile. Avoid acidic foods and soap. Re-season as needed. Over time, the seasoning will strengthen with regular use and good care.

                                                                              2. Here are some pics of the wok before and during being seasoned.

                                                                                Edit: For some reason it only lets me upload one photo.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: iliria

                                                                                    Thanks for the photos. Any problem thus far? Or is the wok working alright?

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      You're welcome. I use a gas stove and the wok rests fine on it without the need for a wok ring. There is some small degree of wobbliness however i dont deep fry so that is not a problem.

                                                                                      I used both methods of seasoning (oven and stove). I bought "Stirfrying to the sky's edge" book in which Grace Young provides quite a thorough explanation on how to season the wok. First I seasoned in the oven for an hour (3x20min intervals) and then I stirfried some ginger on the stove. This provided a good initial seasoning.

                                                                                      The wok heats up really fast and perfectly (at 13500 BTU). I cooked some sprouting broccoli with chinese bacon and chicken and then some egg fried rice. It's the first time that I have managed to cook a decent egg fried rice. And most importantly nothing stuck to the pan.

                                                                                      1. re: iliria

                                                                                        Good to hear. I have a few carbon steel woks before this. I have 3-4 carbon steel from the Wokshop. Two so called hand hammered woks from Williams Sonoma and the Wokshop respectively.

                                                                                        This wok from e-Wok is by far the best I have had. It was easy to season and it has the thickness I like. Of course, being real hand made is a plus too.

                                                                                1. What is the thickness of the wok. Now the e-woks.com is gone, I am curious how does the Artisan Wok measure against the e-wok you have.

                                                                                  36 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: tanvir

                                                                                    Around 1.5 mm or slightly more.

                                                                                    Artisan hand hammered woks from Williams Sonoma should be just as good. They are all fully hand hammered.

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      ...and they are out of stock until June of this year (2014)

                                                                                      (Williams Sonoma Artisan Wok)

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          Thank you for your response. I have one on its way from the Wokshop from 14 gauge sheet.

                                                                                          It is too bad that e-woks.com is out of business. It is a beautiful wok you have reviewed along with other persons who have posted pictures of their e-woks.

                                                                                          1. re: tanvir

                                                                                            I suggest you to buy the next hand hammered wok which you can get hold of. I know so many people keep waiting and waiting, and pondering and pondering. Hand hammered wok is a dying art. these woks aren't even that expensive. A true hand hammered wok is about $40-80, which is cheap when comparing to many cookware.

                                                                                            < I have one on its way from the Wokshop from 14 gauge sheet. >

                                                                                            I know Tane Chan fairly well. I used to shop in her real store when I lived in SF, and I bought so many tools from her after leaving SF. She has some nice woks, but her hand hammered woks are not real hand hammered woks. Frankly, of all the product I bought from her, this is the one dislike the most:


                                                                                            Most of the so called hand hammered woks are not real. Just want to clarify any confusion.

                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              I ordered this one.


                                                                                              What I gathered is that there are 4 or 5 different models of the same wok with different handles. I ordered the one with two metal ear handles.

                                                                                              1. re: tanvir

                                                                                                Ah, these ones should be pretty good. I have their cousins of the single long handle ones.

                                                                                                1. re: tanvir

                                                                                                  Good wok you bought--very thick steel, holds the heat.

                                                                                                  I recommend investing in an Ove Glove, or a good oven mitt, as those "elephant ear" handles can get HOT!

                                                                                                  I love my well seasoned cantonese wok, with the large "hammer marks" and elephant ears--it looks the part SO well, but I hate having to find the glove to touch it when cooking or serving...!

                                                                                                  My primary wok has become the Wok Shop one you ordered, in the heavy steel, with the classic "American" long wooden handle and helper wooden handle on the other side. The flat bottom has become warped (probably due to being used outside on the high temp propane burner), but it still does an admirable job on the electric coil stove (probably because the coils are warped-ish themselves!). All in all, a very versatile wok.

                                                                                                  The bowl design on this wok, with any of it's different handle configurations, has been around for some time, and I think they are still making them right here in the Bay area--Oakland, maybe? I really like the "feel" of this wok's design--just high enough, and even with the perfect sized flat bottom on the flat bottom model, this wok is a pleasure to toss food around in; it feels just about right, fluid like a wok should. I've used some flat bottom woks that lost this feel--that magical dance of the food that is so prevalent in round bottom woks--but this wok's design in the flat bottom model really preserves so much of a wok's fluid moving magic...

                                                                                                  1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                    Thanks for the info. Actually I first ordered the one with a long handle but later asked Tane to change the order with two ear'ed wok. Reason being that I have a limited space. I can almost fit two eared wok's (14 inch in my case) unstacked in the same space as one Wok with long handle. Actually for long handle version of the wok I have ordered it is even less economical in space usage because the handle ends higher than the woke (it is upward slopping). It need more vertical space too.

                                                                                                    I could have ordered one with two short wood handle version of this wok but the wood handle is only on the top of the the handle and the sides of the handle is without insulation. Fingers can accidently touch the bare part of the handle.

                                                                                                    What I am planning to do is to wrap the entire handle in heat resistant fiberglass cloth or silicone tape and the dip the handle in liquid rubber. Hopefully that will take care of the need for glove. At least for minor movements.

                                                                                                    I think I am over thinking the whole thing :-)

                                                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              Has anyone tried out the WS hand hammered flat bottom wok? It is $29.95. The artisan wok only seems to be available with the round bottom.

                                                                                              1. re: jp96

                                                                                                It's a decent stamped and then pounded a few times for artistic effect kinda wok--what we used to call hand hammered before artisians like e-woks should us what TRUE hand hammered woks were like...

                                                                                                What I never liked about the $30 WS flat bottom is the flat bottom is SO SMALL! Like 3"-4"! It would do okay over gas, but forget this one on electric, induction or halogen stoves...!

                                                                                                1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                  I wish the artisan WS came in a flat bottom also...

                                                                                                  1. re: jp96

                                                                                                    Boy, that makes two of us! Still drives me nuts that I never got one of the flat bottomed E-Woks--those were great and so unique. The closest I have found to them are the Yamada woks from Japan, hand made/hammered and very flat (more like a Peking pan really), but pricey ($100) and hard to find...

                                                                                                    1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                      <but pricey ($100) and hard to find>

                                                                                                      Not any more pricey than any All Clad cookware. I think it comes down to if you think you will one often. If you do, get it. It is actually cheap by comparison. $100 for a top notch cookware is actually very cheap. If you do not use a wok often, then don't bother.

                                                                                                2. re: jp96

                                                                                                  <Has anyone tried out the WS hand hammered flat bottom wok?>

                                                                                                  Yes. It was in the link I have just two posts above:


                                                                                                  It is a stamped wok really, and you can get one like that in any Chinese cookware store. Nothing special, not true hand hammered.

                                                                                                  Moreever, I find it too thin.

                                                                                            3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              I have the same measurement for my WS Artisan Hammered one. The weight is 1479.5 g for my 14" wok.

                                                                                            4. re: tanvir

                                                                                              I suspect that Williams Sonoma wont be receiving any more stock of the artisan hammered wok after that. The hammered woks from e-woks are apparently made by the same guy who makes the Williams Sonoma ones. Same guy that was pictured on e-wok's site was the same guy in Grace Young's book and she has stated that his woks are sold by Williams Sonoma. The quality should be identical as its the same guy and since he has closed shop, this should be your last chance to get it.

                                                                                              1. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                <The hammered woks from e-woks are apparently made by the same guy who makes the Williams Sonoma ones. ....>

                                                                                                Yes, I have been suspecting the same thing. On the e-wok site, the guy has the same backyard. See this photo:


                                                                                                < this should be your last chance to get it.>

                                                                                                Yep. Not many hand hammered artisans left out there.

                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                  Definitely the same guy. He even seems to be wearing the same clothes in that photo too lol. I may have to buy another one if he really closed up shop.

                                                                                                  Quite disappointed having heard about this whole e-woks thing today. I was planning on getting their hammered wok chuan and ladle to match my wok but looks like im a little late for that.

                                                                                                  1. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                    <I was planning on getting their hammered wok chuan and ladle to match my wok>

                                                                                                    Ha ha ha. :) I didn't think of that. Well, his woks are extremely nice. I cannot say his woks are best in the world, but definitely the best I have ever came across, and not by a small margin too. His woks are head and shoulder above anything I have seen.

                                                                                                    They just has exactly the geometry and shape I like. The material is good. They are also easy to season for whatever reasons they may be.

                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      I like his work but a little disappointed that he doesn't make any pow woks. The double loop handles take a lot more effort to toss food in but I have to admit, his woks season really well, even much more than my Griswolds which took significantly more time to season.

                                                                                                      1. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                        <a little disappointed that he doesn't make any pow woks>

                                                                                                        What do you mean?

                                                                                                        tlmxyz1 said there are still some pow wok in his post (1 day ago):

                                                                                                        "Double loop

                                                                                                        34CM: USD90

                                                                                                        36CM: USD100

                                                                                                        38CM: USD120

                                                                                                        ONE POW + ONE LOOP ON THE OPPSITE SIDE

                                                                                                        34CM: USD100

                                                                                                        36CM: USD110."

                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                          That completely escaped me. I stand corrected.

                                                                                                          But it looks like they ran out according to jp96. :(

                                                                                                          1. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                            No, you are right. I got the same email. All gone now.

                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                              Your product knowledge + production knowledge + marketing could be quite profitable :-)

                                                                                                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    Are these flat bottomed? Are they any better than those from the Wokshop?

                                                                                                    1. re: jp96

                                                                                                      There used to be flat bottomed versions, but the flat bottom versions ceased to be produced years ago. All the existing ones, I assume, are round bottom.

                                                                                                      I have bought a few Wokshop woks. I actually used to go to the real Wokshop in SF Chinatown when I lived in Bay Area, California. I have bought many stuffs from Tane Chan (owner) throughout the years, from woks to woks accessories to kitchen knives to cutting board.

                                                                                                      In short I have a good relationship with Tane, but these (real) hand hammered woks from eWok are much better than the Wokshop woks. Of course, they are also much more expensive too, so....

                                                                                                      1. re: jp96

                                                                                                        Round. The ones from the wok shop dont seem to be truly hand hammered which is why I passed on them. I have had zero problems with using a round bottom wok as I feel the flat bottom is unnecessary as while it will definitely be more stable on the stove, much of the time, I find myself tossing food much of the time due to the relatively fast pace of wok cooking. When I do leave it idle, it also seems stable enough but that might differ with your stove.

                                                                                                        1. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                          Just got an email from her that the woks are all sold. Oh well.

                                                                                                          1. re: jp96

                                                                                                            Yep, same here. She also told me that they are all sold out. Very unfortunately. I was hoping to get one more.

                                                                                                          2. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                            <The ones from the wok shop dont seem to be truly hand hammered which is why I passed on them>



                                                                                                            I think the ones from wokshop are hand hammered for the look, but not for real construction. Here I have a few photos from a "so called" hand hammered wok from the Wokshop. You can tell it is hammered at the end just for show.


                                                                                                      2. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                        When my EWoks ordered was canceled back in April I immediately ordered the back ordered Williams-Sonoma artisan wok, not expecting to actually receive one (it arrived 2 weeks ago). I'll be sure to compare them when my EWoks arrive in a month or so. I missed the statement in the Grace Young book. Fuchsia Dunlop refers to another disappearing woksmith in her 2009 blog entry here:

                                                                                                        1. re: tlmxyz1

                                                                                                          Thanks for the post. As time goes on, there will be fewer and fewer of craftmanship. Unfortunately change of the social needs. Many decades ago, there were people to fix your broken calculators. Now, there is no such occupation. It is much easier to buy a new calculator for $10 than to try to fix it for $30.

                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                            Might be a good business to start now. Most high school and college students nowadays use ti-83, ti-84, and ti-89 calculators which cost $100. I have several broken calculators sitting in my house right now.

                                                                                                          2. re: tlmxyz1

                                                                                                            I would love to get that man's wok. The ergonomics seem perfect which is a fault I found with the double loop handled wok.

                                                                                                      3. Has e-woks closed? It seems like the link to their website does not work anymore for some reason.

                                                                                                        46 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: iliria

                                                                                                          Yeah, they are gone now...

                                                                                                          You can still get a hand made wok, from Williams Sonoma, called the "artisan wok" ($99).

                                                                                                              1. re: VeganVick

                                                                                                                No. Thanks for the link. The website looks very organized. However, it seems like the selection is very limited.

                                                                                                            1. re: iliria

                                                                                                              I placed an order with EWoks right before they shutdown and they canceled my order. Then the other day I received the following email from Hua Sun (hua.sunn@gmail.com). I order 4 woks:

                                                                                                              Dear Tim,

                                                                                                              Very sorry for the delayed reply. Our wok guys have stopped hammering so we have stopped our business. We have several woks in stock. Price are below if you are interested.

                                                                                                              Double loop

                                                                                                              34CM: USD90

                                                                                                              36CM: USD100

                                                                                                              38CM: USD120

                                                                                                              ONE POW + ONE LOOP ON THE OPPSITE SIDE

                                                                                                              34CM: USD100

                                                                                                              36CM: USD110.

                                                                                                              Price includes shipping. It will take 1 month or so to delivery. Please let me know at your earliest convenience. Our paypal: hwamart_uk@hotmail.com.

                                                                                                              Warm regards,


                                                                                                              1. re: tlmxyz1

                                                                                                                I regret missing out on these hand hammered woks. I just got the same email from them last week in response to an inquiry from a month or two ago.

                                                                                                                1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                  Same here, i have had no luck finding one other then the artisan one at Williams Sonoma. It's hard for me to believe that there are no other wok craftsman in China but since I can't verify that in person I thought I should go ahead and order a few. They just confirmed shipping, 1 month or more.

                                                                                                                  1. re: tlmxyz1

                                                                                                                    <go ahead and order a few>

                                                                                                                    A few?

                                                                                                                    <there are no other wok craftsman in China>

                                                                                                                    It is just not a very profitable career. I mean in the West like US. You can sell some really expensive hand hammered cookware for hundreds and thousands of dollars. In China, hand hammering woks making is a dying art. Hand hammered woks are sold for like maybe $20. (you are paying $100 because of the middle man and the shipping) Until people are willing to pay more, it is not a great career. You probably get better pay for operating a food truck.

                                                                                                                    1. re: tlmxyz1

                                                                                                                      The hammered woks at both e-woks AND williams sonoma are made by Cen Lian Gen and his brother. You dont have to worry about the wok from Williams Sonoma being inferior as its the same maker.

                                                                                                                      1. re: tlmxyz1

                                                                                                                        I have wanted one of those hand-hammered E-woks for a while now. When I received that e-mail a week ago, I read it mean that no longer had any hand-hammered woks but that they had some other regular woks, so I took no action. It wasn't until this thread when I realized that they did have some stock on hand-hammered woks still, but I missed out on it. I have subsequently ordered a Williams Sonoma artisan wok now that I've been reasonably-assured that it is the same quality/make. I was looking forward to pow wok to compliment my existing cast iron cantonese-style Wokshop wok, but I am happy to be getting one, no matter the style, while they are still available.

                                                                                                                        The Williams Sonoma wok didn't seem to be the best value compared to the E-woks ($99 vs $44), but Williams Sonoma offers free shipping on the order which comes out to about the same price as Hua's most-recent e-mail of final stock.

                                                                                                                        1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                          I see what you mean, easily misread. I think you will be happy with the WS artisan one, it's very solid. I also purchased a hand hammered wok from Wasserstrom.com. It looks hand hammered but I'm still a little skeptical. But since it's only $19 + s/h for an 18" I thought it was worth it hand hammered or not. I still need to season it but I have to say it's seems decent.

                                                                                                                          1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                            Same here. Been following this thread from the beginning but always thought maybe, some day, some time. This seemed to be the time. I was afraid that WS might be out of stock, but my order went through so I have high hopes. I like my very well seasoned, inexpensive, flat-bottomed wok from Chinatown well enough, but I also know the pleasure I get from cooking with my higher quality cookware. I figure I've spent $100 on much more ephemeral stuff that couldn't last anywhere near as long as this will.

                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                              The Williams Sonoma one should be made with very high quality. It is by the famous wok makers: Cen brothers

                                                                                                                              I know my hand hammered wok is head and shoulder better than other woks. These hand hammered woks are also very much artisan -- absolutely hand made from start to finish. Cen can makes about a few woks a day: "He can make two to three woks a day."


                                                                                                                              I wanted to buy another from e-wok, but unfortunately they are all sold out. The Williams Sonoma one is well-made, but I don't like the two handles one. I like the single handle "pow" style.

                                                                                                                              Cen was 57 when the CNN article was written in 2009, so he may be retired for good last year at age 61.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                I've always used, and thought preferred, a "pow" style wok. And I've never had a round-bottomed one. Nonetheless, I'm very excited about this and am eager to see how it works on my new range with a power-boil feature that I hope will get me closer to the elusive wok hei.

                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                  In my opinion, the pow wok is much better for tossing food. If you are not going to toss food, then the two handles wok may be better because it is more stable.

                                                                                                                                  I like to toss foods, but most people don't, so it may not be an issue for you at all.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                    I would love to toss food but missed out on the cen brothers pow woks available. Maybe I'll end up with another one one of these days. I will keep using the spatula with my cantonese-style wok for now.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                    JoanN, I think you'll prefer the round bottom wok in the end--the food moves and "dances" better in them, and I think they get hotter, too. Something about the round shape that captures more of the heat.

                                                                                                                                    I love the versatility and convenience of my flat bottom woks, but it's just more joyous and, well, FUN, to stir fry in the round bottom...! Make sure you have a wok spatula (chuan), as they really sing in the round bottoms.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                      Love the idea of my food "dancing." Makes me happy. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                      I've tried to learn to toss, but my wrists just aren't strong enough. Much easier for me to use a spatula. I originally (many years ago) bought a large 17-1/2" spatula, but that didn't seem the right size for my 14" wok, so I now use a 14" spatula and that seems a perfect fit. And it's easier for me to manipulate.

                                                                                                                                      I'm curious, though, about the difference between using a chuan (spatula) and a hoak (ladle) in a round-bottomed wok. Does it make a difference? In Chinese restaurants it seems they always use a ladle rather than a spatula. Anyone know why?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                        <I'm curious, though, about the difference between using a chuan (spatula) and a hoak (ladle) in a round-bottomed wok. Does it make a difference?>

                                                                                                                                        I like to use a chuan (ladle) too. I tried the spatula again, but it didn't work as well for me, so I switched back to the chuan again.

                                                                                                                                        As for restaurant, I think that is because a lot of chefs use the ladle also for grabbing ingredients: oil, soy sauce, salt, sugar, meat....etc. Scoop things in and out of the woks. Basically, better for food transfer especially for someone with a good experience.

                                                                                                                                        Here is one video:


                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                          Good point about the grabbing of ingredients. I may try a ladle once I get the new wok. Goodness knows, they're inexpensive enough. If I don't like it, no great loss.

                                                                                                                                          ETA: Just looked up ladles on the wok shop site and they imply that they're more for serving soups and sauces than for stir-frying. You're using yours for regular stir-frying, right?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                            Yeah, you should able to get a "chuan" or "wok ladle" for $4-10.

                                                                                                                                            If you don't like it as a wok ladle, you can always use it for something else, like a ladle for stock pot for soup....etc.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                              Just to add one more point since our buddy toddster mentioned his experience wok spatula.

                                                                                                                                              A woks spatula is not quiet the same as a regular western spatula.



                                                                                                                                              A tip/edge of a wok spatula is curved, not straight. This is to accommodate the curvature of wok. In addition, the two sides of a wok spatula are curved up. This design to help scoop things up.

                                                                                                                                              P.S.: I spelled my ladle wrong. I should used the word "hoak". Instead, I was calling them chuan. Just to be clear again, I am using hoak, the wok ladle.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                Yes, I know. Although still very much an amateur, I've been cooking Chinese food for quite a long time. (Ever since, in fact, I worked with Florence Lin on her "Chinese Regional Cookbook" in 1974.) As I mentioned above, I've been using a chuan, but was just curious about those of you who prefer the hoak.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                  Got it. I probably mixed up your post with another person's.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                            Here's my two cents after using and owning not only an extensive collection of woks (22 so far), but a big collection of spatulas and ladles--and using them together (and from watching hours of YouTube videos)...

                                                                                                                                            As CK mentioned, restaurant chefs use ladles almost exclusively as they are measuring out seasoning ingredients from big open bowls with them (they need to work very quickly at the high temps they are using). I don't do this at home--I keep my soy and oyster sauces in the bottles they came in, and measuring my sauces out into small Chinese condiment bowls, and then toss in when stir frying. So that use of the ladle doesn't work for me at home at all...

                                                                                                                                            Also, I've stir fried on varying heat sources ranging from 5K to 100,000K BTUs, and on the higher sources (outside on my propane wok burner), you need more oil (as it just vaporizes quickly at the those higher temps), and things stick to wok's surfaces much less--even the seasoning will start to burn off at temps over 50,000K (but in restaurants, when you might be using the wok 100+ times per day, it will season itself in a matter of hours). The ladle works much better at these higher temps when nothing sticks, and in the round bottom woks can actually contribute to the "dance" feeling a little bit...

                                                                                                                                            But for most home uses, I much, much prefer the wok spatula. I mostly cook outdoors on my propane wok burner set to about 35,000K BTUs--what I consider the ideal sweet spot for my stir fries. Not so hot that things will burn unless you are in constant motion, but hot enough to easily create great wok hei in a 14" wok. I like to let my meat caramelize ala Grace Young for 20-30 seconds on each side (BIG fan of the Maillard reaction), and the spatula is much better for digging under the meat and then turning it over in even layers. If you are tossing and "POWING", the spatula isn't as crucial while stir frying, and the ladle can work well too.

                                                                                                                                            For indoors, on the lower temp electrical range with the my flat bottom woks, where things tend to stick a bit more, I consider the ladles just about worthless, except maybe on my very oldest woks with highly seasoned surfaces that stick less. On the lower heat ranges, with flat bottom woks (or even round bottoms on lower heat gas ranges), the wok spatula is imperative in my humble opinion...!

                                                                                                                                            It's also just a matter of what feels right, and stir fry affectionados should try everything and see what they prefer. I know Grace Young likes to use a fish spatula, and I've tried that and it works well, but really do like my wok spatula most of all (specifically the smaller one with a bamboo handle I got at Sur La Table!)

                                                                                                                                            Hope this helps...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                              Yes, it helps tremendously. Thank you.

                                                                                                                                              I can't imagine cooking with 35,000 BTUs. Even the 17,000 I get from my power boil burner is sometimes more than I'm able to keep up with. I, too, do the Grace Young caramelization thing quite often, and I can see how the spatula would be indispensable in that instance. And I nearly always season the wok just before cooking with it, per Dunlop, which I find allows me to use far less oil than is called for in many recipes and really does help keep food from sticking.

                                                                                                                                              I suspect I'll prefer stir-frying with the spatula since that's what I've become used to. But we'll see once the new wok arrives.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                Thanks, toddster. Good explanation of different uses for spatulas and ladles.


                                                                                                                                                1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                  I agree with you completely, I find the chuan more useful not only for turning large amounts of meat over after searing but also for stirring around the bits of minced garlic and ginger before they incinerate from the high heat, look for one with a very long handle!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tlmxyz1

                                                                                                                                                    Ha, ha so true! I used to start my stir fries with the classic method of adding the ginger and/or garlic to the oil before the food--but on high heat, that just DUN'T work!

                                                                                                                                                    Now with high, high heat, I add the ginger, and particularly garlic, almost at the very end--it's the only way to get the flavor without incinerating the ginger and gariic for sure...!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                      Check out this article here:


                                                                                                                                                      It takes practice and trial and error. I'm constantly adjusting my flame and using the chaun to keep the garlic and ginger in constant motion, spreading it all around the wok in the oil. If I'm using a pow wok I'll sometimes need to lift it off the flame.

                                                                                                                                          3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                            Hi CK,

                                                                                                                                            You wrote in the thread opener that your WS wok was a bit stickier than your eWok pow wok. How do they compare now?


                                                                                                                                            1. re: DuffyH


                                                                                                                                              It is a bit confusing because there is so much history behind. To keep it minimal, I was referring the so called a hammered wok (not full blown hand hammered) that I bought from Williams Sonoma:


                                                                                                                                              It was only $20 when I bought it. It is not at all the same as the JoanN is planning/considering to buy. This so called $20 "hammered" wok is actually one of the worst I have had.

                                                                                                                                              I didn't use that one anymore, and it is just sitting on the top of my shelves.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                Thanks, CK.

                                                                                                                                                The two woks look very similar. The round bottom artisan wok we ordered might be very slightly rougher in texture, but it's hard to tell from the picture.

                                                                                                                                                Dude ordered this grill grate for it. I think it will work well with this style wok. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                  <The two woks look very similar>

                                                                                                                                                  Photos can be misleading, I think. If the WS Artisan wok is similar to my e-wok (which it should be), then it should look like the photos in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                  The $20-30 hammered WS wok actually looks more like these photos (the first four photos):


                                                                                                                                                  You may notice that they are not quiet the same, especially from photo #2 here:


                                                                                                                                                  <The round bottom artisan wok we ordered might be very slightly rougher in texture>

                                                                                                                                                  I would say that the texture is more pronounced, but not rough. It is not like sandpaper rough or like Lodge cast iron cookware. The Artisan wok should have more textures, but they are smooth. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but you can think of it more like lobster shell. The pattern is distinct and you can definitely feel it, but it is smooth at the same time.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                  Do you mind elaborating on what is so poor about the hammered wok from WS (rather than the artisan-hammered wok.) Based on your previous posts, I reckon it is matter of angles?

                                                                                                                                                  I just ordered the artisan-hammered WS wok since the e-woks were unavailable, and I can't wait to get it. Many months ago, however, I was considering the regular hammered WS wok (but decided against it). I am glad to hear I made the right decision.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                                    Well, the $20-30 so called hammered wok has a few issue.

                                                                                                                                                    1) it is very thin, so it is wobbly.
                                                                                                                                                    2) the flat bottom is relatively small. For a flat bottom wok with a small bottom, it sort of has the worst of both world. It does not has the nice continuously surface like a found bottom, and it does not have a large flat bottom to be stable and to transfer heat
                                                                                                                                                    3) It is shallow
                                                                                                                                                    4) It is a two handles wok

                                                                                                                                                    By far, (1) is the biggest problem, followed by (2). (3) is actually not that bad, and (4) is just a personal preference and it was my choice/mistake to get it, so that is not the fault of the wok.

                                                                                                                                                    If you have to spend $20, then I would recommend most other supermarket $20 carbon steel woks, just because they are usually thick than this one.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: tlmxyz1

                                                                                                                                      :) Hua is the correct person. I have communicated with her many times.

                                                                                                                                      The prices include shipping.... It is still ~30% more than their original price, but they is no more expensive than if you buy them from Williams Sonoma. Really valuable information.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: tlmxyz1

                                                                                                                                        Hi timxyz1,

                                                                                                                                        Many thanks for letting us know what's going on with the wok guys at eWoks. I told my Dude tonight that if he wants a hand-hammered wok for his Weber grill, it's time to grab one from WS before they're gone forever (one supposes).

                                                                                                                                        We placed our order tonight and will wait with fingers crossed.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                          Just letting you know that Williams-Sonoma has a 15% off coupon with free shipping that they emailed out to customers. I couldn't see the email without clicking on "All Mail" in gmail. The coupon is valid until Sunday. Without sales tax, the wok comes out to $84.96. With NY sales tax, it came out to $92.50.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                                                            That is a great deal it sounds like. I was offered a 10% off and free-shipping deal by signing up for their newsletter, but the code never arrived. The guy on the phone couldn't help, so I just made the purchase, knowing I'd be much more upset missing out had the woks sold out than paying a few dollars more.

                                                                                                                                            But thank you for the heads up on the 15% deal! Makes me want to buy a second one!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                              Im sure Williams Sonoma will find other artisan woksmiths but then again, their stock has been changing over the past year. In stores, I was told that they were trying to get rid of all of their Rosle stock (well, at least in nyc stores). A lot of Emilie Henry stuff is also disappearing. And they no longer sell my favorite herbes de provence (not a fan of their store blend). I believe the 15% coupon was only sent to previous customers so unless you already bought from them before, you're out of luck.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                                                                Does the WS one still need to be seasoned?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                  I cannot imagine not. Yes, I think you will still need to season it. The review online also stated that the customer seasoned his/her wok:

                                                                                                                                                  "Easy to follow instructions on how to season. ...."

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, it's stated on the product page under Use & Care. I attached the care page that comes in the box. I have woks from WokShop, Wasstrom and Great Wall (US Asian supermarket chain) and the Williams Sonoma is definitely the most solid. Still trying the figure out the best seasoning method. I'm fine with round bottom woks since I do most of my wok cooking on a wok burner hooked to a propane tank. I posted some pics.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                                                                I thought I'd missed out on the 15% coupon, then went trolling through my inbox and found it. Called WS today and they adjusted the price for me. Florida is collecting sales tax, so final price is around $90 delivered. Dude is happy, ordering the wok grate for his Weber as I type. :-)

                                                                                                                                              3. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                Sure, also try wasserstrom.com, I ordered a hand hammered 18" for $19, it looks hammered and feels solid, just not sure if it's hand hammered for sure. Price is right though. Best of luck to you and your Dude!

                                                                                                                                          2. Thank you all, and i do mean ALL for your advice and comments regarding woks, large and small and all of the different materials. I just (finally) pulled the trigger on the artisan wok from WS based on the mounds of information that's been discussed on this posting and many others. I'm tire of trying to stir fry using my All-Clad wok shaped pot. I know it's not the same and now I'll be able to at least come closer to "wok hay" as we have a stove with a 25,000 btu burner. Thank you all again.

                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                              I ordered the WS one as well but I'm wondering if I should have just ordered the Yamada with the flat bottom. No price difference...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                Hi jp96,

                                                                                                                                                That Yamada pan looks like a similar shape to my Joyce Chen stir fry pan. Mine is not terrific for moving ingredients into and out of the hottest part of the pan. Because the walls are relatively steep, food stays on the floor of the pan. There isn't much difference cooking in my stir fry pan and a plain old frypan. Tossing is less risky, though.

                                                                                                                                                Still, without the dimensions it's hard to be sure of the shape and characteristics, and I don't want to scare you off a really nice pan. It's certainly much better quality than mine.


                                                                                                                                                1. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                  These Japanese woks are very well made. Functional speaking, they are probably no worse than the Chinese made hand hammered woks.

                                                                                                                                                  The WS one is really hand made from beginning. The Yamada offers you more selection (different size, sharp, and handle...etc).

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                    If you have a nice flame for a round bottom, by all means you chose correctly! Beautiful hand made wok that you can admire the hand hammered marks and enjoy its performance for years! That is a great and rare joy in any cookware! How special...!

                                                                                                                                                    Yamada makes a fine wok, but it is pressed (mass produced), and if you can find a 36cm (14") flat bottom Yamada in the USA, let us know where--I never could find one here, and even the Japanese suppliers--who where hesitant about international shipping--kept telling me that the 36cm was all sold out in Japan, don't know when it will be back...?

                                                                                                                                                2. I just got email confirming that my WS Artisan wok has shipped. I was a little worried that they'd end up out of stock, so this is a relief. The dude will be very pleased. No firm delivery date yet, but I've got a tracking number. Yay.

                                                                                                                                                  56 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks. I assume it will be like the e-wok since they are made with the same process -- in fact probably the same people.

                                                                                                                                                    Just a small warning ahead. The wok came with a lot of oil (instead of using lacquer). So make sure you dress appropriate when you open the package.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                      Hi CK,

                                                                                                                                                      <The wok came with a lot of oil (instead of using lacquer). So make sure you dress appropriate when you open the package.>

                                                                                                                                                      As the house drudge/laundress, I SO appreciate your warning. Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                        :) On the other hand, I sometime give advises than better I can take them. I remember opening (partially) the package at the post office parking lot in front of my car because I couldn't wait to see the wok.

                                                                                                                                                        Have fun.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                        I'd rather they use oil since it comes off easily. The one I got that had lacquer was a pain to get cleaned and seasoned. It scratched off with a copper scouring pad but the oil came right off with a little acetone and paper towels.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                          Hi On_yun,

                                                                                                                                                          You're so right about lacquer. My Joyce Chen pan came with heavy lacquer. It took 2 applications (overnight soak) of oven cleaner to remove it all. Oil will be a relative breeze.

                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for your encouragement about Grill wokking. :-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                            The acetone made it really easy. I wish I'd have thought of it earlier because that manufacturing oil laughs at dish soap.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the tip. I happen to have acetone nail polish remover very close at hand. Serendipity!

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                            Wow, never had a oiled wok (out of a dozen...?) that didn't come clean and oil free with an SOS pad or two, maybe followed by some Dawn and elbow grease...

                                                                                                                                                            I agree the lacquer is a royal hassle; though I've de-lacquered so many woks and pans now, it seems almost second nature--whatever the process: oven boiling, heating and rubbing with hot oil...

                                                                                                                                                            Good Luck!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                              The last one I bought was a Peking style from Towne. I don't know what kind of oil that was but dish soap wasn't having much affect so I grabbed a can of acetone and was amazed at the crap that came off that thing. It made it shiny quick. I've seen people burn a new wok in with some of that junk still on there and although it should be gone at that kind of temperature I'd rather get rid of all of it and move on to seasoning.
                                                                                                                                                              I will say with confidence once you clean a new wok with acetone you won't do it with dish soap again.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                                That sounds like lacquer, not oil. You can tell lacquer because it's not oily and it makes the metal MATTE. After you remove the lacquer, suddenly the metal is shiny...

                                                                                                                                                                Oiled woks are oily and grimy and messy, and get black oil all over you hands, and they are shiny before you wash them, and shiny afterwards too. They are never matte.

                                                                                                                                                                The point is--I wonder if the acetone is a good method for lacquered woks...?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                  I know what lacquer is.

                                                                                                                                                                  I wouldn't use it for lacquer, I'd think a copper scouring pad would be best.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                                    Oven cleaner for lacquer. Unless you're in a hurry, but really, who needs all that scrubbing? I'm really, really lazy.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                    <Oiled woks are oily and grimy and messy, and get black oil all over you hands, and they are shiny before you wash them, and shiny afterwards too. They are never matte.>

                                                                                                                                                                    My hand hammered wok definitely came with a lot of oil, as if someone put a quarter cup of oil on it, rub it all over, and then out a plastic bag around it.

                                                                                                                                                                    <I wonder if the acetone is a good method for lacquered woks.>

                                                                                                                                                                    I would think organic solvent such as acetone should be good for removing lacquer coating.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                      <I would think organic solvent such as acetone should be good for removing lacquer coating.>

                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, I thought so too--would involve less heat and hot oil and than the other methods of getting the lacquer off... Still like the oven cleaner idea someone posted too...

                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                                    I haven't used acetone in the kitchen before. If you're using it to remove oil from a wok (with scrubbing), I assume this is something that would go down the sink? Is that alright to do?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                                                      Hi TimDogg,

                                                                                                                                                                      < I assume this is something that would go down the sink? Is that alright to do?>

                                                                                                                                                                      Depending on the quantity, I might not put it down the sink. If there's enough, I'll soak it up with paper towels. Then I'll spread the towels on the pool deck to evaporate. Then I'll throw them away.

                                                                                                                                                                      If it's a small amount, I'll dilute it with water and run it down the sink. I've honestly never given it much thought before, although perhaps I should have. It's not normally used for here for anything except removing nail polish. Used cotton balls get trashed.


                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                        I have a cast iron wok from the Wok Shop which I'm assuming had far less oil on it than will be coming on this hand hammered wok, and I found no amount of dish soap and elbow grease would ultimately strip it down. Acetone sounds like it will be a good plan. I am in an apt with no access to the outside, but I have a lot of ventilation, so your paper towel and evaporation method might work out well, thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                                                          Be careful, acetone is very flammable and makes a lot of fumes. I'd just take it outside since it only takes a few minutes to shine it up.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                                                        No, I'd keep it out of the kitchen in general and away from any flames or heat source. Acetone is an excellent solvent though and works well to get rid of the nasty industrial oil and black stuff many cheap woks come coated in. I'd do it in the yard or garage. The proof is going to what you pull off the metal. Clean it with dish soap and then use acetone, you will be amazed.

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm not familiar with an excellent version of a handcrafted wok such as the one in the OP, it might be cleaned and oiled with a better oil at the factory.

                                                                                                                                                                  4. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                                    After blabbing about wok seasoning here, and since a picture is worth a thousand words--I just snapped some pics of my latest wok. It's a flat bottomed Joyce Chen wok a friend picked out. The wok is about ready to go home with her for tasty, no-stick stir fries.

                                                                                                                                                                    This wok is two weeks old. I initially de-lacquered and then seasoned it all in one afternoon, and have since stir fried in it for a total of 11 times. It's seasoning up nicely (to the point where after stir fries you don't even have to wash with water--only wipe well with paper towels; this leaves a little residue to burn on during the next stir fry and seasons the wok well and FAST). It's starting to produce wok hei on high heat, which is when I now the initial start-up seasoning is just about over.

                                                                                                                                                                    So anyway, here's my latest wok seasoning project, inside and out (yes, I season the outside as well):

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                      Excellent detailed photos, Toddster.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: toddster63


                                                                                                                                                                        Not blabbing in my opinion because I've seen quite a few frustrated people that struggle with carbon steel and cast iron. I love cooking with both and consider advice such as you gave a service. That's why I was so set on recommending acetone for initial cleaning, it's just a much better way to do it and I've been on the frustrated end of things plenty of times.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                                          I so agree with on_yun. The seasoning gurus here have talked me down from the ledge more times than I can count. I consider them all a valuable resource.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                                            Ha! That's what got me started on this path some 7 years or so ago--bought a new carbon steel wok, and then stir fried and my beautiful shiny silver wok was all dirty and I scrubbed and scrubbed, but it was still sorta dirty... I struggled with that first wok and then threw it away, embarrassed and bought a new non-stick one that made terrible tasting food even with expensive (and sugary) bottled sauce!

                                                                                                                                                                            Ha,ha! I knew I was doing something wrong, so decided to investigate, and then learned and learned. And I agree that this site has been so helpful... Once you get a well seasoned wok and learn some Chinese basic, it's so wonderful (and healthy) to make tasty dishes all on your own!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                              My Mom always used an electric skillet with a teflon surface when I was a kid. We had some really good Chinese restaurants around we used to go to on special occasions and the difference between the home cooked version and theirs was like night and day. Chasing that difference is where I got started I guess. Me and a stainless stir fry pan you needed power tools to clean.
                                                                                                                                                                              To be fair I have to give Mom some credit though, she made a mean hot dog fried rice that I still like to make. LoL
                                                                                                                                                                              She's getting older so doesn't cook like she used to, but for back then did a pretty respectable job considering most people around still looked at Asian food as weird or even sketchy.
                                                                                                                                                                              She had a good friend that was from Taiwan and we knew some folks from Cambodia who would bring food over (family of a girl we sponsored) so she did have a little credible influence besides La Choy recipes on the back of a can. LoL
                                                                                                                                                                              That's where I learned about sticky rice and the fact that you can have something clear and without a visible speck of chile in it that can still light you up.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                        Oooh. Me, too. Thanks for the heads up. Wonder if the WS wok will be packed the same way the e-wok ones were. Hope to find out soon.

                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                        Hi Duffy-
                                                                                                                                                                        I too got my shipping notification from WS this morning.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                          Hi jnk,

                                                                                                                                                                          <I too got my shipping notification from WS this morning.>

                                                                                                                                                                          Very cool. Anticipation builds, cue Carly Simon!

                                                                                                                                                                          The new longer hoak and chuan arrived yesterday. The Weber grate arrives tomorrow. We're almost ready to wok the grill.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                            You're in for a real treat, I'll never use a wok in the house again.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: On_yun

                                                                                                                                                                              Now I just need a good Wok cookbook to go with the WS wok that is hopefully on the way. Any favorites out there?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                                                "Breath of a Wok" by Grace Young is especially good on history, technique, and seasoning of woks. Her book "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge" is terrific for technique, especially, although some of the recipes are fusion, so not strictly a Chinese cookbook. Fuchsia Dunlop's books are not to be missed: the Sichuan one is "Land of Plenty"; the Hunan one, "Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook." All of her recipes work and taste great. Irene Kuo, "The Key to Chinese Cooking," is significantly old than these, but a superb overview of Chinese cooking in general.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                  It should be noted, of course, that Grace Young's The Breath of a Wok features on the cover a photo apparently of the very wok we're discussing in this thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                  And thank you for the other cookbook suggestions!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                                                  First and foremost--I adore all of Grace Young's books, and I own them all and love them all for the recipes (Jamaican stir fried shrimp with rum is a favorite around here), and the history and wonderful anecdotes.

                                                                                                                                                                                  However, Grace and I part ways on wok seasoning. Her explanation for cleaning and seasoning a new carbon steel wok wok is simplistic at best, and completely does not address the lacquer coating that is applied to the vast majority of new woks sold (wash with soap and a scrub pad are her basic instructions for "the factory coating"). Her basic wok seasoning technique of stir frying scallions and ginger to get just a hint of brown on the bottom of your new wok will work, but it will take years for the average home wok user (with an average home range) to get a decently seasoned wok following these methods, unless you are using the wok 4-6 times per day as a Chinese family might be doing (and this is where her seasoning instructions stem from).

                                                                                                                                                                                  This simplistic seasoning approach (particularly over meager powered stoves,) while easy and 15 minute quick, will I'm afraid leave your early stir fries rather bland, and often with a faint fatty oily taste that is not particularly distasteful, but certainly adds nothing to your dish such as a more seasoned surface can (wok hei not only comes from high heat, but a well seasoned surface as well).

                                                                                                                                                                                  The secret for average wok users (once a week or so), is to make "seasoning shortcuts" by getting the wok--or at least the bottom third of the wok--as dark as you can as fast as you can--ideally medium brown/bronze/mahogany in the first day or two of dedicated seasoning. Many ways to do this--in the oven, on the stove, stir frying onions and ginger--there are many videos on YouTube to help you find your best method.

                                                                                                                                                                                  But the bottom line is that investing an afternoon or two to get your new wok as dark as possible will pay off big time--helping you to move faster toward obtaining that UUMMPPHHH! of flavor only a well seasoned metal surface can give. By starting with dark seasoning blotches early on, the carbonization process (where the brown mahogany turns black and becomes slick and non-stick and adds incredible wok hei and flavor--and this can take years to achieve for average users) is achieved that much faster...!

                                                                                                                                                                                  Good true seasoning (as our American grandmothers taught us with cast iron skillets) does take years of just regular use and build up, but you can get there that much faster by getting your wok darker that much sooner...!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                    So if a person chooses stir-frying onions and ginger, for example, are you suggesting that rather than do that for 15 mins to start, they do it for a couple of hours or more instead? You are recommending more full and thorough wok seasoning at first, which I like the sound of. Or if I chose the oven method, to do it 5 or 6 times or something?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                                                                      Tim, it's all up to you--but what I often do is if the wok is oven safe (no wood or removable wood handles, or wrap them in wet towels and foil), I do 4 or so very thin coats of peanut oil (inside the wok and outside it) in the oven; the oven coats normally turn the wok an even all over bronze. After the oven coats, I slowly rotate the whole wok over an open flame (I like to use the outdoor propane burner for this), and heat every square inch of the wok until it smokes wildly and turns medium brown. You can also forgo the oven, and swath the whole wok in oil and start right over the flame, burning the oil right in--but's much hotter and smokier and best down outdoors.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Then I set the wok normally on the burner, and heat. When the center is HOT, I drop in peanut oil and rub all over the bottom third with wadded paper towels--and it smokes! Let the wok cool and do it again. After 4 or 5 times, the bottom of the wok should now be very dark brown.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I finish the seasoning by a couple of stir fries of scallions and plenty of ginger over medium heat (NOT hot), smashing the veggies into the woks surface with a wok spatula, all over the interior of the wok. This helps to get rid of the oil taste and the fatty taste from fresh and developing seasoning. The ginger helps to give the seasoning a good flavor head start.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lastly, I will often stir fry a regular onion or two, switching from high heat to a lower heat--until the onions are charred black. As an added bonus that really helps develop a RICH seasoning early on, for the last six woks or so that I have seasoned, after all the veggie seasoning stir fries, I stir fry on medium heat a pound of diced thick cut bacon, smashing it into the sides and all parts of the wok's interior, until the bacon is almost black. After removing the bacon, I leave some of the grease, and heat it on high until smoking, and then rub it all over and into the wok with wadded paper towels.

                                                                                                                                                                                      This all usually takes me an afternoon and a half or so (say 4 hours total). The end result is a great start in seasoning, and over high heat (outdoor wok burner), I often have an almost black wok within six months to a year that produces great wok hei (that's when, unless I'm really attached, I find them homes with friends that are always raving over my Chinese food)...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                        Can it be put right on the grates of a gas BBQ with oil spread all over?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                                                          Gas grills aren't hot enough and you need to buff the oil onto really hot metal or you wind up with little spots of gummy residue from the oil. It's the same problem you run into with seasoning cast iron if you use too much oil and just use an oven. What he's describing is kind of a pain to do but you wind up with a smooth, super hard, slick black surface right from the start. The metal has to be hot and there will be smoke.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                      Believe me, I'm not questioning your advice on how to season a wok. You've done it far more often than I. But Young, in "Breath of a Wok," offers three different methods for seasoning a carbon steel wok. Only one of them involves stir-frying Chinese chives; none of them involve stir-frying ginger. I had to replace a wooden-handled POW wok a couple of years ago and used her Basic Oil Method since I didn't want to put the wok in the oven. After repeating the process, quite a few more times than she says to by the way, I had a sufficient base of seasoning to start using the wok. I found that especially in the beginning, using Fuchsia Dunlop's method of seasoning the wok each time before using it (heat the wok until smoking; pour in a few tablespoons of oil and swirl it around to cover all parts of the inside of the wok that will be in contact with food; when the oil is smoking, pour it out, then pour in fresh oil, heat to desired temp, and then begin to cook) not only kept food from sticking, but helped fully season the wok much more quickly. In fact, this is a technique I continue to use when I'm trying to cut back on the amount of oil in a recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                        < pour in a few tablespoons of oil and swirl it around to cover all parts of the inside of the wok that will be in contact with food>

                                                                                                                                                                                        A very standard method for most restaurant chefs.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                          But then pouring that oil out and adding new oil to cook with? I don't recall ever seeing that. But then, I haven't spent a lot of time in Chinese restaurant kitchens. They don't do it in my local takeaway shop, and both my former sister-in-law and her mother would have considered it wasteful.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                            <But then pouring that oil out and adding new oil to cook with?...>

                                                                                                                                                                                            Assuming we are talking about the same thing, yeah, this is a very standard and old practice. Here a video, just look at the first few seconds:


                                                                                                                                                                                            <both my former sister-in-law and her mother would have considered it wasteful.>

                                                                                                                                                                                            They don't really toss it away. They coat the woks with the oil once and pour it back to the original container.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                              That video was very interesting. He poured the oil out, and then didn't add any new oil before he began cooking. I've begun doing that just to cut back on calories. And I thought I was being so smart and innovative.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, I think you can decide if you want to add back oil for stir fry. In his case, it looks like he was just stir frying a few pieces of meat for the fried rice, so the residual oil is probably sufficient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, it is a nice little method/trick, and it actually does cut down the amount of oil needed to keep the food nonstick to the cookware.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi JoanN-

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That is a very good and healthy practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We have watched Kenneth Hom over the decades in Europe, and he too is advocating cutting back to just 1/2 to 1. tablespoon of pressed nut oil, at best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Our wok-cooked vegetables taste better that way too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I believe you are smart and innovative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Whoa, that move at the end when he flips all the food into the ladle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                                                                                    What can I say. He has better wok handling techniques than most professional chefs. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    (no Hollywood special effect)

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                And the same way some of us "season" our stainless steel to make it non-stick. Minus all the smoke. I don't need to get the oil that hot in my stainless pans.

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like a good method--and again somebody else who has found that Young's basic method is too sparse--takes at least several times of her application to work decently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Here is a video of Grace Young seasoning in her basic method with scallions AND ginger:


                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't even get into the Chinese chives on these forums--they work great (though scallions are pretty close), and I can buy them at all the Asian markets near my home, but most have absolutly NO access to them....

                                                                                                                                                                                              4. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                                Toddster63 - Absolutely agree. I have a lousy kitchen hood and don't like the smell of the oil in the house so I burned all mine in on the grill over a chimney starter. It takes a lot of charcoal and a while to do but it gets the burning in and seasoning process done right from the start. Get the metal shiny hot (some turn light colored some turn blue) and just move it around buffing a little oil onto the spot that was just over the heat. The downside is there's a lot of smoke and if you use a towel it'll be sacrificed. Also if you have a real wok burner it would be easier but I'll probably never have a real wok burner.
                                                                                                                                                                                                Doing it on a regular stove would take forever.
                                                                                                                                                                                                That was a really good description.

                                                                                                                                                                                              5. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                                                                Another great site (better than any recipe book) where I learned a LOT about Chinese cooking at home is Tigers & Strawberries. Barbara the woman who made the site no longer updates it or contributes new recipes, but it's still all up and her recipes are archived. I highly recommend it to learn a lot of Chinese cooking basics. She covers so many things for newbies to learn--ranging from marinating meat in Shaoxing, to making sure you hunt down Koon Chun brand sauces (their Ground Bean is phenomenal, and their Thick Soy Sauce is essential for making 1950's style fried rice for baby boomers!) And of course she introduced me to Chinkiang vinegar--Gold Plum brand, the best, in particular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                And I still think Barbara's Kung Pao sauce recipe is the best I have ever used...!

                                                                                                                                                                                                You can find Barbara's site at:


                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hi DuffyH, when did you place your order for the wok? I placed mine last Wednesday and still haven't gotten a shipment confirmation. : / They're still showing in-stock though, so maybe it just got lost in the shuffle.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                                                                            I placed my WS order July 24, received confirmation of the order the same day, and received notice that it had shipped July 27. Should be here Wednesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                              Please take a photo when you first open the package. I like to know what it looks like out-of-the-box.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi TimDogg,

                                                                                                                                                                                              I placed my order on the 23rd and got a tracking number on the 26th. UPS says it arrived in Jacksonville this morning, but it hasn't been logged out yet. That means we're likely looking at Wed arrival.

                                                                                                                                                                                              EDIT - Point of Origin is Olive Branch, MS

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                              I just ordered mine as well with the 15 percent discount and I'm praying that they don't run out as well. Do you know how long it took from when you ordered to when you got shipping notification? I called a williams sonoma store and luckily there is a store somewhat nearby me that has two left in stock (unfortunately this store is over an hour away).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mrsub

                                                                                                                                                                                                Hi mrsub,

                                                                                                                                                                                                The thread is all in German. Only menu items and some headers are translated into English. :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hallo Duffy -

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Grillsportverein, or Grill Sport Friends, is a good BBQ site, similar to CH.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We use Google Translate here for the more difficult phrases in ...................... English.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It works both ways ( German, French, Italian = English ).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  There is a world of good cooking information to share on both sides of Atlantic. Poke around a bit with your translator, if you have the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. http://www.wok-a-holic.de/

                                                                                                                                                                                                Two years back I ran into a youtube video of these guys seasoning a wok that was similar to the hand hammered woks from "Breath of Wok". They gave me a link to the place they bought it from and turns out they sourced it from China as well, probably from the brothers. It is outrageously expensive now though as compared to before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: takadi

                                                                                                                                                                                                  They definitely look very much like the woks I got from e-wok. Yeah, not cheap at all. 200 Euro (270 US$) for a 14" pow wok and 498 Euro (670 US$) for a 24" wok. Thanks for the link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Chem -

                                                                                                                                                                                                    200 € and 498 €.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    No doubt plus shipping and tax.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    At that price, why not get both ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yea it's too bad...I've been contemplating buying from e-woks for years but just never got around to it. Never would have figured the supplier would just stop making making woks! I ordered one from williams sonoma but there's slight doubt that it's the same ones from the Cen brothers

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: takadi

                                                                                                                                                                                                        <Never would have figured the supplier would just stop making making woks!>

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, when the suppliers are just two old dudes, then it is possible. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Although I was hoping at least his younger brother won't retire right away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Cen, 57, has been constructing woks for as long as he can remember, a craft his now deceased father took up 70 years ago in Shanghai. Now his brother, Cen Liang Gen, 49, helps out, but the trade will likely end with them." (this was written in 2009, so the older brother is now 62, and the younger brother is now 54.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        <I ordered one from williams sonoma but there's slight doubt that it's the same ones from the Cen brothers>

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It probably is. I mean there are not many people really can do hand hammered woks in the first place. Even if it is not made by the Cen brothers, it does not mean it is not good. The main reason that the Cen brothers got famous (in the West) is because their hand hammered wok was featured on the cover of a cookbook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I read on this thread that Williams Sonoma's "artisan" hammered wok is from the brothers, but I haven't seen any source yet...everybody seems to just be going off faith of word. Sure, it might be a good wok, but I feel like part of the premium I'm paying is the fact that it is coming from an actual skilled artisan, Cen brothers or not. There's no proof of authentication.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: takadi

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <but I haven't seen any source yet...everybody seems to just be going off faith of word.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                            So true. I have not heard the claim elsewhere. To me, it does not matter if these Artisan woks really made the Cen brothers. What is important is that these they are made by skilled craftmen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <There's no proof of authentication.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                            WS charging you for $100 is not proof?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            (just kidding)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            It states on the website that "this authentic carbon-steel wok is hammered from fast-heating carbon steel.", so it does sound like these woks are made from scratch by hammering a hot steel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've blown money on worst things I guess

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: takadi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's exactly the way I feel. Whether Cen brothers or not, the WS wok is going to be a significant step up for me from the el cheapo I bought in Chinatown. Which I'm not unhappy with, by the way; I just feel I'm ready to up my game and always take great pleasure in working with good cooking tools (like my Masanobu VG-10 Gyutou from Korin that I put back in the box and hide in the closet when guests are arriving for overnight or longer).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: takadi

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I guess you'll have to go by faith but if you're having buyer's remorse, Williams Sonoma has a great return policy. At the time when I bought the wok, another chowhounder had emailed Grace Young herself, and confirmed that Williams-Sonoma sells the Cen brothers wok. Whether you believe this is up to you. In fact, why not email her yourself and ask if they have at any point sold their woks. I didn't really care if it was truly from the Cens as they were only popularized by being in Grace Young's book. Being from an artisan woksmith is good enough for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Their source may have changed since then but with woksmiths being an endangered species, they dont really have that many choices to source from and its highly likely that it is from the Cens as Chem pointed out. Keep in mind that it was Williams Sonoma that Grace Young had "apparently" pointed to as the place to get it. I dont think she ever mentioned e-woks as having the Cen brothers work. Yet from comparing pictures on e-woks to those in Grace Young's book, it was found that even they source it from them as well. With China being so big, I guess it speaks volumes about the scarcity of traditional woksmiths as with both apparently sourcing their woks from the Cens, it becomes less of a coincidence and more of whether they had much choices to begin with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Whether it was made by an artisan can be seen in hammering. Compare that to the "hammered" wok sold by the Wokshop and you can immediately tell which is truly hand hammered. And as Chem pointed out, the description (and price) seems true to its name. Honestly, I would just wait for the wok to arrive and let the quality speak for itself. I was more than thrilled with mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              btw, and like e-woks, mine came pretty oily as well though I dont recall it being as oily as others have stated their e-woks to be. The plastic it was in was sticking to the surface of the wok so it wasn't lacquered like many woks are. So theres an even higher chance its from the same guys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                <btw, and like e-woks, mine came pretty oily as well though I dont recall it >

                                                                                                                                                                                                                So you have your williams sonoma artian wok then, right? How does it look compared to your e-woks? I think that should pretty much answer the question if these are real traditional hand hammered woks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                <The plastic it was in was sticking to the surface of the wok>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yep, same experience with my e-wok too. But I still could not wait to touch it in the postal office parking lot -- ok, that sounds kind of kinky.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  <Yep, same experience with my e-wok too. But I still could not wait to touch it in the postal office parking lot -- ok, that sounds kind of kinky.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Keept doing it and you'll go blind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. From what I have read, these totally hand manufactured woks were never a big deal for home cooks in China--the market for these truly hand hammered woks were the restaurant cooks, who sweat by their durability; some would last up to 6 months they claim, whereas the spun and stamped woks sometimes are shot (deformed, thin on the bottom) after only a couple of months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Those intense jets of fire and massively high BTU's really take a fast, hard toil on carbon steel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Why even the restaurants have stopped buying these hand made woks, their biggest buyers, I don't know...?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                                        <the market for these truly hand hammered woks were the restaurant cooks,>

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think that is about right. Many people swear by the hand hammered wok. These woks are more so for professional than home cooks, but some home cooks also buy them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        <Why even the restaurants have stopped buying these hand made woks>

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it is just a not very attractive career for young people. Kind of like Chinese Dim Sum. You put a lot of time and efforts for training, but you don't make a lot of money. In addition, stamped and spun woks are getting better too. They were not as bad they once were.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Cen’s son went to college, graduated with a physics degree, and now works for a big company. Now, there’s no one left to teach."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Think about it, Cen can make a few woks a day. Really a few, and he can realistically only charge people maybe 2-3 times more than a stamped wok. This is not a high paying job.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        "He can make two to three woks a day. Prices start at just under RMB 100 and go up to several hundred, depending on the size."


                                                                                                                                                                                                        Seriously, I think his works are seriously unappreciated. His woks are only $20-40. Even when we buy them here, they are like $70-100.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        At the same time, people gladly pay $300 US for a Le Cresuset enameled cast iron wok or $200 for an All Clad stainless steel wok which, in my opinion, far worse than these hand hammered woks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I mean..... really? What are these people thinking?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also read that the Cens were the major supplier of hand-made woks for the hotels in Shanghai. That surely helped make them famous. Production on those big woks was 1 wok per day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm pretty sure that anyone visiting China wouldn't have much trouble finding someone who makes woks the old-school way. No doubt they're every bit as wonderful as a Cen wok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Whether my new wok is a Cen or not, I've chosen to believe it is, and think of it as a little piece of history. Too bad they don't use a maker's mark, eh? It would probably never occur to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a feeling that they were only famous among a very small circle, like the restaurants (in this case hotels).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <It would probably never occur to them.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Most probably not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                              So is WS just throwing in a wok ring with the artisan wok that is made by someone else? Looks possibly like the same one they include with the cheaper wok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                                                                                <So is WS just throwing in a wok ring with the artisan wok that is made by someone else?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would certainly assume so. I can't imagine that there's even such a thing as an artisan-made wok ring. There just wouldn't be any call for it among the target audience. I'm very curious to see whether or not I'll need it on my range. I'm hoping that because of the way my grates are arranged that I won't. Should know tomorrow or the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'll be checking to see if it works on my induction range.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jp96

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree with JoanN. I think it is just some generic wok ring that you can get with $3-5.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Good morning all. Well I don't think that I'm having buyers remorse because I can always return my new wok but I'm a bit concerned that it doesn't have a handle but instead the two loops (the WS artisan hammered wok). Do you that use this type of wok hold on to one of the loops as you stir fry? Thanks. Jon

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Might be a little bit of an adjustment if you are used to the pow wok with a handle. When I wok cook on my inside stove I find that the ring moves around to much so I found a heavy cast iron grate that does a better job at keeping the work in place. I think the ear handles are more for lifting and moving the wok after cooking but I'm no expert :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you have a place to cook outside I highly suggest in a wok burner that you can hook up to a propane tank. This helps with sensitivity to cooked dried chili's and setting off the smoke detectors!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I prefer the long handle version, especially because tossing foods is a necessary step/method in my stir fry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you don't toss at all (which many home cook do not), then it is a non-issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are professional chefs who toss using the two loop handles version. So it can definitely be done, but it is easier on a professional wok stove than a home stove.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've tossed and POW'd with this traditional style elephant eared handle wok a lot--even over my HOT outdoor wok burner. It's easy and fun and works, HOWEVER you must pay attention to protecting your hand from the heat--this means oven mitts, silicon pot holders or my favorite is Eleanor Hoh's magnetized wok mitt, which really works well (except on very high heat sources) and comes in some great patterns and colors (I like her classic masculine blue dragon pattern). You can find the Wok Mitt here:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                Once you have something to protect you hands, tossing and powing the short wok handles is easy. I admit it's a small PITA to hunt down the Wok Mitt every time, right before I stir fry, and so I normally use my longer handled woks. BUT, my oldest and most seasoned wok is a classic elephant eared Cantonese style wok (pressed wok with a few decorator hand hammered marks, $12 in most Chinatowns), which gives me incredible wok hei and it always cheers me up seeing the attractive blue dragon patterned fabric on the wok mitt...!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Well, here it is. Very little oil on the wok (if any).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now I just have to decide whether or not to keep this or to get one with a handle. As you can see from the shot on the stove
                                                                                                                                                                                                                our range comes with a removable round grate that wok fits into nicely. The burner is 25,000 btu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                34 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My understanding is that there is not currently a supply to the west of quality, hand-hammered pow woks. I too would prefer to have gotten a pow wok but went with the Cantonese-style since that seemed to be all I could get for hand-hammered. Perhaps in the future, however.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TimDogg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi Tim, I guess my question is, what's more important to my cooking, the fact that it's carbon steel and is hand hammered or that it's made of carbon steel and has a handle?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As I'm playing with it here, it might be easier having one with a handle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      <the fact that it's carbon steel and is hand hammered or that it's made of carbon steel and has a handle?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do you actually toss food? You can practice toss items in your WS hand hammered wok. I don't mean actually use it for cooking. Just put some items in your wok and pretend to toss for like 3 min or so and see if you like that feeling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good morning CK- I in fact did try to toss it and it was easier on the ring than it was sitting directly over the wok burner. It's definitely a keeper. Today will be day two of the seasoning and I agree with everyone else that it seemed much easier to clean than most people mentioned and it seems that it's taking the seasoning better too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <in fact did try to toss it and it was easier on the ring than>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Is that right? I know professional chef leverage the stove ring to toss with two loop handles woks (so call Cantonese woks). I tried this with the wok ring, but it didn't work because my wok is not stationary, so I cannot use it as a leverage point. However, as long as yours works, then it is great.