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Anyone with experience with the Wok Shop's USA made flat bottom pow wok with metal handle?

w
wabi Sep 13, 2012 12:10 PM

Aloha.
Sadly I am trapped for now with an electric stove in my kitchen, thus making flat bottom woks the most useful (and hard to find) configuration for wok cooking.

I have previously purchased hand hammered woks from e-woks.com in China, but they no longer make the flat bottom woks. I like the "pow wok" or Peking pan configuration with the hollow metal handle.

http://e-woks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_3&products_id=35

As I was looking over the Wok Shop's web site, I see that they have added a US made pow wok with metal handle and flat bottom here:

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

This just might be the ticket for me for a flat bottomed pan. My current wok is fine, I just want to augment my collection with a 10 inch and a 16 inch for those little and big projects.

Has anyone purchased one of these woks? Are they thick/beefy enough to retain some heat like my very beloved e-woks? I want a sturdy wok that will take a beating much as the other chinese woks in my collection. I dont want one of those fou-fou All-Clad woks, or something so thin it wobbles when you give it a good shake. In other words...is this US made wok a good wok? It is hard to tell from the photograph on the website.

Any thoughts and discussion is welcomed. Thank you all in advance for your insights and opinions.

wabi

  1. r
    rchapanis Feb 18, 2013 10:59 PM

    I purchased a carbon steel flat-bottom wok from a store in San Franciso, and the wok did not have a flat bottom (which is what I needed for my ceramic cooktop). (It rested on a tiny portion of the bottom center of the wok.) I would not recommend it.

    1. t
      toddster63 Oct 28, 2012 11:53 AM

      Coming from a lot of wok experience, the new POW handled USA made wok from Tane at the Wok Shop comes the same manufacturer that has been making this same bowl design for many decades. I for one really like the design of their bowl. The flat bottom is a tad smaller than some (5.5"), but the angles and contours of the bowl have kept the wok experience intact and it's the most "fun" flat bottom wok I have used—in terms of preserving the sliding and slippery effect of tossing and stirring food in a wok. The angles of the bowl for many other flat bottom woks (often made in Taiwan, such as at Cost Plus for under $15) are too acute and it feels in these woks as if the food is just falling down into the flat area with little sliding or slippery motion.

      These US made woks also are made of good 14 gauge carbon steel, and if placed on a hot pre heated electric coil element, will get scorching hot enough for a stir-fry for 2-3 people (12-16 ounces meat, 3-4 cups veggies). Anymore and you will bog the wok down and be sir-stewing at too low of a temp. You have to be careful at times too, as the flat bottom area can get hot enough to partially burn the seasoning off. I recommend lifting it off the burner if you notice the bottom getting too metallic in color/nature. The new POW handle makes this easy, and you can toss the food to boot.

      The thing that annoys me with this new wok is that the bottom area seems thinner than the classic two elephant eared handled Cantonese style wok I have from this US company. My classic is only two years old, but has a thicker pad of steel on the bottom flat area. The new single handled POW wok is noticably thinner at the base, though identical in every other way, short of the handles. It doesn't make a hugely dramatic difference in terms of performance, but the older thicker base on my classic does seem to get a little hotter and have a little more Ummmphhh in term of heat (I also have to watch the seasoning in terms of burning away a lot more).

      Attached are quick pics of my new US made POW wok after seasoning and a couple of weeks of cooking. I love how well I have learned to deeply season new woks, though they truly don't get great for several years, but a great start is a plus...! Also attached is a pic of my classic Cantonese wok by this same US maker (with the thicker bottom).

      I just have been sick for months that I never got to purchase one of the truly hand-hammered e-woks with a flat bottom. I would give anything to have one of these for my flat bottom collection. I love, love my round bottom from them--a work of hand made art, I swear!

       
       
       
      2 Replies
      1. re: toddster63
        Chemicalkinetics Oct 28, 2012 02:12 PM

        So how is this one different than the Wokshop: carbon steel with helper handle (which I believe is its flagship product):

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

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          t
          toddster63 Oct 30, 2012 08:13 AM

          Same bowl, only the handles are different, Chem.....

      2. j
        jljohn Sep 13, 2012 07:36 PM

        I have the 14" version of what you've ordered. I like it. It's my first real wok, so I have nothing to compare it to. It shakes just fine, and I can toss or flip food without deforming the wok (it flexes just a little though). Looking at the photo of the e-wok, my wok looks thinner than those and, hence, would hold less heat. My stove is not very powerful, so sometimes I wish I'd picked up a cast iron wok for the additional heat retention, but all-in-all, I've been pleased with it.

        1. w
          wabi Sep 13, 2012 03:06 PM

          I got a very helpful email back from Tane Chan at the Wokshop. I have several now on the way! I'll report back how they are.

          11 Replies
          1. re: wabi
            Chemicalkinetics Sep 13, 2012 07:01 PM

            <I have several now on the way>

            Sorry, I couldn't reply your question because I don't have this wok. What do you mean by "several"? So you really need "several"?

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              w
              wabi Sep 13, 2012 07:39 PM

              Sir...everyone needs "several" woks! For small, medium and large dishes! In all seriousness, I purchased a 10, a 12 and a 16 inch one as I already have a 14 inch flat bottom wok from e-woks. I swear I am like Noah....I like to have more than one of everything. You would be shocked if you looked under my stove into my pan storage area.....

            2. re: wabi
              r
              rchapanis Feb 18, 2013 11:05 PM

              I bought mine from Tane, too. And, I would NOT recommend it because it is not truly flat, which is what I need for my ceramic cooktop. When I asked her why it wasn't truly flat, what I heard is that it was made for coiled burners on electric stoves--not ceramic cooktops.

              I don't know whether I can get my money back.

              1. re: rchapanis
                y
                yatyat Mar 7, 2013 09:53 AM

                Did you get the US made carbon steel pow wok from the wok shop? It specifically says that you can use on electric, gas, glass top & induction stoves...

                I have an induction stove and definitely need the bottom to be completely flat and I am just about to order this in the 16" ...

                I would very much appreciate it anyone that has this wok (the wok shop US made carbon steel pow wok) could let me know if the bottom is completely flat...

                Thanks!

                1. re: yatyat
                  t
                  toddster63 Mar 7, 2013 11:02 AM

                  The flat bottoms are rarely perfectly absolutely and completely flat. Remember these are manufactured for only a few dollars out of thinner grades of carbon steel.

                  Plus in my experience if they are more perfectly flat (the flatest bottom I have experienced was Ken Hom's "Green" wok, made in Taiwan), they soon warp a little from the intense heat of being right on top of the burners with the burners on high.

                  Even my BeBuyer Mineral pans, made of VERY heavy carbon steel, warped a significant amount from high heat; and they were as close as one could get to perfectly flat.

                  Granted, you only want a small amount of warping so the wok does indeed sit as flat as possible on the burner and take up a lot of heat. But those looking for an absolutely perfectly flat bottomed wok (wether American or Chinese made), are being rather un-realistic in my opinion. Woks will work just fine with a small amount of warping.

                  1. re: yatyat
                    w
                    wabi Mar 7, 2013 06:45 PM

                    I just came home from work and put my 14inch Wok Shop flat bottom pow wok on the counter top...I've used it pretty regularly since purchasing it..and YES, it is flat flat on the bottom. It sits on the counter plumb flat. I hope this helps.

                    1. re: wabi
                      y
                      yatyat Mar 7, 2013 10:27 PM

                      That helps a lot, thanks! I will go ahead and order place my order :D

                  2. re: rchapanis
                    r
                    rchapanis Mar 9, 2013 07:13 AM

                    P.S. I did get my money back. :) BTW, I purchased a wok from another manufacturer, and initially it was completely flat on the bottom. But, after one use, it warped a little so that it wasn't flat any longer.

                    I've come to the conclusion that no wok is going to stay completely flat after being exposed to very high temperatures.

                  3. re: wabi
                    b
                    bt123 Apr 8, 2013 05:10 AM

                    Hi Wabi,
                    How did the made in USA woks compare to your other ones?
                    Thanks!

                    1. re: bt123
                      w
                      wabi Apr 8, 2013 08:57 AM

                      Aloha.
                      I ended up purchasing a 12 and a 14 inch flat bottomed pow wok from the Wok Shop. I seasoned them using the Sheryl Canter guidelines using flaxseed oil and put them to work. To be honest with you, since receiving the pow wok from the Wok Shop, I have not used my hand hammered e-wok. They are very nice woks. I use it several times a week, so it is developing a nice seasoned finish. They are great utilitarian woks. I wouldnt hesitate at all to purchase them again. They are exactly what I wanted. I say go for it.

                      1. re: wabi
                        b
                        bt123 Apr 8, 2013 09:24 AM

                        Thanks, that was really helpful! I'll go order a 14" flat bottom Made in USA wok. How do you think Sheryl Canter's method (assuming its this one http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/) compares with the wok shop oven method (http://www.wokshop.com/tips_hints.html)? Does the Canter method leave the wok "bronzed" like the wok shop method?
                        Thanks!

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