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Oct 24, 2012 05:54 PM

Best Chinese Wine for Cooking

My soup recipe calls for 2 c. Chinese cooking wine (sic). I'm unclear exactly what that means, but I used what I had in the house. The broth wasn't bad, could have been better, but I'm wondering if a better wine would have made the difference.

I find the wine selection in the sauce aisle of my Asian grocery to be extremely confusing. When I asked for help in choosing a wine last week I was very firmly directed to the display of rice vinegars. So no help there.

What varieties and brands of wine would you recommend for Chinese cooking?

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  1. I've had some given to me and do not remember the name, but it was definitely of drinking quality, tasting almost exactly like a Fino sherry. Your store experience is odd, especially as they apparently do have wine; "cooking" wine is almost always adulterated with salt and stuff to make it undrinkable, so you want a wine you wouldn't mind drinking, assuming you do. Perhaps you should just tell them you're looking for a nice tasty wine and don't even mention cooking. If that fails, hit the wine store and get some Fino or medium-dry sherry.

    1. I use a wine that looks similar to the red one, except I buy the "premium" one, which is about a dollar more.

      1 Reply
      1. re: smtucker

        Shaoxing is what I had, and it was not labelled "cooking wine", nor did it taste like it. It was in a rahther fahncy ceramic bottle shaped like a stylized cat with a blue-jade glaze. I do still have the bottle … it was really very good.

      2. jug of cooking sherry. poor me uses taylor.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chowrin

          Hey - no need to feel "poor" by using "Taylor Dry Sherry". I've been using it for DECADES in all my Asian cooking & the end results have always been top-notch!! :)

        2. I buy Shaoxing at my wine store where I can buy good quality drinking wine and not the adulterated cooking wine sold in most Asian groceries.

          1. Thanks all. The red bottle that smtucker referred to is the one I ran out of and was trying to replace, with no luck. There was sherry in the house, but not enough, unfortunately. The Chinese wine I had in the house was bought by mistake a while back and I avoided using it specifically due to the addition of salt. You see, many years ago I worked for the company that made Holland House "cooking" wines and I darn well know better than to use anything called cooking wine.
            So it looks like I was on the right track in the store and just need to find someone with better English skills to help me find the right bottle.