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Shaoxing wine in Honolulu?

wabi Aug 16, 2013 08:11 PM

I'm looking for some real Shaoxing wine for cooking purposes. I am used to using that wretched salted cooking wine and would like to buy the genuine article. Andrea Nguyen recommends Pagoda Brand, but I will accept any brand really except for the stuff that is pre salted and is labeled "cooking wine". Does any of the Hawaii regulars know where I can buy some in Chinatown? BTW...I live on Kauai, so I will have to pick it up on a trip to Oahu.

  1. j
    Joebob Aug 17, 2013 11:31 AM

    I got Pagoda brand at Pacific Market, but I just read the label and it does contain salt.

    1. indelibledotink Aug 17, 2013 10:48 PM

      why not buy online?

      1 Reply
      1. re: indelibledotink
        wabi Aug 18, 2013 09:52 AM

        I've not seen it for sale online. I can buy the salted "cooking wine", but not the unsalted variety that was made for drinking. Andrea Nguyen explains the differences here:


      2. indelibledotink Aug 19, 2013 02:12 AM

        try a liquor store. in some areas it's regulated and the salted versions are not because they aren't drinkable wine.

        4 Replies
        1. re: indelibledotink
          KaimukiMan Aug 19, 2013 11:14 AM

          Indelible: do you happen to know of a liquor store that sells it (salted or unsalted)?

          I think I'd give both Fujioka's and Tamura's a call and see if they carry it. If not they can probably suggest who might. I'd kinda be surprised if Don Quijote doesn't sell it as well.

          1. re: KaimukiMan
            indelibledotink Aug 19, 2013 06:57 PM

            no. maybe the liquor collection at ward warehouse?

            1. re: KaimukiMan
              Glicoman Jan 26, 2014 04:38 PM

              Donki has a Shaoxing wine on sale this week, it's on the front page of their weekly ad:


              doesn't say what brand tho.

              1. re: Glicoman
                indelibledotink Jan 26, 2014 08:51 PM

                yup, swung by there (kaheka) today. there's a small section of chinese liquor with several shaoxing drinking wines. no pagoda brand, tho.

          2. h
            honu2 Aug 19, 2013 05:46 PM

            I was on Maunakea St. in Chinatown buying moon cakes for the upcoming full moon festival and ducked into Bo Wah Trading Company to see what they had in the way of "real Shaoxing wine". Bo Wah is not so much a grocery store as it is a Chinese restaurant supply house where things like tea pots, serving dishes and Chinese cooking utensils of all sizes are sold.

            They had a several different brands of Shaoxing, but not the Pagoda Brand, on the bottom shelf of the second (from the door) display unit. Some of the labels clearly indicated in English that the liquid was salted; others did not. And then there were bottles with no English appearing on the labels. It was impossible to sort the bottles by whether or not the wine was salted in the limited time I had, but you might want to try it if you're in Honolulu.

            6 Replies
            1. re: honu2
              roro808 Aug 19, 2013 08:28 PM

              Whenever my recipe calls for rice wine and I don't have it, I just use dry sherry... no problem and the food comes out as good. Guarantee no salt in dry sherry :)

              1. re: roro808
                honu2 Aug 20, 2013 12:46 PM

                Myself, I always use dry sherry insted of Shaoxing for the same reasons as you state and also it means having one less bottle to store. However, I can relate to the OP's original concerns when it comes to substitutions. For example, can/could a cook substitute Sriracha for sambal oelek or Vietnamese fish sauce for Filipino patis and still come up with essentially the same result?

                1. re: honu2
                  wabi Aug 20, 2013 08:42 PM

                  I could use dry sherry. As it is I use the salted version I bought in some Chinese grocery store so long ago.. What I want to see is what does the real thing taste like, and what does it do to the taste of the final result.

                  As a person who cooks a lot of asian food, you can surely tell the difference between using La Choy soy sauce versus Kikkoman or Yamasa. Likewise there is a difference between Filipino Patis and Vietnamese style fish sauce like 3 Crabs or Red Boat.

                  Me...I just like to accurately reproduce the recipes, and make them as authentic as possible.

                  1. re: wabi
                    roro808 Aug 21, 2013 12:48 AM

                    IMO -- authenticity is always a question mark. If you go to the origins of the food, and eat the supposedly authentic meals, one household cooking differs from one another. One can attempt to cook as close to the recipe using the basic ingredients and call it your own authentic creation. They way my grandmother made rendang (Indonesian dried curry) is different from the way my aunt made it. But both use mainly the basic ingredients. So, who is to tell which one is the authentic recipe. I created my own authentic recipe whenever I cook without going out too far from the main ingredients. But, that's me.

                2. re: roro808
                  indelibledotink Jan 25, 2014 10:56 PM

                  cooking sherry can be salted, though, use real sherry.

                  i'm looking to see if i can find any real shaoxing wine online right now.

                  1. re: indelibledotink
                    indelibledotink Jan 26, 2014 04:17 PM

                    no luck.

              2. r
                roro808 Aug 23, 2013 01:19 AM

                Spent time in Chinatown today and checked on rice wines, either Japanese or Chinese. They all have 1.5% salt added to it. I guess it must have something to do with the fact that the wine is derived from rice ? You can find a lot of brands in a store on the corner of N.King/Kekaulike. Have to be patient, though == there is no service and the place is stuffed with merchandise and the aisles are very narrow. No airconditioning either. But, that's the fun of shopping in Chinatown :)

                1. a
                  Argyle Aug 23, 2013 04:09 AM

                  First, a caveat: I don't really drink, and I know nothing about the different types of shaoxing wine. I do use the cheap Pagoda brand salted stuff when I cook Chinese food quite often.

                  Have you tried the liquor department of Don Quijote? I swear I saw some non-salted shaoxing wine at the Don Quijote in Pearl City. I'd bet the other locations have some too...

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