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What are the disadvantages of a wok?

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Answered 2009-11-04 01:50:18

The wok is a venerable vessel handed over to us from the Chinese, and it's a versatile and easy tool to use.

The only disadvantage is that electric stove tops are not well suited to wok cooking because the flat electric burner does not transfer heat well to the round bottom of the wok. The flat bottomed woks designed for electric stoves help, but then do not cook the same as the traditional round bottomed woks. Luckily, if you have an electric stove it is easy and inexpensive to get a single burner portable gas burner like the 'Burton' units for you wok.

If you have a huge wok (bigger than 14 or 16 inches in diameter) you will need a lot of heat to cook in it properly - just as you would for any huge sized cooking vessel.


It depends on what kind of wok you're asking about:

  • Teflon covered woks are terrible -- you can't use them with high enough heat (food burns and the chemicals leach out of the teflon), and they get scratched.
  • Carbon steel are great. Some are made with a single sheet of steel, and these are tougher to use without burning the food. The double-sheet is heavier and much more consistent. The best is a hand hammered carbon steel wok. Seasoning using the salt seasoning method is very very easy.
  • Cast iron comes in two type -- the Chinese version is thin and probably the best by most criteria. The Western version is much thicker/heavier, which makes it hard to pick up and toss food with (you need to use a utensil, which isn't the classic way to do it). Also, because it's so heavy, the wok takes a LONG time to heat up and to cool, which is just inconvenient unless it's in a restaurant/catering scenario, where it's running long-term.

The wok cooking site at foodly wise explains all about seasoning a wok and caring for a wok - it is very easy.

The quick answer: the only disadvantage is to a wok is if you have no gas stove! Otherwise, there are none!

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