Chinese Rice Wine

I’m putting this here rather than spirits section: I’ve almost used up a bottle of rice wine and went to an Asian market to look for a new one. I read it’s better to get one without salt as an ingredient.

There were a lot on the shelf and no employee to discuss.

Any ideas? I have a bottle of vermouth I use for cooking, couldn’t I just use that?

I’ll bet I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.


I don’t usually stock rice wine, but rice vinegar is always in the pantry. You could mix a little with your vermouth and I am guessing that would work out fine.

I just use the vinegar, and depending on what I am cooking, I can smooth out the acidity with a sweetener (sugar/brown sugar/agave/sherry).

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I’ve used aged and not aged shaoxing wine, not much of a price difference. Right now I have the one on the left in the pic.


I was going to link out the the Woks of LIfe too (as above), great source.

If you didn’t have it on hand, I would go for sherry instead of vermouth, I think the flavor profile is more similar.


I really like The Woks of Life people. Have you read about all their work growing veggies on their new property? Raising a few chickens and ducks? Lotta hard work.

I’m trying to get better at making Chinese food. Mastery. I like the blog and cookbook of Recipe Tin Eats


Not too dry Sherry is the best sub IMO but if your goal is “Mastery” you should use Shaoxing or Baijiu.
Here is some good info on what and why. Steph and Chris also are a great resource for recipes.

Here is another guide from a Szechuan Cooking Site


From an older thread.

Most of the same links as on this thread.

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What do you use your rice wine for?

That will inform us on what substitutes are best, and whether you should even try using rice wine to begin with.

Supreme Soy Sauce Noodles from Recipe Tin Eats calls for a tablespoon.

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You don’t need it for that.

If you’re subconsciously worried about it just use a very dry lager (like Asahi or Hahn Superdry), opened overnight to make it go flat.

Or vermouth.

Seems a lot more expensive - and silly -
to open a bottle of beer for a tbsp than to just buy a bottle of inexpensive shaoxing wine for the pantry — especially when someone has stated the goal of cooking more chinese food.


easier to find dry beer than Chinese rice wine

at least for many folks here

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The OP:

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I was using the last of a bottle I already own, I’ll post the photo. Funny that the label just says cereals, oil and foodstuffs.

I’m in SF so there are many Chinese markets available. I plan to buy a bottle of the Hua Diao you posted.


Here are the noodles I made.


Off topic slightly, at the market I most often shop at, I have often encountered older gentlemen stopping by for a bottle or two of something while I was trying to make sense of the choices.

At a market a bit further away that I go to less often but much prefer, last week I was blocked by 4 young folks crowded around the shaoxing wine sale display, loading up baskets with the cheapest one on offer.

I assumed that the value proposition of wanting some kind of booze to drink when price sensitive was strongly in favor of the 2.99 sale bottles vs conventional options (never mind the better, pricey shaoxing wine in the video linked earlier).

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For cooking, the salt added alcohol is fine. It is cheaper. I know many people like Shao Xing rice wine, but truth is that for what I do… it really does not matter much. If we do exactly what we ask for for every recipes… we will have 20+ different cooking wine. Just my Japanese recipes easily ask for more than three different rice alcohol.

I think someone told you to use the one without salt is because… typically speaking, the one with salt is the lowest quality and only for cooking. So there is your indirect reasoning… the quality for cooking alcohol does not need to be good. I won’t worry too much about this. That being said, you can always use higher quality alcohol if you want.

This reminds me of something. In Japan, children often use green tea for gargling. Low quality tea is used for gargling.



Just translation

Very broad description. I’ve had this bottle quite a while, maybe law requires more specifics now, such as includes salt.