Hand Hammered Woks (then and now). Now, they are highly priced

I bought a hand hammered wok 10 years ago (2012) – from e-wok. I wrote a review on Chowhound back then. When the wok first arrived, it has a very beautiful pattern – look just like the photo from the book: Breath of a Wok. However, I forgot to take its original photo. Instead my photos are of “after cleaning, before seasoning” and “after seasoning”,
After washing, cleaning but before seasoning

After initial seasoning

In 2018, the hand hammered woks from ZhenSanHuan (臻三环) were briefly featured (~7 min) in a popular Chinese show: A Bite of China III.

Since then, hand hammered wok price got skyrocketed, and has becoming popular among wealthy Chinese people. Before this, I would say hand hammered woks were more respected outside of China than in China. The TV show has revived the dying hand hammered wok industry. Now, one can routinely see $200+ hand hammered woks from ZhenSanHuan (臻三环).

I took a three photos from a Los Angeles store.


Do you know the reason behind the rise in price? A lost art?

Since I bought a gas burner. (I have only induction as my cooktop at home, gas isn’t allowed in the zone I’m living), I’m thinking it’s time I invest in a decent wok.

Unfortunately, no. After the show, hand hammered woks got very popular and price skyrocketed. If anything, the quality went down. What happened is that many truck drivers, food deliverers… all jumped into hammering woks. So there is/was a huge influx of inexperienced people hammering woks – to catch that hype.

The TV show may have exaggerated the hand hammered works features compared to a normal wok.

Looks like it’s a media effect, when a thing is hand made artisanal, you can ask for more in the price, especially in the West.

In this case, if I travel in Asia, I will try to buy one there. But I’ve no idea when, and it’s a pretty heavy thing, or I will just get a normal but good wok.

Why not just buy it on internet? You will be surprised, these hand hammered wok prices on Chinese internet (Taobao) are not always cheaper. This is a screenshot of the official store.

2700 Chines yuans is $400 US dollars

Wow… (not yet included the transport) and euro = us - 1:1. Sucks!

Is there recommendation for alternative, that are as good?

Do you care if it is hand made? Hand hammered?

I heard that the one of the best hammered woks is actually the Japanese Yamada woks. These are hammered works, but machine assisted hammered. High quality stuffs too. Price range in like $80?

Yamada woks are not cheap-cheap too, but more in range of $80.

I mean. Yes, Chinese labor is still cheap, but having a person hammered hours to make a wok… that is a lot of works.

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If I can find a cheaper hand made (less than $200 if possible), if not, a normal one is very good for me too! I use it occasionally, not everyday.

I think so. I think the difficulty is to make sure you get one made by a professional person, not a truck driver just switched over to hammering a wok for you a month ago.
The photo I took from the store (in the original post). That is being sold for $150 I think

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Yeah, I know. There are many fake and unreliable sources from things coming from China. I saw many Japanese woks, are they made in China too? Problem is online store, their information is quite limited.

Found the photo. $135 for that wok.

Those Yamada works are made in Japan. They have factories in Japan.


Thanks for the help!

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ZhenSanHuan hammered wok

2nd photo, hammered 300 times
3th: 1000 times
5th: 6000 times
6th: 14000 times
7th: 23000 times
8th: 36000 times total!

The process:
Screen Shot 2022-07-18 at 11.10.09


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The 30,000 hammering is unrealistic. 5 seconds per hammered… 150,000 second…that translates to 1.7 full days (24 hours) of nonstop hammering. 4 half-days. That is like an entire work week to make one wok. The dude does nothing for a week but to hammer and make a wok for you.

That’s a reason to justify the price! :laughing:

But if you are not expert, you can’t tell it’s 10000 or 30000 times, I guess.

Aesthetically, I like it around 6000 times, but it’s not smooth enough.

Not 1 second or less per hammered? Faster during the final touch.

I bet this. One of those exaggeration advertisement: there was a wok which they made with 36000 hammered. It is just that you are NOT getting that one. :rofl:

Have you heard of the famous and Yixin clay teapot. Many people want to get a fully hand made one.

Even a relatively simple looking teapot will take a week to make by hand. More elaborate ones from a master artisan will take a month to make.

Are there people making these teapots fully by hands? Sure. Is anyone getting one under a few thousands dollars? No.

I just mean on average. If someone is doing 1 hammering per second nonstop for a week… just imagine the chronic injury. That person won’t last more than a week.

True, and you need to get a break from time to time.