About The Reason Why The Asian Wok Exploded (Surprise!)

The Asian wok is one of the most versatile kitchen tools in the world. It can be used for not only stir-frying, but also steaming, braising, and even indoor smoking. So, no wonder that chefs rely heavily on the wok, and you’ll definitely find a plethora of dishes in practically any Asian restaurant that has been cooked in this ‘multitool’.


Below you will find out more about the history of the wok, why it became popular, and how you can use it in your everyday life.

Why Did the Asian Wok Explode?

A wok is a round-bottomed cooking utensil with high sides and either two side handles or a large single handle.

The round bottom allows the heat to be distributed a lot more evenly than in a regular pan, so the food ends up getting prepared quicker. And thanks to the high walls of the wok, you’ll be able to toss and mix up all the ingredients.


It is believed that the wok was first invented in China over 2,000 years ago! In the United States, Asian food was introduced in the mid-1800s when Chinese immigrants started settling in California. At that time, the food was consumed mainly by the country’s Chinese population.

In the 1920s, exotic dishes became popular with young cosmopolitans, and the phenomenon grew only bigger ever since. This eventually led to the creation of the so-called ‘American-Chinese’ cuisine that was developed by the Chinese immigrants who adapted the majority of dishes to American tastes.

What Does Asian Wok Taste Like?


Work hei or ‘the breath of wok’ is a term that is used to describe the tastes and flavor imparted by an extremely hot wok on food. This flavor is typically the strongest in dishes that require searing heat.

In a nutshell, wok hei is a rather complex smoky flavor that can be achieved only by cooking fresh ingredients over heat. In such a case, the flavor will develop while still maintaining a delicious crunch.

However, to achieve this signature flavor it’s not enough to simply bring the wok to an extremely high temperature. In fact, professional Asian chefs would have to:

  1. Heat up the wok to a very high temperature gradually.
  2. When the wok is extra hot, add cold oil, and only then – the raw ingredients. Such a technique helps make sure that the oil doesn’t have a chance to start decomposing.
  3. Add just the right amount of oil. If too much of the ingredient is added, the food will simply be fried, if the chef adds too little oil, there will be no wok hei.
  4. Have the perfect amount of water on the fresh ingredients. If there is too much water, the food will become soggy, but if there’s too little water, the food will burn. The water is also important for the ignition of flame. As soon as it causes the oil droplets to mix with oxygen, they come in contact with the flames underneath the wok, and that’s exactly what helps create the unique smoky taste.
  5. Add only a small amount of food. If too many ingredients get added to the wok, wok hei won’t be achieved. Having a small amount of food helps the chef control the temperature and stir the mixture extremely quickly.

Such a flavor is difficult to master and challenging to describe. But wok hei is exactly what adds depth and complexity to Asian dishes, and it can only be achieved through the use of an extra hot wok.

How to Choose an Asian Wok


Before attempting to cook an Asian wok dish, you would have to find the right tool for the job. Here are the main factors that you would have to consider when choosing a wok:

  • The shape

Traditional woks have round bottoms, but they work only with dedicated wok burners. If you don’t have one, you can buy a wok ring to be able to use a round-bottomed wok. But if the cooking surface in your kitchen is completely flat, then you might have to go with a flat-bottomed wok (in fact, this is the only choice for an electric stove).

  • The size

The majority of Asian woks are 13-14 inches. A 14-inch wok is typically great if you’re constantly cooking for 2-5 people. You might want to go just a bit smaller if you live alone or rarely cook for more than 2 people.

  • The material

It is not recommended to choose non-stick or Teflon-coated woks as those are not made for high-heat cooking (which essentially Asian woks have been created for).

Instead, you might want to pick between these three options:

  1. A stainless-steel wok is light and doesn’t rust which means that it’s very easy to maintain the tool in great condition. However, such woks can be quite sticky and can develop black spots incredibly fast.
  2. Cast-iron woks are the ‘traditional’ option. These woks can last for decades, but they take longer to heat up and the majority of them are quite heavy. Furthermore, cast-iron woks will rust if you don’t take proper care of them, so you would have to season the tool before the first use and then coat it with vegetable oil and reheat it over flame after every use.
  3. Carbon steel woks are preferred by the majority of restaurants as they’re relatively inexpensive and light. They also season well over time and create a non-stick surface. You would have to properly take care of the wokto avoid rusting, but it will all be worth it in the end as you’ll be able to reproduce that famous ‘restaurant’ flavor.

How to Make Asian Wok

If you can’t wait to finally test out your Asian wok, then you might want to give this Takeout-Style Kung Pao Chicken recipe a try.

  1. Marinate dark-meat chicken for about 20 minutes in a mixture of salt, sugar, soy sauce, white pepper, oil, Shaoxing wine, and a touch of cornstarch.
  2. Stir-fry small batches of chicken in the wok. You want it to take on a light brown color but stay raw in the middle.
  3. Stir-fry red and green bell peppers and celery. Let the oil in the wok come to a light smoke before adding each batch of veggies.
  4. Add in some roasted peanuts, finely minced garlic, ginger, and scallions. Give the mixture a few tosses and add some dried red chiles.
  5. Add the chicken back to the wok for a quick toss.
  6. Dump your sauce made out of soy sauce, vinegar, chicken broth, sesame oil, sugar, and cornstarch over the ingredients and perform another quick toss over the heat.

What Restaurant Should You Visit If You Love Asian Wok?

There are plenty of restaurants named ‘Asian Wok’ across the United States that serve a wide range of specialty dishes.

Panda Express is the largest Asian-segment restaurant chain in the US and each day the team of their chefs step up to the line and harness the power of the wok. So, if you’re looking for a quick and budget-friendly way to give a few wok dishes a try, then Panda Express should become your location of choice.

What’s on the Asian Wok Menu?

Some of the most popular Asian wok recipes include:

  • Chicken stir fry
  • Beef and broccoli stir fry
  • Hunan shrimp
  • Thai cashew chicken
  • General Tso’s chicken
  • Korean beef bulgogi

Leave a Reply

您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注

You Might Also Like

  • All Post
  • Good-tasting food
  • Interesting utensils
  • Kitchen Safety
Edit Template

About Me

Hi there! My name is Zitang, and I’m a retired chef who has a passion for all things related to the kitchen. That’s why I founded my website, Kitchen Joker, to share my love of cooking with others.

Phone: +1 (555) 123-4567
Email: lzt1344248578@gmail.com

Useful Links

Online Cookbook


Useful Links


Online Cookbook

Recent Posts

  • All Post
  • Good-tasting food
  • Interesting utensils
  • Kitchen Safety

© 2022 Created with Royal Elementor Addons