Posted 3 months ago
This wok is 14" in diameter, made of thick gauge high carbon spun steel and marked "Made in Hong Kong" on the bottom. I have had this wok for about 20 years and suspect it dates to the 1980s. Around that time I had an acute longing for real SE Asian fried rice like I used to buy from street vendors or was made for me by friends. There was zero chance of finding anything close where I lived, so I determined that I would have to make it myself. I tried a couple of ways with conventional cookware but just couldn't get it quite right. The texture was off, not really fried. I had seen it made many times and as I thought about it, always in woks. So, I needed a wok. I did quite a bit of research and decided for the best chance of success my new wok had to be spun, high carbon steel and around 14" in diameter. I also wanted it to be made somewhere in SE Asia where I had once lived or spent time, not China. I looked for something new or used for quite a while and could not find exactly what I was looking for.
One day I was in a local thrift shop that did estate liquidations and found this wok. It was a mess. Someone had not properly seasoned it and it was mostly still "in the gray" with a mess of burnt debris in the center. But, it was the right size, the handle configuration I prefer, spun high carbon steel with ridges on the sides which would hold food moved there until it was ready to be moved back to the center, a proper wok. It was also made in Hong Kong where I had spent some R&R time so, close enough. It was only a couple of dollars, maybe less, I don't recall, so I decided to give it a try.
I spent the evening stripping it back to the original finish and seasoning it and it worked great, but I needed a ring (base) and lid for it, so I decided to go back to the same thrift shop and see if they had gotten any other items with the wok. Sure enough I found the lid and ring which the folks at the thrift shop had not known were things which were used with woks so were in a different pile of stuff.
So now I have authentic street food fried rice whenever I want, this is one of my most treasured bits of cookware and the search and restoration process makes it very personal. The YouTube video linked below has a decent recipe and instructions, but my recipe is different, more authentic to the street food I have had.