If you are dipping your toe into the world of international cooking, I have ideas for you on the best Chinese cookware, cooking tools, and wok utensils out there.
So much to learn, cook, and enjoy! My family has enjoyed discovering and tasting Chinese and Spanish cuisine through relationships built through hosting students.
Priceless lifelong friendships have been forged! Learning about international food and cooking has been an added bonus.
Along with the cuisine, we’ve discovered new ingredients, kitchen appliances, and Chinese cooking tools that come in handy when making these new dishes.
Below I look deeper into ways to outfit our kitchens, so we can create and journey into new flavors together!
What is a Chinese Wok?
A Chinese wok is a large bowl-shaped cooking pan used mainly for stir-frying.
It is round, wide, and moderately shallow. It’s probably singularly the most well-known and important Chinese cooking tool.
What is the best wok to buy?
The best wok to buy is the one that fits your lifestyle, cooking style, and budget and fits best with your kitchen setup.
If your goal is home-cooked delicious food, you can get by with almost any wok. But if you want to cook more professionally and reach a higher standard like a Chinese restaurant, you will need to make specific choices.
Most restaurants use a large, carbon steel, commercial-grade wok. With high heat and searing, they achieve Chinese food with incredible flavor known as “wok hay” or “wok hei.”
Wok hay is a Cantonese phrase used to describe a distinct character and fragrance that is produced in a dish when authentic stir-frying is done.
“Hay” means “energy” or “breath”; therefore, “wok hay” implies “the energy or breath of a wok.”
Many Chinese dishes can be made right in your typical frying pan. So you can certainly start where you are! The home cook may appreciate nonstick pans for easy cooking and cleanup.
Our friends Zhengheng (Dave) from Shanghai and Yulin Zhou (James), from the Hunan Province of China, love to cook but are not professionals. In their respective home kitchens in China, they also use kitchen tools that do the job but are easy to care for.
Zhengzheng says his family back home cooks primarily in a nonstick wok pan
with higher sides, similar to a couple of the woks below. This gives you added real estate to push food around in different temperature zones without pushing food over the edge.
Interestingly enough, they also eat out of bowls for the same reasons. Everything is safely contained.
Woks are great for stir-frying many noodles and vegetable dishes. There are many options out there. Below are woks that get great reviews and are balanced with affordable price tags. (affiliate links in color)
Carbon Style Woks
Carbon Steel Wok
Here’s an authentic 14-inch hand-hammered carbon steel wok that’s made in China. This classic wok had to be number one in the best wok review because it is a perennial favorite.
It has a flat bottom for better balance and stability against many common flat kitchen cooking surfaces, for example, electric, induction, or radiant heat stovetops.
You can get a completely rounded bottom wok variety if you have a gas or dedicated wok station.
You can also purchase a ring holder or wok stand that allows a round bottom wok to behave on a flat surface.
The professionals and restaurants like carbon steel best, but it does require care and the knowledge to season it properly plus employ correct cooking processes (i.e., use very high heat and add oil after, not before, etc.).
I own a model similar to this one but with a round bottom, and it does work great, but for my kitchen, I am ready for a nonstick wok in my life for ease and cleanup alone.
Wok/Stir Fry Pan
This one is a great wok for beginners and home cooking enthusiasts. It has a long-life nonstick, PFOA-free Teflon select.
I would use this for a variety of cooking, not just Asian stir fry recipes. It is coated 5 times with Teflon print designs and has extra-heavy gauge forged aluminum construction.
Consider cookware with a lifetime warranty.
Best Non Toxic Wok
Thankfully, there are so many non-toxic options on the market. Choose between great Teflon-free woks that won’t give off harmful chemicals in your home and put your family at risk.
Below are some of the best non-toxic woks available on amazon.com.
Nonstick Wok Stir Fry Pan
This pan was my first choice when I set out to do wok reviews! I love the clean look and good-looking solid black finish.
It has the high sides of a classic wok, a nonstick hard-anodized surface, and a see-through cover.
It is durable, heats evenly and quickly, and prevents hot spots. Perfect for easy food release, tossing, cleaning, and healthy cooking.
This could be the best wok for a small apartment or kitchen because of its flexibility alone! Move it anywhere, inside or out (if you have electricity).
It’s the classic shape with its dome-shaped lid and perfect for any type of stir-fry, saute or simmer.
Though it won’t reach the high temps of carbon steel, the material allows for excellent heat circulation for any dish you throw its way.
Best Outdoor Wok Burner
As its name implies, an outdoor wok burner is used outside and created to quickly deliver a tremendous amount of heat. This allows your wok or Chinese cookware to be heated up fast!
It delivers a restaurant-style burner with a tremendous kick of flame. You can then accomplish cooking techniques not easily done indoors.
If you want to create authentic restaurant-style food, this is worthwhile.
It allows you to sear an outstanding steak and add skilled smokiness, steam, and stirfry to your heart’s content, just like a professional chef.
Many stoves include a hotter burner, or some include a wok-style burner with a larger flame which helps with Chinese cooking.
Consider purchasing a wok ring (affiliate link) if you don’t have this in your kitchen. They are not mandatory but can be helpful.
A wok ring rests on top of your stovetop burners and secures the wok so it won’t move around while you are cooking.
It is optional if you already have steel or cast iron grate burners on your stove. We don’t use one.
Helpful Kitchen Tools to Make Chinese Food
Wooden Spoon for Nonstick Pans
I absolutely love wooden spoons. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Here’s a good solid, one-piece beech wood variety. I do own a few of these!
The OXO brand is so awesome. It is always top quality.
This spoon is great for woks and other cooking too. It’s got a large, comfortable handle, a natural oil finish, and is safe for non-stick cookware.
Stainless Steel Strainer
This strainer is made of premium food-grade 18/8 stainless steel, which is heat-resistant and sturdy. It won’t be deformed even after long-term use.
The material is safer and more durable than plastic. This works great for scooping when we make Zhengzheng’s Chinese pork dumpling recipe!
Below are convenient cooking options for rice and so much more.
Black + Decker 16-Cup Cooked/8-Cup Uncooked Rice Cooker and Food Steamer
Here’s a great budget-friendly choice for young adults, college students, or anyone really.
Zhengzheng has this one at his University of Minnesota college apartment and loves it. This rice cooker is easy to use, clean, and priced at under $20.
It makes up to 6 cups of rice effortlessly in less than 30 minutes and keeps it warm with an automatic warming function.
A glass lid makes it easy to check on things and can rest on the cooker’s side handles.
As a bonus, it comes with a steaming basket, measuring cup, and serving spoon, to help you create a variety of meals.
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker
If you don’t have room for a bunch of random appliances in your kitchen, here’s the perfect choice for a variety of recipes.
My friends and family swear by it. It makes perfect rice, but a million other things too!
This is the best-selling model; America’s most loved multi cooker, built with the latest 3rd generation technology, the microprocessor monitors pressure and temperature.
It keeps time and adjusts heating intensity and duration to achieve desired results every time.
Aroma Housewares 2-8 Cup Rice Grain Cooker and Food Steamer
This fast and dependable food cooker and steamer from Aroma does it all.
It can prepare up to 2 to 8 cups of cooked rice at a time. The multi-functional appliance perfectly cooks white and brown rice, jambalaya, steamed veggies, and even a cake.
Additionally, it has steaming capabilities, a steam tray allows you to prepare your veggies above all while rice, soup, or any other meal cooks below, allowing you to save time without sacrificing quality.
There’s the start of my Chinese cooking tools “must-have” list. I will be adding more ideas as I continue to learn!
Authentic Chinese Recipes
Now that you have the proper Chinese cookware and tools, here are some tasty items to make with them!
What’s your favorite cooking accessory? I’d love to hear about it.
Enjoy your culinary adventures and explore new kitchen tools!
Subscribe to Bloom’s Recipe Emails
There are newsletters for other topics too, including crafts, sewing, gnomes, entertaining, and home & garden.
After you subscribe, update your interests by clicking “manage your subscription” at the bottom of the e-mail you receive. That way, we send you only what you like. Enjoy!
Some products contain affiliate links. When you buy through Amazon affiliate links on my site, I may earn a small commission, but at no cost to you. See the shop page for more information.