It is not a secret that woks have changed how we cook. Becoming a necessity in our kitchens. But do you know it’s to the wok hei? Wok hei—wok’s breath or wok’s air, whereby the wok reaches the heat before transferring it to your food. However, this wok hei is affected by the shape of the wok.
So, you might be asking yourself, which wok is the best for that stir fry you want to prepare. This article compares flat bottom wok vs round bottom wok (which one is best). But before we go into that, let’s have an overview of woks.
Woks are utensils believed to be invented in China during the Han dynasty over two millennials ago. The word wok is derived from a Cantonese word for the cooking pot. Woks were initially made out of cast iron metals which made them durable. However, over a long period, other materials have been used to make woks. These woks types based on materials include:
· Carbon steel wok
· Aluminum wok
· Iron wok
· Stainless steel wok
· Hard-Anodized wok
· Copper wok
· Nonstick coated wok
· Hybrid wok
· Ceramic wok
Despite these woks coming in different materials. They have two base types. Flat bottom and round bottom. Each base type has its advantages and disadvantages. In the next section, you will find more on the two types of woks. The sections also gives a comparison on the flat bottom wok and round bottom wok and a verdict on which is the best.
Flat Bottom vs Round Bottom Wok In-depth Comparison
Flat Bottom Wok
A flat-bottomed wok is made by flattening the bottom surface that comes into contact with the heat source. Commonly used on gas or electric stoves, this wok has the following advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of flat bottom wok
The flat surface on which the wok comes into contact with heat is flat hence stable when cooking.
· Better heat distribution
The flat bottom wok comes into direct contact with heat, this leads to faster and better heat distribution.
· Easy to handle
The woks with a flat bottom are easy to handle as you won’t require the use of added apparatus such as a wok ring.
Disadvantages of a flat bottom wok
· Less durable
Flat bottom woks are prone to warping. Warping refers to bending or twist. Warping comes from ling intense heating of the wok. This warping is with exception of sturdy materials like carbon steel.
· Limiting in stir-frying
These woks don’t accommodate a lot of food. Trying to stir fry in them may lead to unevenly cooked food.
· Challenging when tossing using wok spatula
An attempt to toss using a spatula in this wok type proves futile. It can lead to patina damage.
Round bottom wok
The round bottom wok on the other hand is spherical-shaped at the bottom. Round bottom woks are used in gas stoves, however, with a wok ring, you can use it on a flat-surfaced cooking range. This wok has the following advantages and limitations:
Advantages of a round bottom wok
· Even heat distribution
The round bottom wok has an upper hand when it comes to even heat distribution. The bottom to up heat distribution ensures even food cooking.
· Ease in stir fry
Unlike the flat-bottomed wok, stir-frying in a round bottom wok is easy owing to the high heat threshold and size.
· Don’t wrap
These woks can withstand high heat for long without bending.
· Enables use of wok spatula
Most restaurants use this wok because you can easily stir using a spatula when using a round-bottomed wok.
Disadvantages of round bottom wok
· Less stable
Round bottom is wobbly and if you aren’t careful, you might end up spilling your food while cooking. You require a wok ring to gain stability.
· Limiting on an electric range
Cooking on a flat-surfaced electric cooking range can be challenging when using a round bottom wok. The round surface makes it hard for even heat distribution on an electric stove.
Which Wok is the Best?
Of the two wok types, the round bottom wok has an upper hand. The advantage over flat bottomed wok comes from both better food handling capability and even heat distribution. You will find that even the wok ring limiting factor doesn’t affect your cooking much. Using a spatula in this wok is also easy and it reduces the chances of undercooking your food.
However, if you are a beginner and, in a hurry, you better use a flat-bottomed wok. This is because it distributes heat faster and is easy to handle. All in all, choosing a wok can also be affected by other factors. These factors include:
Factors to consider while choosing a wok type
· Cooking range
The cooking range in your possession will affect the wok type you will use. If you have a glass top cooking range, you will opt for the flat-bottomed wok since it will come into direct contact with the electric burner.
· Food to cook in the wok
If you intend to cook hard that will require high heat, you better go for a round bottom wok. The reason being, the round bottom wok doesn’t warp on high heating. They also have even heat distribution which ensures that your food’s even cooking.
· Family size
For users with large family sizes, you should use the round-bottomed wok. This wok can hold a large volume of food. You will cook without food spillage. If you are alone, you will find a flat-bottomed wok suitable for your cooking.
· Cooking method
The cooking method you will use also affects the wok type you will go for. Some cooking methods like deep frying requires round-bottomed wok. This is because they can handle the heat that can get cooking oil to the required smoking point without warping.
These two wok types require a different level of experience. If you are a beginner, you should use the easy to handle flat bottomed wok. The experienced users can handle the wobbly round-bottomed wok with ease.
As a wok user, you will not only have to consider what you intend to cook and the volume of food, but also the type of cooking range you are using. This article has shown you that both the round bottom wok and flat bottom wok have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Use it as a reference to make a wise decision when acquiring your wok.