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Jiangsu HengShun 6-Year Zhenjiang Black Vinegar $19.95

Suspected to be over 1,400 years old, Zhenjiang black vinegar is essential in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine.

Originating from the city of Zhenjiang, glutinous rice and other grains such as wheat, barley, and a type of pea are brewed through traditional methods to make the condiment—where enzymes break down the grains into simple sugars before qū (a special fermentation starter) is added. Finally, the vinegar’s flavor and color can be adjusted by adding water filtered through rice heated until black in color. This one, made by the centuries-old Jiangsu Hengshun Vinegar company, is aged for 6 years in traditional urns to promote a deeper, more complex taste.

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HOW TO USE

Use in marinades, sauces and dressings for depth and complexity, not just a vinegar tang. While the actual flavors are not interchangeable, you can think of using black vinegar in similar applications as balsamic—the complexity and full-bodied flavor stand up well to bold ingredients, balancing bitter vegetables, like in our Seared Radicchio with Sherry Vinegar, Blue Cheese and Walnuts, and enriching savory meats. The aging process also makes this a tasty condiment right out of the bottle. Try serving alone as a dip for dumplings. It also cuts through heavily spiced fried chicken or rich pork cutlets particularly well, like our Star Anise and Soy Shredded Pork.

Kitchen Notes

Use in marinades, sauces and dressings for depth and complexity, not just a vinegar tang. While the actual flavors are not interchangeable, you can think of using black vinegar in similar applications as balsamic—the complexity and full-bodied flavor stand up well to bold ingredients, balancing bitter vegetables, like in our Seared Radicchio with Sherry Vinegar, Blue Cheese and Walnuts, and enriching savory meats. The aging process also makes this a tasty condiment right out of the bottle. Try serving alone as a dip for dumplings. It also cuts through heavily spiced fried chicken or rich pork cutlets particularly well, like our Star Anise and Soy Shredded Pork.

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