The uses of woks are plenty and not exclusive to frying/h3>
The Chinese cooking wok is an artistic instrument. You heat it up, put ingredients, bit by bit, swirl it around, toss the contents and the result is a dish with a distinct flavour referred to as wok hei (or “breath of the wok”). It’s easier to taste wok hei than explain it in English. It’s a charred aroma, which suggests a screaming flame and precision in time, movement, the sequence of ingredients and just the right quantity so that the food gets cooked quickly at a high heat without being overcooked or burnt. You can taste it in beef hor fun (beef noodles) and dishes commonly served in Singapore’s zi char stalls.
The uses of woks are plenty and not exclusive to frying Chinese food. You can steam, braise and smoke food in a wok, warm tortillas, kneed dough and make popcorn using this long-wearing piece of kitchen hardware. You can also use the wok out of the kitchen.
Tiger Beer, a brand born and bred in Singapore and familiar with patrons of hawker centers and snazzy urban bars alike, brought the woks of Singapore hawkers to Australia and New Zealand in an exhibition called “Woks of Art.”
Touring the Australasian countries last year, the installation featured 20 woks, taken straight off the flame and shipped to Australian and New Zealand artists. Graphic artists, painters, and sculptors transformed the woks into artwork inspired by the street food culture of Singapore. They are colourful, wild and symbolic. “As a canvas the woks are exciting, they are old, dented, and full of character,” said curator James Dive from the Glue Society. “Rather than being a blank canvas each wok has a patina that talks of years of use, years of flame, basically telling a story before our artists even lift their brush.”