Good Eatin’ – Shanxi Aged Vinegar and Gyoza

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Progress: 744/751Food item: Shanxi Extra Aged Vinegar

I have had this bottle of vinegar in my cupboards for months. Like a lot of my more recent food items, I had to buy this online as I feel a bit self-conscious when buying things like this in a speciality store where I need to check bottles against Chinese characters on my phone. Also, in this way, I don’t come home with products that turn out to be incorrect… which happened to me twice when trying to get this vinegar.

Since I figured this type of vinegar would work really well as a dipping sauce, I made sure that we got some gyoza during a recent takeout order. I didn’t realise, however, just how strong this vinegar was and how a little of it really does go a long way. Good thing I’m fairly conservative when dipping my dumplings.

The first thing that hits you as you open the bottle is smokiness. I guess that’s part of the result of the ageing process coming through, but it always throws me for a loop when something like vinegar has a smokey aroma. Underneath it, the taste has a sour and dark sweetness – like if you made vinegar using molasses or jaggery. I guess it’s like a really potent balsamic but with very little of the acidity. Not sure where I am going to use this other than as a dipping vinegar but whatever I end up doing with it, this will be used sparingly.

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