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Black vinegar the ideal dipping sauce

By Qu Zhi (Shanghai Daily)

16:12, November 16, 2012

Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar

Vinegar plays a vital role in the kitchen, for flavoring, pickling dipping, marinades and salad dressings, and there are many kinds, from red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar to Chinese black vinegar.

As this is the season for hairy crabs, it's also the season for Chinese black vinegar, an aged product made from rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, or a combination of grains and sometimes fermented fruit. It has complex, malty flavor and an inky color. Some varieties may contain added sugar and spices.

In traditional Chinese medicine, crabs are considered to be "cold," ('yin-energy) foods that should be balanced with "warm" ('yang'-energy) foods such as vinegar, ginger and rice wine.

Here are some vinegar choices from City Shop and Pines The Market Place in Pudong.

Shiquan Black Vinegar
Origin: Taiwan
Price: 11.60 yuan (US$6.24)/100ml
Description: This Chinese black vinegar is brewed from a variety of fruits and vegetables. It has a mellow aroma, dark brown color and mild, sweet and sour taste.

Hengtaifeng Vinegar
Origin: Taiwan
Price: 82 yuan (US$13.15)/520ml
Description: This brand dates from 1949 and the company insists on using traditional methods, not industrial mass production. Premium products are not always available. It features layers of complexity, a balanced taste and tempting bouquet.

Regina White Wine Vinegar
Origin: USA
Price: 35.80 yuan (US$5.74)/355ml
Description: The brand uses top-quality grapes from private vineyards in California. The vinegar is made from Champagne stock with a mild and delicate flavor. It has multiple uses in dressings, sauces and marinades.

S&W Red Wine Vinegar
Origin: USA
Price: 19.90 yuan (US$3.19)/473ml
Description: Fermented from red wine grapes, this vinegar has a balanced 6-percent acidity that is preferred by many restaurants and home cooks who prefer extra-rich flavor and bouquets. It has multiple uses in dressings, sauces and marinades.

Zhenjiang Vinegar
Origin: China
Price: 3.80 yuan (US$61)/500ml
Description: Zhenjiang vinegar is probably the most famous Chinese black vinegar, with an inky color and complex, malty flavor. It is made in the city of Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, and can be used in dipping sauces and hot dishes.

Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar

Origin: USA
Price: 28.50 yuan (US$4.57)/473ml
Description: Heinz uses 100-percent natural sweet apples to produce this brownish-gold vinegar. It has a clean, mellow flavor and multiple uses in cooking, marinades, sauces and salads.

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