Joyce Chen J22-0060 Traditional Lightweight Wok, 14-Inch
Last updated date: January 6, 2022
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Update as January 6, 2022:
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The Joyce Chen Flat-Bottom Wok has one long handle and one assist loop handle, which stays cool during cooking. A unique feature is that it comes with a hanging loop to help save space in your kitchen cupboard. Keep in mind that it requires seasoning before it’s used. During our testing, this wok heated up very quickly and was lightweight. We also liked the feel of the handle.
In our analysis of 190 expert reviews, the Joyce Chen Traditional Lightweight Wok, 14-Inch placed 16th when we looked at the top 16 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
From The Manufacturer
Joyce Chen opened her first restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1958. She found that the selection and quality of Chinese cookware in America didn’t live up to her high standards… so she developed her own. Today, Joyce Chen Products sources from all over the Pacific Rim to bring the best of Asia to you. These 14″ Carbon Steel Flat Woks feature a professional weight 2.0 mm, heavy-gauge carbon steel body. They have stay-cool Phenolic handles. Generous 14″ size.
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Our Expert Consultant
Julie Chernoff is a long-time member of Les Dames d’Escoffier (past president of the Chicago Chapter, and current co-chair of the LDEI Legacy Awards Committee), the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ) and the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
Chernoff is the dining editor of Better, a lifestyle website and print magazine. Her journalism started in the test kitchens of Weight Watchers Magazine. She holds a BA in English from Yale University and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy. She has spent the last few decades styling, photographing, teaching, developing recipes, editing, thinking and writing about food.
Overall Product Rankings
An Overview On
The wok is one of the most useful pieces of kitchen equipment for both professional chefs and home cooks. It has been used in Chinese kitchens for centuries and is now a staple in many kitchens around the world.
“There’s a reason why the wok is the single most important tool in the Asian kitchen: its incredible versatility,” says our resident culinary expert Julie Chernoff, a long-time food journalist and dining editor of Better, a lifestyle website and print magazine. “Stir fry, deep fry, steam, blanch… the wok can do it all.”
In order to use the wok effectively, you need to first have very high heat. This results in meals that cook in a short amount of time. Because of the high heat, it’s important to use the right amount of oil so that the ingredients don’t stick to the pan. In many recipes, the ingredients, such as chicken, beef, pork or fish, plus vegetables like carrots or cabbage, are seared on high heat in the wok, before being used in a different cooking method in the same pan. The wok can be used to boil ingredients in a liquid or steam them by using the lid.
Don’t overfill the wok. If this happens, the ingredients will cook too slowly and you won’t get the proper amount of heat. Before putting any ingredients in the pan, it’s critical to prepare all of your ingredients by washing, cutting and setting them out. This mise en place technique ensures that you can add the right ingredient to the wok at the right time.
One of the most common ways a wok is used is to make a stir fry.
“The key to a great stir fry is to cut up each ingredient to similar size so that they cook in the same amount of time (meaning equal-size chunks of protein, or all ¼-inch thick carrot coins, etc.), and to know what order to add them to the wok,” Chernoff explains. “Aromatics are added first, then ingredients in order of length of cooking time, from longest to shortest.”
The Buying Guide
- An important element to consider when selecting your wok is the material it’s made out of. “While there are many expensive Westernized versions available — made of copper, stainless steel, or even with nonstick surfaces — it’s hard to beat the classic carbon steel,” Chernoff says. “Although the carbon steel must be seasoned before first use, and cleaned thoroughly after each use and reoiled, the extra care and time are well worth it for the final product.” Some woks are made out of hard-anodized aluminum, while others are 100% cast iron and sold already seasoned. You’ll even find woks with an aluminum core between two stainless steel layers. Other woks are made of heavy gauge carbon steel.
- If you want to avoid using excess oil in your cooking, you may want to pay attention to the non-stick coating on your work. Some woks have three layers of non-stick coating, while others have been seasoned with 100% vegetable oil. The seasoning improves as the pan is used.
- The way your wok retains heat and distributes heat can affect the outcome of your recipe. Even heating is what you’ll get with aluminum construction.
- Because the wok is operated on such high heat, it’s important that the handles on the wok enable the cook to move it around safely, without having to touch the pan. “Look for a wok with a long wooden handle on one side and a helping handle opposite it for handling and moving the wok,” directs Chernoff.
- Look for a wok with one long, brushed stainless steel handle that stays cool on the stovetop. Of course, a model with two assist loop handles for a safe and secure grip is also a good choice. However, they do heat up while cooking and can only be held using an oven mitt to avoid injury. Some woks have a long ergonomic phenolic handle and a small assist handle, which stays cool while cooking.
- If you’re interested in exploring the versatility of the wok, then “look for a wok with a lid,” as Chernoff guides. This “helps with steaming and simmering ingredients during cooking.” Some woks come with a clear tempered glass lid, while others don’t come with a lid at all.
- Whether you’re routinely cooking for a crowd or just for your family will dictate the size of wok you need. “You’re not going to need a gigantic wok (like the ones used in Asian restaurants), and you want to make sure that it will fit over one burner on your stovetop,” explains Chernoff. Some woks measure 12.5 inches, while others come in at 14 inches.
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