Brewed from high quality glutinous rice. With its rich and sophisticated flavors and aromas, it is ideal for sweet and sour dishes, as a dipping sauce or dressing for steamed crabs, cold dishes and dumplings. This caramel-colored vinegar is milder than Western vinegars. It has a salty, slightly acidic flavor. Ideal for rice, marinades, and noodle salads.
Black vinegar (jit cho). Like Italy's balsamic vinegar, it can vary in flavor, sweetness, and viscosity. The best vinegar, Perhaps the most popular and favorite Chinese black vinegar is Chinkiang vinegar, originating in the Jiangsu province. Made from water, glutinous rice and salt, Chinkiang vinegar is widely used in China, especially in the North and South, where dumplings are doused with the tart and mouth-puckering condiment, and meats are glazed with the black vinegar along with ginger and anise seed. Chinese vinegars are milder than western vinegars having a sweet fragrance of rice.
The better black vinegars are well aged and display a complex, smoky flavor. Black vinegar is less tart than white vinegar
Chefs in Shanxi region, near Beijing, add it to just about everything. They cannot poach an egg without adding vinegar. Chinkiang vinegar or zhenjiang xiangcu which translates to Fragrant Vinegar of Zhenjiang, won the French Laurier d'Or de la Qualite Internationale in 1985. Traditionally this type of vinegar is used by the Chinese in braised dishes, with noodles, as a dip or a seasoning, and is added to soups. Chinkiang vinegar is a dark, slightly sweet rice vinegar with a smoky flavor.
There are three basic types of Chinese rice vinegar - black, red and white -as well as sweetened black vinegars. Black rice vinegar is similar to balsamic vinegar, while red vinegar has both a sweet and tart taste. White vinegar is the closest in acidity and flavor to regular vinegar.
There are no hard and fast rules, but black vinegar is generally recommended for braised dishes and as a dipping sauce, red vinegar for soups, noodle and seafood dishes, and white for sweet and sour dishes and for pickling. In recipes, rice vinegar is sometimes also called "rice wine vinegar."