Rice Wine Vinegar vs. Rice Wine ? 7 Main Differences

What is Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar, as the name implies, is made from rice that has been fermented. Rice vinegar is the same as rice wine vinegar. Rice vinegar is known as a vinegar that is not as acidic as western vinegars. It is sweeter and milder in taste. You have to remember that, when it comes to the world of cookery, rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are used as synonyms. There are different types of rice vinegar as white rice vinegar, black rice vinegar, and red rice vinegar. These are used to add taste to different types of food. White rice vinegar is what you should use if your recipe just says rice vinegar. Red rice vinegar is used in sweet as well as sour dishes. Also, it is used with seafood dishes. Black rice vinegar is used in dipping sauces and stir-fry dishes.


What Is the Difference Between Rice Wine and Rice Vinegar?

Rice wine vinegar should not be confused with rice wine, which is a type of alcohol made by fermenting the sugars and starches in rice until they convert into alcohol. Rice wine is a sweet alcoholic drink that can be consumed as an alcoholic beverage or used in Asian cooking, particularly in vegetable dishes, dumplings, and soups. When rice wine is used in cooking, it is commonly heated to evaporate the alcohol. Just as you wouldn’t use white wine or red wine in a recipe that called for white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar due to the alcohol content, rice wine is not the best substitute for rice wine vinegar. Common rice wines include Japanese sake, Chinese Shaoxing wine, and Japanese mirin.

How to Use Rice Wine Vinegar to Add Flavor?

Coastal Wine Trail
Coastal Wine Trail

Rice wine vinegar is made from sake, which is made from fermented rice. It has a mild, sweet flavor. Add it to your food to add a bit of sweetness or for sweet-and-sour dishes. The acetic acid allows for the exact amount of sweetness that you need.

  • Asian dressings: Combine rice wine vinegar with sesame oil, soy sauce, or ginger for a strong Asian twist.
  • Sushi rice: Make the most delicious sushi rice by mixing rice wine vinegar with sugar and a pinch of salt.
  • Asian sauces: Rice wine vinegar is an excellent addition to cooked sauces. The flavor changes dramatically when added to different ingredients, so experimenting with the flavor profile is encouraged.
  • Pickling: You can use rice wine vinegar to pickle vegetables such as peppers, cauliflower, or cucumbers in a mixture of vinegar, water, and salt. Use rice wine vinegar to make the tastiest salty pickles.
  • Marinades: Added to marinades it adds a wonderful Asian flavor. Use it to glaze chicken, soften pork or mix with teriyaki to add an extra kick of flavor.
  • Chips: Rice wine vinegar and chips go hand in hand. If you like ordinary vinegar on your chips, you’ll enjoy them even more after pouring rice wine vinegar on them. It gives them a subtle sweet-and-sour flavor that is hard to compete with. You may never use regular vinegar again.
  • Stir-fries: Making a stir-fry has never been as easy or tasted so good. Fry your favorite veggies and add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and serve on a bed of rice or noodles.

Similarities between rice wine and rice vinegar

Asian origin

Both rice wine and rice vinegar originated from Asia. They have been used in Asian cooking for many centuries.

It is made from rice

As their names suggest, it is evident that they are both made from rice. The rice is fermented, albeit in different ways.

SakeVS Rice Wine Vinegar

Naturally, sooner or later everyone faces a dilemma: is sake the same as rice wine vinegar?

Perhaps, people get confused with similar names but in fact, the distinction between them is quite significant.

  • The major distinction connecting grain acetum and sake vinegar is how each of the products is produced.

Since each of them is produced of fermented cereal, for producing alcoholic beverage, yeast turn sugars into alcohol.

Vinegar, on the contrary, has one more stage presented by turning alcohol to acid.

  •  Another rice sake and rice vinegar distinction is their use.

Latter is known as a cooking ingredient whereas an alcoholic counterpart is meant for intaking mostly (even though it’s often added to foods).

  • Finally, rice sake does contain alcohol and its counterpart has no trace of it.

Is it true that rice acetum and sake vinegar can be interchanged? Unfortunately, it’s not. The optimal substitutes for the first one will be dry sherry or white wine whereas for the latter apple vinegar fits best of all.

The Product’s Areas Of Use

When speaking of exotic and rare products, we naturally become curious about where they are used.

As for the rice vinegar, its area of application includes cooking mostly. 

In the countries of origin, it serves as an ingredient in dressings, for making sushi to add more taste to them, and also, due to its sweetness, some fries include it, too.

It is also perfect for marinades since the condiment mitigates the strong odors of certain meat and fish products and foods.

Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash
Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash

If you’re not knowledgeable about the specifics of Asian cuisine, it may be complicated to figure out where to make use of this comparatively seldom used liquid.

However, we can give you several handy suggestions!

Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
Photo by Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash
  • Try it for doing quick pickling.  
  • Add it to rice when making sushi at home like a true chef.
  • Be brave and mix it to marinade since they say it fits meat and poultry perfectly.
  • Bored with all-the-same cocktails? Give them a touch of exotic by adding some rice vinegar! Make your drinks subtle and refreshing!
  • It is said to be mixed greatly with french fries.
  • Salad dressings and dips will also win from having this product as an ingredient.

As for more unusual areas of use, why not try it as a washer for whites or as a face toner? Yep, people claim that this condiment may avail itself even like this!

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash
Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

Can They Be Used Interchangeably?

While both rice wine vinegar and rice vinegar are made from rice, they are different products and therefore shouldn’t be used interchangeably. If you’re looking for a substitute,

  • apple cider makes a suitable replacement for rice vinegar, whereas,
  • dry white wine or pale dry sherry make good substitutes for rice wine vinegar.

Interesting fact: Alcohol content of rice wine vinegar is about 18-20% ABV.

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Rice Wine vs. Rice Vinegar

Perhaps the easiest way to remember the difference is that rice wine is something you could potentially drink, because it's sweet; rice vinegar would make the sides of your mouth curl in if you drank it straight, as it is too acidic. Use rice wine in dishes where you want to lend sweetness and depth of flavor. Use rice vinegar when you want to add some acidity and a touch of mild sweetness, as in salad dressings and marinades.

What is Rice Wine Vinegar Specifically Useful For?

  • Sushi Rice-

Rice wine vinegar is an essential ingredient for preparing sushi rice.

  • Pickling-

When you’re planning to eat a sandwich for a snack, you can use rice wine vinegar to pickle the cucumbers and vegetables you are going to use in the sandwich.

  • Marinades-

Rice wine vinegar compliments Asian flavor profiles in marinade recipes.

  • Cocktails-

Adding rice wine vinegar to cocktails is a great way of giving them a lift of brightness and a refreshing sense of flavor.

  • French Fries-

Rice wine vinegar can be used to flavor French fries when you want a less punchy flavor.

  • Dipping Sauces-

Rice wine combined with soy sauce creates a delicious dipping sauce for sushi, pot sticker, egg rolls, and chicken.

  • Salad Dressings-

If you want to tone down the acidity of vinaigrettes, rice wine vinegar is the perfect ally.

  • As a Cleaner-

Rice wine vinegar coupled with a few drops of lemon essential oil can be used as a detergent to help clean your whites.

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