Neoflam Wok Review
Neoflam is a South Korean cookware manufacturer that began in 1990, and specialize in functional and beautifully designed products. We’ve been testing out the Neoflam Wok for the past 3 weeks, with stir frying, steaming, braising, boiling and deep frying.
Since we specialize in Asian cooking, we are often asked for advice on buying a wok, “What is the best wok?” The answer really depends on your cooking experience, cooking style, how many you cook for, what types of foods you cook and what kind of stovetop do you have.
There are light cast iron or carbon steel woks with round bottoms for high-end gas stoves. I recommend these for people who really love the authentic, traditional wok experience. Then, there are hard anodized woks that are great for the beginner no-fuss cook that stir-fry lots of vegetables. Different woks for different folks!
Neoflam Cast Aluminum Wok with Ecolon Coating is great for:
- Cooking for 4 or more people: a 14″ diameter wok means a lot of food can fit in the wok, plenty of space to toss and flip ingredients during a stir fry.
- Gas or electric stovetop (not induction friendly)
- Large stove – because the wok is so big, you really need a large stove (our 30″ stove is perfect size) with plenty of room between the heating elements. This wok would be too crowded on a very small stovetop.
- Beginner and intermediate level cooks, who stir fry a lot of seafood and vegetables (I’ll tell you why, a little later)
- All ages – the cast aluminum with ceramic coating means that the wok is ultra light. Anyone can cook with the Neoflam wok (versus something like an All-Clad Stainless Steel wok that requires strong hands and wrists to lift and handle)
My thoughts about the wok:
Weight of Wok
PRO: It’s so light! I can lift the wok very easily. It still requires 2 hands to lift the wok, because of the handles, which are “ears” on either side of wok vs. one long handle. But it’s easy to handle, especially for a wok of this size. It weighs less than 6 pounds, with the lid.
CON: None for weight.
Shape and Size of Wok
PRO: The 14″ diameter means I can cook a feast for 4 people, or 10 people. I love big woks, especially for stir frying. I’m constantly flipping, stirring, turning, tossing ingredients – and this wok gives me the room to do so without fear of a broccoli flying out of the wok and onto the floor.
If you haven’t used very many woks, you might not know that the shape of the wok is just as important as the size of the wok. If a wok is too shallow, ingredients will fly out. If the wok is to deep, it is hard to reach in and cook without burning yourself (imagine trying to stir fry in a stockpot.)
If a wok has small flat bottom diameter, it won’t get hot enough, especially on electric stovetops. For example, a 4″ diameter bottom will not be in contact with the heating element vs. an 8″ diameter bottom. Also, larger bottoms means more stability. I’ve tried woks with tiny bottoms, and they always seem to tip over on the grates of my gas stove.
The Neoflam wok is the perfect shape. In addition to the wide 14″ opening, the “bowl” of the wok is the ideal depth. The flat bottom is a 9″ diameter, which means more heat can touch the wok.
Another reason that size + shape of a wok is so important — the bigger the size and the better the shape, the more surface area you have to play with. Surface area is the the key to successful wokking!
Imagine flattening out the wok to the left. You get a lot of surface area for searing and browning.
CONS: If you have a smaller stovetop, then the big wok would just overwhelm your space. You won’t be able to put medium or large pans on the burners adjacent. Wok would be too big for someone to cooks for just 2 people.
Woks will either have 2 “ears” or 1 long handle + possibly an ear on the other side. The ears can either be solid (like this Neoflam) or just loop handles that are attached with rivets.
CON: I’m not a fan of 2-eared woks. They require 2 handles to lift and move. This means sometimes I need a kitchen helper to use a spatula to scoop and pour the food into a serving dish, while I hold and tip the wok. The Neoflam wok is light enough that with one handle, I could lift and tip with just one hand, if I had the right long handle (like a frying pan.)
Because the wok is cast aluminum – which means it’s all in once piece, the handle ears are made of the same material as the wok. It gets hot, fast. And so do the handles. The wok comes with a pair of silicon holders that you can just slip on. However, you can only slip them on when you are ready to move the wok. If you leave the silicon handles on while you cook, the wok gets so hot that silicon also gets too hot.
PRO: Because it’s a one piece wok, there are no rivets!!! I really, really dislike rivets – because that’s where all the grease and food particles get stuck. I love that this wok is so easy to clean. No joints, no screws that come loose and no darn rivets to scrub.
Material of Wok
The Neoflam Wok is made of cast iron aluminum with an “Ecolon” all-natural ceramic nonstick coating.
From the company’s website: “All of our cast aluminum cookware is made with ECOLON — an all-natural nonstick coating. Ecolon is a sol-gel solution derived from silicone and other naturally-occurring MINERALS to provide durable, scratch resistant,NONSTICK performance. Ecolon is the best source for a nonstick cooking surface without PTFE and it’s potentially harmful side effects.
PRO: All natural nonstick coating. Love it. It makes the wok easy to cook with, easy to clean. Cast aluminum is basically molten aluminum poured into a mold, cooled, hardened and then released from mold. The material means the wok is super quick to heat up, and also to cool down. Because all the ingredients for a stir fry are cut into small bite-sized pieces, the reactivity is super important to prevent over cooking. I have a traditional cast iron wok and also a heavy, heavy stainless steel wok – both require at least a minute of preheating before I can use. The Neoflam wok gets hot very fast.
Ceramic nonstick is fantastic for delicate foods….like eggs! Food slides off, with very little oil. Eggs cooked sunny side up (yes, I cook EVERYTHING in the wok, including eggs) slip and slide right off, onto the plate, even with only just a drop of oil. Ceramic nonstick is awesome.
CON: The Ecolon coating means I can’t go above medium-high heat (even though I do, sometimes), like many nonstick woks. When I am stir frying thin slices of meat, I like to crank up the heat to get that beautiful brown, crispy sear on each piece.
Remember at the beginning of the review, I said that this wok is great for people who cook a lot of seafood and vegetables? This is the reason why. You don’t need super high heat for seafood or vegetables. But that’s not to say that the wok doesn’t get very hot — you just can’t crank up the heat to high. Even at a medium heat, the wok (because it’s aluminum) gets very hot.
The Ecolon coating is thin, and the wok will scratch easily if you use metal spoons or utensils. You must use wood, silicon or plastic utensils. I like using silicon tipped tongs. I wish the coating was thicker, more durable – one time I used a large metal spoon to scoop out food — and that left a small scratch.
Lid of Wok
The wok comes with a glass lid.
PRO: I love glass lids! I want to see what’s going on with my food, even with the lid on. Instead of opening the lid and checking on the food, I can plainly see that my broccoli is not yet done cooking. The lid also has a vent, so that steam can escape.
It’s a high price for a wok. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative (but much smaller wok), and still Neoflam branded, check out the 1-handled wok, 12″ Neoflam wok with glass lid for $36 on Amazon (the 10″ wok is more expensive — don’t get a 10″ wok. It’s just to small for a wok)
The 12″ wok would be good for cooking for 1-4 people. I haven’t tried the 12″ wok, just this 14″ size – but it looks like the material is the same. And yay! Glass lid included.
Neoflam is manufactured in South Korea, take a look at their factory:
Neoflam Wok Giveaway
Neoflam provided wok for review and giveaway.