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The 9 Best Substitutes For Chinese Black Vinegar

Have you ever tried Chinese black vinegar?

It has a unique flavor that is both sweet and sour, making it an essential ingredient in many dishes.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to find outside of China or certain Asian markets.

If you’re looking for a substitute for Chinese black vinegar, don’t worry – there are plenty of options!

From balsamic vinegar to Worcestershire sauce, here are 9 of the best substitutes for Chinese black vinegar that will help you recreate the same flavors without having to make a special trip to your local Asian market.

What is Chinese Black Vinegar?

Chinese Black Vinegar

Chinese black vinegar, also known as Chinkiang vinegar, is a popular condiment used in Chinese and Taiwanese cooking.

It has a complex flavor profile, with notes of sweet and sour balanced by an umami taste that’s slightly smoky.

The dark color comes from the variety of ingredients used to make it – typically glutinous rice, wheat bran, millet, sorghum, or other grains.

These are fermented for months until they reach a deep brown-black hue.

The resulting vinegar is then aged and blended with additional flavors like ginger root or garlic cloves to create unique blends.

Chinese black vinegar can be used in all sorts of dishes – from stir-fries to marinades – but it’s particularly tasty when added to savory dishes like roasted duck or pork belly.

It adds depth and complexity with its smoky sweetness that can’t be found anywhere else!

The 9 Best Substitutes For Chinese Black Vinegar

Chinese Black Vinegar is a tart and savory ingredient that can be difficult to find.

Here are nine alternatives you can try if you don’t have access to Chinese black vinegar:

1 – White Rice Vinegar

White rice vinegar is a mild, light-colored vinegar made from fermented white rice.

It has a slightly sweet and sour flavor that’s great for adding depth to dishes without overpowering them.

White rice vinegar can be used as an alternative to Chinese black vinegar in many recipes.

Its delicate flavor is perfect for marinades, dressings, sauces, and stir-fries.

It also works well in pickling vegetables or making sushi rice.

The acidity of this type of vinegar helps balance out the flavors of other ingredients while giving dishes a subtle sweetness that complements savory flavors like garlic and ginger.

White rice vinegar can be found in most grocery stores and Asian markets, making it an easy substitute for Chinese black vinegar when needed.

2 – Red Wine Vinegar

Red wine vinegar is a great substitute for Chinese black vinegar.

It has a sharp, acidic flavor with fruity and tart notes that will still provide the desired depth of flavor to your dishes.

Red wine vinegar can be used in marinades, dressings, sauces, and stir-fries.

It also pairs well with salads and grilled vegetables.

When substituting red wine vinegar for Chinese black vinegar, you may need to adjust the amount as it is more potent than its counterpart.

Start by using half of the amount called for in your recipe and then add more if needed.

For an even closer approximation of the flavor of Chinese black vinegar, try combining equal parts red wine vinegar and balsamic or sherry vinegars.

This combination will give you a slightly sweet yet tangy flavor profile that’s similar to Chinese black vinegar without sacrificing any complexity or intensity of taste.

3 – Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a dark, sweet-tart condiment made from cooked grape must that has been aged in wooden barrels.

It has an intense flavor with notes of figs and raisins, as well as a syrupy texture that adds complexity to dressings and sauces.

Balsamic vinegar can be used as a substitute for Chinese black vinegar when you want to add sweetness and depth to dishes.

It pairs especially well with roasted vegetables, salads, or grilled meats.

The key is to use it sparingly since its robust flavor can easily overpower other ingredients.

For best results, try combining balsamic vinegar with olive oil and herbs like rosemary or thyme for a flavorful marinade or dressing.

4 – Date Vinegar

Date vinegar is a unique and flavorful condiment made from dates, water, and salt.

It has a mild sweetness with a hint of acidity that pairs well with many dishes.

The flavor is reminiscent of balsamic vinegar but without the sharpness or intensity.

Date vinegar can be used in place of Chinese black vinegar to add depth to stir-fries, marinades, sauces, dressings, and soups.

It also works great as an ingredient for dipping sauces or glazes for grilled meats.

Its subtle sweetness makes it ideal for adding complexity to savory dishes while still allowing other flavors to shine through.

Plus, its lower acidity level means it won’t overpower delicate ingredients like fish or vegetables.

5 – Malt Vinegar

Malt vinegar is a type of vinegar made from malted barley, which gives it its distinct flavor.

It has a sharp, tangy taste with notes of sweetness and smokiness that can be used to add depth to dishes.

Malt vinegar is most commonly used as a condiment for fish and chips in the UK, but it can also be added to marinades or sauces for an extra kick.

For those looking to replace Chinese black vinegar in their recipes, malt vinegar makes an excellent substitute due to its similar acidic flavor profile.

It can be used in stir-fries or noodle soups for an umami-rich experience without sacrificing any of the complexity you’d get from the original ingredient.

6 – Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is a complex condiment made from anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic and spices.

It has a tangy flavor with hints of sweetness that makes it an ideal addition to marinades and dressings.

The combination of ingredients gives Worcestershire sauce a unique umami taste that can be used as an alternative to Chinese black vinegar.

Try adding it to stir-fries or soups for extra depth of flavor. It also works well in sauces and glazes for grilled meats or vegetables.

For those looking for an easy way to add complexity to their dishes without the sharpness of vinegar, Worcestershire sauce is a great option!

7 – Sherry Vinegar

Sherry Vinegar

Sherry vinegar is a type of wine vinegar made from sherry, a fortified Spanish wine.

It has a deep, complex flavor that can be used to enhance many dishes.

The aroma and taste of sherry vinegar are slightly sweet with hints of nuttiness and fruitiness.

It’s an ideal substitute for Chinese black vinegar due to its similar flavor profile; however, it may need to be adjusted depending on the recipe.

For instance, if you’re using it as part of a marinade or dressing, you may want to add some sugar or honey in order to balance out the acidity.

Sherry vinegar also pairs well with roasted vegetables and salads, making it an excellent addition to any meal.

8 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a versatile pantry staple that can be used in a variety of dishes.

It has a milder flavor than Chinese black vinegar, with notes of apple and tartness.

Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples and contains acetic acid, which gives it its characteristic sour taste.

It’s great for making dressings, marinades, sauces, pickles and more.

When substituting apple cider vinegar for Chinese black vinegar in recipes, make sure to adjust the amount as needed since the flavors are slightly different.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used as an all-natural cleaning agent or to help soothe sore throats when mixed with honey and water.

9 – White Wine vinegar

White Wine Vinegar

White wine vinegar is a mild, acidic liquid made from white wine that has been fermented.

It has a sharp, tart flavor and can be used as an ingredient in dressings, marinades, sauces, and pickling liquids.

White wine vinegar is often used to add brightness to dishes without overpowering the other flavors.

When substituting for Chinese black vinegar, it’s important to remember that white wine vinegar will not have the same depth of flavor or sweetness.

However, it can still provide a nice balance of acidity when added to recipes like stir-fries or dumplings.

The key is to use just enough so that the dish isn’t overly sour but still retains some of its original character.


Chinese black vinegar is a unique and flavorful condiment used in many Chinese and Taiwanese dishes.

Its smoky sweetness can be hard to replicate unless you have access to the real thing. Fortunately, there are plenty of substitutes you can use to recreate the same flavors as Chinese black vinegar.

From white rice vinegar to balsamic vinegar and sherry vinegar, each of these alternatives has its own unique flavor that can be used to enhance dishes.

Whether you’re looking for a substitute for Chinese black vinegar for marinades, dressings, sauces, or stir-fries, these nine options should have you covered.

Chinese Black Vinegar

The 9 Best Substitutes For Chinese Black Vinegar

If you don't have access to Chinese black vinegar, I'm here to help. In this article, I'm sharing 9 of the best substitutes for Chinese black vinegar that you can use to recreate your favorite dishes. I'll discuss the flavors, textures, and uses of each substitute and provide tips on how to get the most out of them. You'll never have to go without the perfect flavor again!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Substitutes
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 people
Calories 100 kcal


  • White Rice Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Date Vinegar
  • Malt Vinegar
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Sherry Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • White Wine vinegar


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.