Question: “Occasionally I see rice wine vinegar called for recipes, but I have never seen it in a store. Also I do look every time I am in a grocery store, anywhere but nothing. My question is, what would be a good substitute? I do have on hand both white wine vinegar and rice vinegar. But just no “rice wine vinegar”. Which would be the best substitute? How would the flavor of the finished dish be affected?”
Sent by Georgina.
Editor: Rice vinegar — also named rice wine vinegar — comes seasoned — with salt or sugar — and unseasoned. Basically it is a mild, less acidic vinegar. It is my understanding that rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are in fact two names for the same thing, since rice vinegar has gone through the process of being rice wine before it was turned into vinegar then seasoned.
I’ve seen a bunch of different brands of rice vinegars, they vary a lot from one to another, so you will need to select the brand that suits your preference best. However, it is possible that what we can find under the label “rice wine vinegar” will have a more complex flavor than simple “rice vinegar”, but you will need to experiment with the vinegars to choose which one you prefer. Maybe what’s makes big difference in flavor is whether the rice vinegar is white, red, or black — just like regular vinegar. If not specified, the recipe probably means white rice vinegar as it’s the most common. To answer you last question, the best substitute for rice wine vinegar would be white vinegar and a pinch of sugar.