• A Mala Market Exclusive
  • Handmade vinegar from Taiyuan, Shanxi, in a 3,000-year-old tradition
  • Aged for 9 years
  • No additives or preservatives
  • China Time-Honored Brand

Ninghuafu Handcrafted Shanxi Mature Vinegar, Aged 9 Years

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  • A Mala Market Exclusive
  • Handmade vinegar from Taiyuan, Shanxi, in a 3,000-year-old tradition
  • Aged for 9 years
  • No additives or preservatives
  • China Time-Honored Brand

Mala Market exclusive

Shanxi mature vinegar is one of the Four Famous Vinegars of China and is the northernmost of the four, making it a favorite for noodles, dumplings and bao in the wheat-dominate north. It is said that no matter the noodle or broth, a Shanxi native will dip into the giant tubs of chili oil and local vinegar at the noodle shop to top off their bowl. It also has an affinity for the North's beef and lamb dishes. 

The lead grain of Shanxi mature vinegar is sorghum, with additions of wheat and rice and a da qu, or fermentation starter, of barley and peas. Like the other famous four, it undergoes completely natural fermentation, enabled by the unique wild yeasts, molds and microbes in its environment—nearly 1,000 kinds of microorganisms. (Talk about terroir!)

Distinct among the famous four, it includes roasted grains, which darken the color and give it a slight tinge of smoke. Researchers also attribute its distinct taste to a higher percentage of da qu in the mix than other vinegars have. It has the strongest flavor profile among the famous four and is recommended for dishes with long cook times, as it can stand up to the heat in braised and steamed dishes.

Shanxi province lays claim to the earliest vinegar making in China, dating it to the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC), with the brewing production method in place by 1368. Unlike Sichuan, for example, which has only one maker of its famous Baoning vinegar, Shanxi mature vinegar has many authorized makers operating in Taiyuan city, the capital of Shanxi province.

The Mala Market is the exclusive importer of the premium Ninghuafu brand, which has its own storied history. It was founded in 1377 as the Yiyuanqing vinegar workshop in service to King Ninghua's mansion (fu), but as the vinegar became famous, people always just referred to it as Ninghuafu vinegar, and the name stuck. In fact, people still visit the shop to fill up their large containers with vinegar, as they have for centuries. (This recent tour of the Ninghuafu shop by a local guide is fun.)

All Shanxi vinegar is "mature," or aged, and our top-of-the-line handcrafted Ninghuafu is aged for a full 9 years. Pay attention to its deep red-brown color, strong fragrance, and the balance of sweet and sour, mellow and intense taste. 

Producer: Taiyuan Ninghuafu Yiyuanqing Vinegar Co., Shanxi province 
Size: 500 ml (16.9 ounces)
Ingredients: water, sorghum, wheat bran, rice husk, barley, peas, salt, spices
Contains: wheat
Shelf Life: Naturally brewed vinegars do not expire; dark sediment is normal
Non-GMO, Vegan