My Parents Owned a Chinese Restaurant, and This Is the Only Wok I’ll Use

Who’d have thought something so safely flameless would deliver such fire?

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

NuWave Wok

The Spruce Eats / Su-Jit Lin

This post is part of our 'This Is Fire' series, where our editors and writers tell you about the products they can't live without in the kitchen.

I’ll be the first to say it: I’m a spoiled snob when it comes to woks.

Having spent most of my childhood in my grandparents’-then-parents’ Chinese restaurant on Long Island, New York, I grew up in the belly of a fire-breathing beast. It was a figurative dragon’s den of wok hei, all crackling sparks and tails of smoke that would disappear in a whoosh into ultra-powerful, turbine-like exhaust fans that only turned off when the neon “Open” sign did.

Beneath that roaring stainless hood sat a row of black-bellied carbon steel woks: a small and a large Cantonese-style loop-handled wok and another long-handled Mandarin-style. I would say they rested above the fire-powered range, rushing into foot-high walls of orange and blue flames with a turn of the lever—but realistically, they were never actually at rest.

And so you can imagine my disappointment when, as a fresh college student, every kind of stir-fry I attempted in my apartment on a cheap skillet came out dull and steamed to soggy sadness. I hadn’t realized my privilege until that day, trying to choke down what was basically sauce-boiled chicken with broccoli in watered-down gravy. The magic of good Chinese food was all in the heat. 

Since then, I’ve professionally tested and reviewed countless woks, conferring the “best” title on those that were merely passable, settling simply because it was the best I–nay, we–could get here in the residential mainstream.

…Until I tried the NuWave Mosaic Precision Induction Wok.

NuWave Mosaic 14-Inch Induction Wok

NUWAVE MOSAIC Induction Wok with 14-inch carbon steel


I was skeptical at first, having been (un)burned by the downright tragic heating capabilities of other electric woks, the lack of immediate responsiveness to the cookware material, and the BTU limitations of home ranges. The “As Seen on TV”-style packaging didn’t give me too much faith, and many of the exclamation points on the box were echoes of what others had claimed, too.

electric wok on countertop

The Spruce Eats / Su-Jit Lin

However, there were several things that made it different from those that had come before it. The two main things that caught my interest were that 1) the wok itself was round-bottomed and made of traditional lightweight, naturally nonstick carbon steel, and 2) the heating component was high-powered induction and a completely separate piece of equipment. Both of these (theoretically) mean high heat conductivity, fast responsiveness, and easy cleanup.

As I unpackaged the gorgeous matte black wok with its silicone-capped, grippy handle, I felt a glimmer of hope. Then out came the cooktop and the included accessories, a glass lid, a metal wok ring stand, and a draining rack for fried items—a well-considered kit.

NuWave Wok

The Spruce Eats / Su-Jit Lin

I plugged it in, eager to use it quicker than I could read the instructions, and that spark of hope quickly turned into a flame. Within minutes of using it, the thought flitted across my mind, “Do I even need a stove?!” I was reminded that my parents supported our family and business in the belly of one designated saute wok.

The dials were easy to use and the tactility of the way they responded was satisfying with small, soft clicks. The temperature controls were sensitive to the slightest touch—necessary when you’re doing the fast maneuvering of woking and can’t afford to take a single hand off your cooking. I was able to choose the wattage and therefore control how close to the sun I wanted to fly—a great training wheels option for beginners.

The curved induction surface, molded against the rounded well of the wok, hugged the cookware in a touch-safe but blazingly hot embrace. The preheat button was laughably unnecessary—the precise digital thermostat reached top temps in a minute, the wok lighting up in bright blue and calling me home.

Within minutes of using it, the thought flitted across my mind, ‘Do I even need a stove?!’

After one use, it looked and felt like an old friend. The heat was such that it burned a permanent iris ring of blue into the bottom, the initial shine dulled with signs of seasoning. 

NuWave Wok

The Spruce Eats / Su-Jit Lin

But after that one use, it proved that it was even better than that. There were no open flames nor gas leaks to worry about. It even has an automatic shut-off and beeps when the wok is off the cooking surface for too long. It has programs that you can preset for Stage Cooking, to allow for more authentic Chinese techniques. It’s deep enough for a family-sized batch, light and curved enough to flip-toss, and small enough to fit in my double sink for cleanup, which was easy and scrub-free. 

Electric NuWave Wok

The Spruce Eats / Su-Jit Lin

Most importantly, from the way viscous sauces bubbled up to thickness then slid off the naturally nonstick carbon steel to the way veggies charred and meats seared, and finally, the smokiness that infused everything I made, this mighty powerhouse is a testament to the versatility and power of wok cooking.

Electric NuWave Wok Chicken and Broccoli

The Spruce Eats / Su-Jit Lin

If you’ve ever tried stir-frying at home and wondered if it was just you, here’s how you find your answer. Because flame-free as it is, this wok is absolute fire.

Diameter: 14 inches | Material: Carbon steel | Dimensions: 21 x 19.5 x 5 inches | Power: 1,500 watts

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Food is in Su-Jit Lin’s blood, especially as a product of two generations of immigrant restaurateurs serving American Chinese food, a unique regionalization of cross-cultural cuisine only just beginning to receive its due. Today, she continues her work in food from the other side of the counter, writing on this topic for publications that include HuffPost, Better Homes & Gardens, Al Jazeera, Business Insider, Simply Recipes, Serious Eats, Southern Living, The Kitchn, The Takeout, and others, as well as The Spruce Eats.