ManPan Stir Fry Wok Review – The Eco Friendly Cookware

ManPan Stirfry PanI never tire of receiving cookware samples to review, so when a box arrived and was sitting on my desk I couldn’t wait to open it. Inside I was happy to find a Manpan stir fry wok.

If you’ve never heard of ManPans before then you’re not the only one. We have been running this website for a few years now and it was only when a representative of the company contacted us that we found out about them.

So who are they? Well, ManPans is a brand of Lloyd Industries and Lloyd Industries supply commercial cookware to restaurants and commercial kitchens. However, their Manpan line of cookware has been developed with the specific purpose of supplying chef quality pans to consumers.

First Impressions…

As I lifted the pan out of the box I was surprised at how light it was. I am so used to cookware like All Clad and Cuisinart Multiclad where the clad bases make the pans feel solid and weighty.

My other initial reaction was that the pan looked a bit rough around the edges. Almost as if it hadn’t been packaged properly and had scuffed during transport.

Okay not a good start, but stay with me here as although these were my initial thoughts, there are explanations for each of them…and things only got better from there.

What’s in the Box

We received a 10in stir fry pan with a steamer and lid. Both the lid and steamer can be purchased separately.

Where is it made?

It’s not very often that you find a pan that is manufactured in the US but this is one of them. This pan is made in Spokane, WA USA.

What is it made of?

Many will be pleased to know that this pan is 100% PTFE and Teflon-free!!

The pan is constructed from hard anodized aluminum so it conducts heat well and means you don’t need to use high temperatures to cook.

Amazing Non-Scratch Surface!!!

The surface of the pan is coated with what the company calls Gem-X2 which they describe as a two layer sapphire/quartz-like natural mineral finish. Apparently it is resistant to scratching, chipping and flaking. They are so sure of the high standard of the finish that they claim that you can rub a coin across the coating and it will not scratch the surface and in fact, it will wear down the coin instead. I found this a bit too good to be true but decided to take up the challenge and give it a go.

This was harder than I thought…I hate to see cookware with scratches but for the sake of this review, I knew I had to do it. So out came the coin and away I went scratching at the surface. I tried it first on the bottom surface of the steamer as I didn’t want to ruin the pan itself.

It was pretty amazing actually. After a lot of effort with the coin, the surface did have what looked scratches although they were quite faint. BUT as soon as I rubbed the scratches with a damp cloth they disappeared. I did it again and again and scratched even harder but each time the scratches just rubbed off. In fact they just came off by rubbing the area with my thumb.

I then tried it on the pan itself and had the same result.

I checked the pan a day later to see if the scratches ‘suddenly reappeared’ but no they were gone for good and in fact I couldn’t even find the spot where the scratches were to begin with.

And for those that need to see the results take a look at the pics below:

Manpan - Scratch Marks Made with a Coin

 
Manpan - Scratch Marks Disappeared

The Shape

The pan has deep curved sides and is not as open as the tradtional style wok that we are used to …but we need to remember that we are looking at an American style wok here not a traditional wok… so we won’t get into comparisons between the two.

However, for those that aren’t aware, a traditional wok has a wide opening and a small handle on each side. The bottom is curved and requires a stand for it to sit secure on the stove top. An American style wok, on the other hand, is known as a stir fry pan. It has a flat base and one long handle and sometimes a handle helper. So although they are basically designed to do the same job they are quite different in their construction.

I find that this is a great pan to move food around in as the sides are deep and curved.  It is surprising just how much food you can fit into this 10in pan. And the flat bottom ensures that the pan stays secure on the stove top.

Does it generate enough heat?

The goal for any stir fry pan or wok is to generate a lot of heat. This is so foods cook quickly and evenly – a low heat tends to cause the foods to stew in their own juices which means that the meat can become tough and vegetables soggy and unpalatable. For this reason we really wanted to focus on this aspect of the pan to ensure it made the grade. If it didn’t there really was no point reviewing any further.

So what did we find?

We’re happy to say that the pan did exceptionally well in the heat department. I actually used my own stovetop for testing. And we used it on a hot plate that is renowned for not generating a lot of heat so we were surprised that the pan did so well. The pan got hot quickly and maintained good solid heat the entire time.

I would tend to think that because this pan doesn’t have a thick base is what makes the difference here. It means the pan heats up quickly and maintains the heat during the cooking process.

Can it be used on a ceramic stove top?

Yes definitely – the pan is safe to use on ceramic stove tops.

Can I use the Manpan in the oven?

Yes, these pans are oven safe to an amazing 700F…not that there are many home ovens that get anywhere near to that temperature but at least the option is there if you need it. Just be aware however that the lid is only oven safe to 400F.

What is the handle like?

The handles stay cool on the stovetop but ensure that you use oven gloves if using in the oven as they will get hot. It also feels quite comfortable to hold.

Beauty Marks…

Manpan - Eg of Scuff MarksAs I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this pan arrived with what looked like scuff marks. You can see an example of what I mean in the image. These were examples of marks found on the steamer but there were also minor marks on the pan itself.

I attributed it to poor packaging, however on checking the manpan website I found the following:

“We believe the Gem-X2 finish quality of our pans gives you the most beautiful cooking results imaginable. Our exclusive manufacturing process leaves an occasional harmless streak, smudge or rack mark on the cookware and we don’t overfinish them with unnecessary pretty coatings. We call these our “beauty marks”.”

I guess when your priority is to supply cookware for industrial applications where the performance of the cookware is the top priority then a few ‘beauty marks’ on the final look of the cookware isn’t an issue.

This may work with those in the industry but I just wonder about home cooks. I must admit that I was initially disappointed at seeing the scuff marks but on the other hand I quickly got over it after using the pan and assessing its performance.

Eco-Friendly?…definitely!

Being eco-friendly is definitely something this company is good at. Here’s what they had to say about their cookware:

“Since we manufacture, anodize and finish all our pans in one US location, we save carbon by reducing transportation. Our anodizing process is very clean both in sewage and air quality and receives high marks from the Washington State Department of Ecology. Our finishing technology contains no petroleum products, no PFE or PFOA, is water based and completely non-reactive. From manufacturing to our finished product, we are truly embracing the most eco-friendly cookware available.”

You can read more about it here…Man Pan Eco Green Manufacturing

Does it come with a warranty?

Yes, the pan comes with a lifetime warranty for any defects in material and workmanship. Plus if you aren’t happy with the pan for any reason you can return it in 30 days for a refund.

Our Final Analysis

If you’re looking for perfection then you may be disappointed if the pan happens to turn up with minor scuff marks or discolortions. People tend to expect everything to be just right when they purchase something new so I can only think that this may be an issue for some. Just be aware that this in no way detracts from the ability of this pan to do the job intended.

Overall if you are looking for a green eco friendly pan that stir frys exceptionally well then we definitely recommend this pan. It’s strong but light, it looks good, feels good and does a beautiful job at generating the required amount of heat for cooking stir frys.

Recommended Links

>Watch a Video to see the pan in action – ManPan Videos

>Read more about Manpan Eco Green Manufacturing

>The Manpan Homepage

>Read more about the ManPan Stirfry Pan.

>Check out prices here.

Le Crueset Wok -Make Magic Stir Fry

le-creuset-wok A wok is one of those pieces of cookware that you will get a lot of use out of.

You can use it for all your Asian style dishes such as your stir-fry, Chicken Chow Mein, Mongolian Lamb or beef and black bean.

This Le Creuset Wok is made from cast iron which is of course well known for its heat retention properties. It has a colorful enameled exterior with the handles that flare stylishly from each side.

The domed glass lid seals in the flavor of the food as it cooks and lets you monitor the food while it cooks.

The Le Creuset Wok does need seasoning as you will find with most cast iron cookware, and the instructions are included in the package.

Le Creuset is known for the quality of their products and this Wok is no exception. It is a fairly solid piece of cookware that will last you a long time simply because it is well made.

Le Creuset enamelled cast iron Woks come in a range of excellent colors.



All Clad Wok Review: All Clad 12in Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Wok

all-clad-wok1I’d have to say that my favorite stainless steel cookware brand is All Clad. The precision, quality and care that goes into their cookware makes it worth every cent. All Clad is not cheap but you get what you pay for with All Clad and that is a lifetimes worth of use.

This All Clad wok is no exception. At around the hundred dollar mark at Cooking.com for All Clad that is a bargain.

What We Like

  • This wok has an aluminum core which means that foods cook evenly without hot spots. You won’t have the problem of having a mix of burnt and undercooked foods – it will all cook evenly. If you haven’t used good quality cookware in the past you will be surprised at how much improved your cooking results will be.
  • This wok comes with a reversible base ring on which the wok sits on when cooking. This can be reversed so to accommodate high or low heat cooking.
  • This wok comes with a tempura rack which basically drains fried foods whilst keep them warm at the same time.
  • This wok just looks damn good.

What We Don’t Like

  • The handles on this wok can get hot so you will need to use oven mitts.

Where Can I Get the Best Price?

We found the best price for this All Clad wok at Cooking.com.

How to Choose a Wok that Rocks

red-wok-stir-fry-pan

Le Creuset 14.25-in. Wok with Glass Lid, Flame

Many people think of woks are only good for preparing Chinese dishes. However, woks are a practical way to make healthy and fresh-tasting stir-fry and vegetables. These tips on how to choose a wok will help you find a great piece of cookware that you’ll use over and over again.

Why Are Woks Better Than Frying Pans?
The traditional wok has a rounded bottom and flared sides that allow food to be pushed up and away from the heat. This allows fast-cooking items to be kept farther from the heat so that nothing is burned or undercooked. Pushing the food up the sides of the wok also allows the cooking oil to drain away. Because your food doesn’t bathe in oil, wok cooking is healthier.

What is the Perfect Wok Made Of?
Like most pieces of cookware, the metal that your wok is made from will have a dramatic effect on both its price and its effectiveness. Some like woks with non-stick aluminum woks because the surface prevents sticking and is easy to clean. However, non-stick pans make it more difficult to keep the food on the sides, and they lose some of the traditional seared flavor. Aluminum also does not hold up well under the high temperatures used for wok cooking.

The traditional wok was made from cast iron, which remains a good choice. Cast iron retains heat well, and will distribute that heat along the sides of the pan. However, cast iron is also very heavy, making it unpopular with some cooks.

Another great choice of wok material is carbon steel. Carbon steel is durable, distributes heat well, and is lighter than cast iron.

Are Round-Bottomed or Flat-Bottomed Woks Better?
The traditional round-bottomed wok allows a pool of oil to form where food can be quickly seared and then moved to the side. The disadvantage is that the round bottom is unstable on electric burners. Many western woks have flat bottoms to accommodate stoves. In order to get the advantages of a round-bottomed wok on an electric stove, you can also use a wok ring which lifts the pan above the burner and holds it steady as you cook.Calphalon 12-in.  One Infused Anodized Flat Bottom Wok with Lid


Handles for Woks

Traditional woks have two small, round handles on opposite sides of the pan. While this was convenient for lifting a wok from an old-fashioned Chinese wood oven, the small handles are not as convenient when tossing food during cooking. You will need to use a towel or other hand protection if your wok has small handles.

More practical for modern-day cooking is a long, sturdy wok handle with a small “helper” handle opposite.

Woks are great cookware to own whether you plan on making Chinese meals or just cooking delicious meats and vegetables. By following these tips, you can buy a great wok that will last for many years.

More woks:-



What Wok’s and What Doesn’t – Cookware For Stir Frys

red-wok-stir-fry-panWe all know that it isn’t essential to have a wok to create superb Chinese meals. But they are much easier to prepare if you do have a good quality wok. I know mine gets a work out on a regular basis.

We love stir fry meals, they are so easy to prepare, tasty and healthy. I can throw in anything I have on hand to make a nourishing meal in a short time.

Woks come in a variety of sizes so it’s simply a matter of selecting one that suits your needs. I have recently downsized as the kids have left home so we no longer require a large wok, although the larger one does come in handy when we have guests.

Some woks have 2 handles, one on each side, but nowadays woks often come with a small ‘helper” handle on one side and a long handle on the other. The long handle makes it easy to move and tilt the wok when stir-frying and also makes it easy to lift.

A flat bottom is also important (for the wok, I mean) after all, you need the wok to sit flat on the element to ensure even heating. Cast iron and carbon steel are ideal materials for woks although manufacturers are making non-stick coatings that also work well. Cast iron of course, is reknown for the heat-retention properties that are so important for stir frying.

A lid is optional but if your wok has a lid you will find it ideal for sealing-in flavors.

Quick, tell me where I can find a good quality wok: Amazon.com

Read our review of the one electric wok that generates enough heat to work as well as a carbon steel or cast iron wok.