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WokMon - crowdsourced gas burner accessory

WokMon - crowdsourced gas burner accessory
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  • WokMon - crowdsourced gas burner accessory

    Post #1 - May 21st, 2014, 3:08 pm
    Post #1 - May 21st, 2014, 3:08 pm Post #1 - May 21st, 2014, 3:08 pm
    This looks like a kitchen gadget I can actually use, that would actually work. Simple, straightforward, and does exactly what it says it does, which is concentrate your gas burner to a central hot spot that will make home wok cooking much better. What do you all think?

    I signed up for one, so we will see if the project gets funded. I have no connection to this financially, other than REALLY wanting this to be produced, as it addresses an issue I've faced for decades.

    https://www.crowdzu.com/funding/campaigns/19/wokmon/
  • Post #2 - May 21st, 2014, 3:34 pm
    Post #2 - May 21st, 2014, 3:34 pm Post #2 - May 21st, 2014, 3:34 pm
    interesting idea, terrible name.

    as i don't currently own a wok, i don't have much incentive to support this. but if reviews are positive after it's released, maybe i'll dabble in getting the whole setup.
  • Post #3 - May 22nd, 2014, 9:34 am
    Post #3 - May 22nd, 2014, 9:34 am Post #3 - May 22nd, 2014, 9:34 am
    Unless the Laws of Thermodynamica are repealed, a home gas supplied Wok burner cannot be done.
    Home gas burners are limted in BTU's by NFPA Residential Fire Codes unless you want to install Fire Suppression equipment and obtain the consent of your HomeOwners insurance.
    I have a Viking range with 15,000 BTU burners. It is not adequate for woking but I do the best I can.
    The cheap gas wok burners sold are for outdoor usage with good reason.
    So no matter what type of arrangement you supply for your gas range burner, you just can't increase the BTU's and no amount of advertisement/claims is going to change that.
    I Pass.-Dick
  • Post #4 - May 22nd, 2014, 9:55 am
    Post #4 - May 22nd, 2014, 9:55 am Post #4 - May 22nd, 2014, 9:55 am
    I believe the product isn't claiming to increase the BTU/h of the burner. It's redirecting the burner and changing the air/fuel ratio to create a directed jet. So while it's not going to increase the power of the burner it is going to increase the heat flux incident to the bottom of wok (especially for a round bottom wok).
  • Post #5 - May 22nd, 2014, 11:00 am
    Post #5 - May 22nd, 2014, 11:00 am Post #5 - May 22nd, 2014, 11:00 am
    Forget that, I'm holding out for the Searzall:

    https://www.shopstarter.com/p/1708738346/the-searzall/
  • Post #6 - May 22nd, 2014, 5:55 pm
    Post #6 - May 22nd, 2014, 5:55 pm Post #6 - May 22nd, 2014, 5:55 pm
    Also, this only applies if you have a sealed burner stove. Most people do these days, but I do not. At 20k BTU, my Imperial throws enough heat to deal with the small wok we use these days. And the 200k minimum is going to be insane. He's expecting to sell 4700 wok rings? I mean, I can tool that up in China for < 10k, 1000 pcs minimum, and it still won't take anywhere near 100k.

    Gluck with it though. It's a niche niche market. Even most of the Asians in my 60% Chinese community won't be buying that.
  • Post #7 - May 23rd, 2014, 10:54 am
    Post #7 - May 23rd, 2014, 10:54 am Post #7 - May 23rd, 2014, 10:54 am
    "So while it's not going to increase the power of the burner it is going to increase the heat flux incident to the bottom of wok "

    Whatever heat flux is, Thermodynamically it takes BTU's of heat to increase temperature. If the mass of the food you are cooking is fixed, no matter what you do, you can't heat it faster with the same amount of BTU's.
    The object of a restaurant style wok is to heat the food faster at a somewhat higher temperature, that can only be done with more BTU's. Narrowing the area for the heat to supplied may result in a hot spot for your wok but it won't heat very much mass faster, so you are still stuck with the problem of not enough BTU's.-Dick
  • Post #8 - May 23rd, 2014, 11:14 am
    Post #8 - May 23rd, 2014, 11:14 am Post #8 - May 23rd, 2014, 11:14 am
    According to the Serious Eats article:

    "I've taken careful temperature readings using an IR thermometer of my wok through various methods of heating in the past. With a standard wok on a regular home burner, 650°F was about the highest I could get it, and once I added food, that temperature dropped rapidly to 400°F, before gradually making its way up to about 550°F.

    On a grill, we can bump that starting value up by about 25°F, and the final cruising altitude by 100°F.

    With the WokMon and its concentrated flame, on the other hand, I managed to get the bottom of my wok up well beyond the 700°F mark, in some cases almost above 800°F! Holy crap! While the highest maximum temperature I could achieve at the base of the wok was higher than temperatures I generally get stir-frying on the grill, the grill is much better at maintaining that cruising heat once you start adding food. With the WokMon, you still need to cook in batches."

    My personal experience using a conventional stove with a flat bottomed cast iron wok confirms Kenji's data of an initial temperature of 650F (at the bottom of the wok) and dropping to 400-450F after putting food in the wok (using a cast iron wok). This has actually yielded some decent wok hei though obviously it could be better.

    The overall heat transferred to the wok will of course be the same since it is limited by the output of the stove. Perhaps it is increased due to the change in air flow, but no one has made that claim and I doubt it's a game-changing amount. However, the more directed flame will make the base of the wok hotter to start and keep the temperature higher throughout the process. Using the conventional set-up, the sides coast around 300-400F throughout the cook. Not enough to seriously sear the food but still a good amount of heat. I suspect with the wokmon the temperature at the sides of the wok will drop and the temperature at the bottom of the wok will go up.

    Given that it's not practical for me to buy a commercial grade stove or to fire up the grill every time I want to stir fry, I'm excited at the possibility that this product can improve my stir frying skills.
  • Post #9 - May 23rd, 2014, 11:18 am
    Post #9 - May 23rd, 2014, 11:18 am Post #9 - May 23rd, 2014, 11:18 am
    TonyC wrote:Gluck with it though. It's a niche niche market. Even most of the Asians in my 60% Chinese community won't be buying that.


    Tony, out of curiosity, how do most of the Asians in your community cook with their wok? Do they have special wok burners at home or do they primarily use conventional western stove tops?
  • Post #10 - May 23rd, 2014, 12:31 pm
    Post #10 - May 23rd, 2014, 12:31 pm Post #10 - May 23rd, 2014, 12:31 pm
    "With the WokMon and its concentrated flame, on the other hand, I managed to get the bottom of my wok up well beyond the 700°F mark, in some cases almost above 800°F! Holy crap!"

    Temperature comparison's are done with either the Kelvin or Rankin scale which is on an absolute scale of 0 to whatever.
    F+460=R or in this case comparing 650F to 800F or 1110R to 1260R or an increase of 13.5% at best if this actually occurs with this device. What I expect will happen is that the area of the wok outside of the concentrated heat source will actually drop below the norm of 650F yielding a 'Tempest In A Teapot' so to speak.
    An understanding of Thermodynamics is really required to sort out these oddball theories of which I consign the WokMo to.-Dick
  • Post #11 - May 23rd, 2014, 12:59 pm
    Post #11 - May 23rd, 2014, 12:59 pm Post #11 - May 23rd, 2014, 12:59 pm
    I think we're saying the same thing. The bottom of the wok will get hotter but the sides will get cooler. The question is what impact that change will have on wok hei. Kenji, who has tested it, seems to think it helps. You have your reasons to doubt his claims. I'm honestly not sure, but I'm interested to find out for myself.
  • Post #12 - May 23rd, 2014, 1:43 pm
    Post #12 - May 23rd, 2014, 1:43 pm Post #12 - May 23rd, 2014, 1:43 pm
    budrichard wrote:Temperature comparison's are done with either the Kelvin or Rankin scale which is on an absolute scale of 0 to whatever.
    F+460=R or in this case comparing 650F to 800F or 1110R to 1260R or an increase of 13.5% at best if this actually occurs with this device.

    Is there some law of thermodynamics that tells us what percentage increase is meaningful in terms of wok cooking? The fact that using different temperature scales give different results is irrelevant here. Question is whether the temperature increase is meaningful for the purpose being considered. If there were a device that raised the temperature of the entire wok (assuming it is all about the same temperature) by 150 F, would it matter whether it was a big or small percentage based on whatever temperature scale was used?

    budrichard wrote:What I expect will happen is that the area of the wok outside of the concentrated heat source will actually drop below the norm of 650F yielding a 'Tempest In A Teapot' so to speak.
    An understanding of Thermodynamics is really required to sort out these oddball theories of which I consign the WokMo to.-Dick

    The review cited *explicitly* recognizes that total heat output is not affected ("First and foremost is to realize that this thing will not increase the actual heat output of your burners. All it does is redirect the flame so that you are cooking more efficiently.") It is a fair question whether having a significantly hotter center of the wok with a significantly cooler rest of the wok is in fact helpful. It is also a question one could resolve without appeal to thermodynamics, however appealing that might be.
  • Post #13 - May 23rd, 2014, 2:51 pm
    Post #13 - May 23rd, 2014, 2:51 pm Post #13 - May 23rd, 2014, 2:51 pm
    "Is there some law of thermodynamics that tells us what percentage increase is meaningful in terms of wok cooking? The fact that using different temperature scales give different results is irrelevant here. Question is whether the temperature increase is meaningful for the purpose being considered. If there were a device that raised the temperature of the entire wok (assuming it is all about the same temperature) by 150 F, would it matter whether it was a big or small percentage based on whatever temperature scale was used?"

    The only way to compare temperature effects is to use an absolute temperature scale. Many think that an increase from say 32F to 64F will have doubling effect on pressure due to the Ideal Gas Law but the correct temperature to use is absolute, either Rankin or Kelvin. Using different temperature scales is not irrelevant.
    The ONLY way to increase the temperature of the entire Wok by 150F (holding all other variables constant) would be to add more heat or BTU's which is the measurement standard we are using.
    This is what I have been trying to explain.
    No matter how much you wish it were true, this device will accomplish little if anything.
    I'm an Engineer well founded in Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics and have been trying to find a safe, reasonable way to Wok like a restaurant but in a residential environment.
    It doesn't exist.
    One person Posted on another Forum that he had installed one of those off shore gas burners in his residential kitchen.
    I haven't heard if he burnt his house down yet, but I expect he will eventually!
    EOT for me.-Dick
  • Post #14 - May 23rd, 2014, 3:26 pm
    Post #14 - May 23rd, 2014, 3:26 pm Post #14 - May 23rd, 2014, 3:26 pm
    budrichard wrote:The ONLY way to increase the temperature of the entire Wok by 150F (holding all other variables constant) would be to add more heat or BTU's which is the measurement standard we are using.


    I agree with this. But this is oversimplifying the problem. The heat of the entire wok isn't all that matters. I would contend that the heat at the bottom is more important than the sides.

    Most of the cooking done in a wok is at the hottest point which is the bottom of the wok (550F-650F in my past experience). The 300F-400F sides of the wok will keep things warm but will not cause a significant increase in maillard browning. This is why increasing the temperature of the bottom while dropping the temperature of the sides of the wok (something I think we agree on) will make a difference. Is it enough to significantly improve wok hei? I have no idea, but Kenji seems to think so.

    Kenji emphasizes in his write-up that it's important to work in small batches due to the BTU limitations. Just because the bottom of the wok is starting at 800F doesn't mean it will stay there throughout the cook. But if we're starting at a higher point and the flame is more efficiently delivering heat to the bottom of the wok (the part that matters), then in theory, this could work.

    I really have to wonder if the average Chinese home-cook has a high BTU stove. I doubt it. Are they not using a wok at home or are they just living with the lack of "restaurant quality" wok hei? My stir fries taste pretty good working with a cast iron wok and a conventional burner. I'd love to have a deluxe high BTU burner, but that's not happening anytime soon.
  • Post #15 - May 23rd, 2014, 3:40 pm
    Post #15 - May 23rd, 2014, 3:40 pm Post #15 - May 23rd, 2014, 3:40 pm
    budrichard wrote:The only way to compare temperature effects is to use an absolute temperature scale.

    If you know that going from 500 F to 600 F is meaningful for whatever you are doing, that's really all you need to know. It's irrelevant what the percentage increase is on whatever scale.

    budrichard wrote:The ONLY way to increase the temperature of the entire Wok by 150F (holding all other variables constant) would be to add more heat or BTU's which is the measurement standard we are using.
    This is what I have been trying to explain.

    No one on this thread or in the review of the product is disagreeing with this. You seem to purposefully ignore the mechanism that people have posited for why the product might work without violating any laws of nature (significantly hotter center). I don't know whether it does work or not, though I do regard the review author (who has actually tried the product) as a serious source worthy of consideration. You seem to just want to go on about "thermodynamics".
  • Post #16 - May 28th, 2014, 12:47 pm
    Post #16 - May 28th, 2014, 12:47 pm Post #16 - May 28th, 2014, 12:47 pm
    I am the inventor of the WokMon. I have dealt with the low heat issue and lack of wok hei when using conventional home gas ranges all my life. When I was a young boy my relatives used to bitch about this. I finally decided to do something about it 20 years ago. With my technical training and many prototypes later, I came up with a safe, user-friendly design which any adult can easily setup in under a minute for a real stir-fry experience. My claim that the WokMon increases the heat intensity by about 50% is right, and confirmed in the short time that Kenji of SeriousEats tested a WokMon prototype firsthand.

    The power of the WokMon goes up proportional to the size of the particular burner. With the smallest (2") to the largest (4-3/4") gas burner, the WokMon would create in all cases a very strong flame of varying degrees. Cooking times will decrease. Some batch cooking may be required on smaller units depending on burner size. Whatever technical/scientific arguments are presented in this and other forums, nothing can dispute "your sense of smell and taste." That's the bottom line and isn’t that the reason we strive for that great taste?

    The WokMon has been tested by both average Chinese home cooks and restaurant chefs using it on their home stoves. Their initial skepticism was gone after experiencing the significant power surge produced and their general response was that "any power increase to the center of the wok is much better than none." FYI, the science of stir-frying/wok hei requires that you move your food through the hot center of your wok and up the cooler sides in order to sear but leaving the insides tender. My crowdfunding pitch video includes a History Channel clip that explains this clearly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5FO8OVWPzo

    I am satisfied with Kenji’s review and conclusions on the WokMon’s performance. I have posted some replies at SeriousEats to similar comments like those here. Please feel free to read them at http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/the-wok-mon-converts-your-home-burner-into-a-wok-range-solution.html. Sorry, I wish I could reply to each and every comment but I have a campaign to run to bring the WokMon to a stove near you.

    My first idea to market was EZ-Sticks, the Original Mechanical Chopsticks in the 80s. At the time it was the only kid on the block but then the block got a little crowded with "me too" copies. I am not afraid to start changing paradigms again. It's part of the ever-changing landscape when something new comes around for the better. I believe logic and reason will prevail in the end.

    One more thing: I recommend getting a WokMon... not so you can help fund my project but to prove to yourself that the WokMon will produce ‘Wok Hei’ like never before on a regular gas stove. Your taste buds will convert you and your foodies friends.
  • Post #17 - May 30th, 2014, 11:05 am
    Post #17 - May 30th, 2014, 11:05 am Post #17 - May 30th, 2014, 11:05 am
    Although Bondi famously said "Never trust observation until it's been verified by theory", I'm much more inclined to go with Kenji's practice than budrichard's theory. [Speaking of which, temperature scales, just like geomrtries, are completely conventional, and hence play no substantive role in these arguments.]

    So what the hei, mon, let's get it on and try this gizmo. [Which, at $200K startup, is insanely, cosmically overpriced--the money youve already raised is waaay sufficient. Dont be so greedy, taking all your profit on the front end!]

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #18 - May 30th, 2014, 7:06 pm
    Post #18 - May 30th, 2014, 7:06 pm Post #18 - May 30th, 2014, 7:06 pm
    So what the hei, mon, let's get it on and try this gizmo. [Which, at $200K startup, is insanely, cosmically overpriced--the money youve already raised is waaay sufficient. Dont be so greedy, taking all your profit on the front end!]


    Perhaps they are banking the money for the inevitable TM infringement suit by Sony.
  • Post #19 - May 31st, 2014, 7:29 am
    Post #19 - May 31st, 2014, 7:29 am Post #19 - May 31st, 2014, 7:29 am
    Geo wrote:So what the hei, mon, let's get it on and try this gizmo. [Which, at $200K startup, is insanely, cosmically overpriced--the money youve already raised is waaay sufficient. Dont be so greedy, taking all your profit on the front end!]

    Geo


    Geo & Sundevilpeg, I want to manufacture the WokMon in the US and the $200K will just cover the cost of dies for the three sizes of the body of the WokMon and the pieces that make up the adjustable legs, and the mold for the high-temp silicone bits, the production run to fulfill the campaign rewards, and some of the packaging and shipping costs. Trust me on this. If I were to move manufacture and production overseas, it would be a different story but this is not something I want to do. It is not like the US factories I am working with are willing to offer me credit or pricing breaks based on future volume. Even if I hit the $200K mark, there will be costs I will have to cover out of pocket.

    Thank you for the vote of confidence on the product, @Geo.
  • Post #20 - May 31st, 2014, 9:45 am
    Post #20 - May 31st, 2014, 9:45 am Post #20 - May 31st, 2014, 9:45 am
    McGyvermon wrote:
    Geo wrote:So what the hei, mon, let's get it on and try this gizmo. [Which, at $200K startup, is insanely, cosmically overpriced--the money youve already raised is waaay sufficient. Dont be so greedy, taking all your profit on the front end!]

    Geo


    Geo & Sundevilpeg, I want to manufacture the WokMon in the US and the $200K will just cover the cost of dies for the three sizes of the body of the WokMon and the pieces that make up the adjustable legs, and the mold for the high-temp silicone bits, the production run to fulfill the campaign rewards, and some of the packaging and shipping costs. Trust me on this. If I were to move manufacture and production overseas, it would be a different story but this is not something I want to do. It is not like the US factories I am working with are willing to offer me credit or pricing breaks based on future volume. Even if I hit the $200K mark, there will be costs I will have to cover out of pocket.

    Thank you for the vote of confidence on the product, @Geo.

    Thanks, for the additional details. I don't know how one could meaningfully question your seed money target (or refer to it as greedy) without seeing your detailed business plan. Best of luck to you.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #21 - May 31st, 2014, 1:42 pm
    Post #21 - May 31st, 2014, 1:42 pm Post #21 - May 31st, 2014, 1:42 pm
    Ronnie's right, I was both hasty and harsh in my criticism, for which I apologise. And I'd
    *still* like to try one, mon!

    [Our canteen at Wuhan Univ. had a floor-mounted, coal-fired 40-liter wok, aided and abetted
    by a pedal-operated bellows system. I've never gotten over
    using that dream machine! Hei up the ying!]

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #22 - May 31st, 2014, 3:05 pm
    Post #22 - May 31st, 2014, 3:05 pm Post #22 - May 31st, 2014, 3:05 pm
    I posted about this in a different thread after seeing the serious eats piece. I think Kenji does pretty killer work over there and i'm inclined to take his endorsement at face value.
  • Post #23 - June 10th, 2014, 8:51 am
    Post #23 - June 10th, 2014, 8:51 am Post #23 - June 10th, 2014, 8:51 am
    Wokmon just posted an update showing 860F at the bottom of the wok.

    https://www.crowdzu.com/funding/campaig ... n/#updates

    Glen, could you tell us what the temperature at the sides of the wok are when the bottom is 860F? Also could you do the same test without the wokmon for comparison?
  • Post #24 - July 28th, 2014, 9:43 pm
    Post #24 - July 28th, 2014, 9:43 pm Post #24 - July 28th, 2014, 9:43 pm
    http://www.crowdzu.com/funding/campaigns/19/wokmon/

    Looks like they dropped the threshold to $20k. I'm looking forward to giving my wokmon a spin.
  • Post #25 - April 20th, 2017, 9:21 am
    Post #25 - April 20th, 2017, 9:21 am Post #25 - April 20th, 2017, 9:21 am
    Last evening I received an email distributed by Glen Lee with the subject
    "WokMon update: WokMon Update - Shipping soon from China!". It's been a 3 year wait and I remain very eager to test this device. You can view the recent announcement on the Crowdzu campaign page. Click on 'Updates'
  • Post #26 - April 20th, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Post #26 - April 20th, 2017, 12:30 pm Post #26 - April 20th, 2017, 12:30 pm
    DRC1379 wrote:Last evening I received an email distributed by Glen Lee with the subject
    "WokMon update: WokMon Update - Shipping soon from China!". It's been a 3 year wait and I remain very eager to test this device. You can view the recent announcement on the Crowdzu campaign page. Click on 'Updates'


    The Wokmon creater, Glenn Lee has made unfulfilled promises over the past 3 years. I would not hold your breathe in getting your 3 yr old ordered wokmon within the next 3 months. This reminds me of the many articles I read about crowd funding like campaigns where the customers dont get what there promised or get a item that is basically worthless to the end customer while the crowd funding campaign owner runs away with your money.
  • Post #27 - January 10th, 2018, 7:51 am
    Post #27 - January 10th, 2018, 7:51 am Post #27 - January 10th, 2018, 7:51 am
    Just to give everyone who bought this kitchen gadget 3.5 years ago through a crowdfunding site my order finally shipped via USPS. I do not really have the same enthusiasm for the Wokmon as I did 3.5 years ago but at least I am getting what I ordered.

    This thread is also a warning to those who want to support crowd-sourced products that might never make it to production or shipment. Marketing hype is one thing but actually creating a shippable product is another and you should think twice supporting crowd-sourced products on sites similar to kickstarter and a like.

    /polster
  • Post #28 - February 5th, 2018, 2:21 pm
    Post #28 - February 5th, 2018, 2:21 pm Post #28 - February 5th, 2018, 2:21 pm
    I too just received my WokMon, which was a pleasant surprise after so long. It seems to work pretty well, although I must have measured my burner incorrectly because I could use the small instead of the medium.

    Nevertheless, it does increase the heat to the point where my Calphalon wok gets hotter than before, although probably not like a restaurant. It's good for a simple home cook like myself.

    I did in fact end up with an extra one, size medium (for 2.5 - 3.25” burner) so if any is interested, let me know.
  • Post #29 - February 8th, 2018, 11:48 am
    Post #29 - February 8th, 2018, 11:48 am Post #29 - February 8th, 2018, 11:48 am
    I’d have been interested but my new stove has burners just a bit too big.

    Any update on how well it works?
  • Post #30 - February 8th, 2018, 7:11 pm
    Post #30 - February 8th, 2018, 7:11 pm Post #30 - February 8th, 2018, 7:11 pm
    swingbossa wrote:I too just received my WokMon, which was a pleasant surprise after so long. It seems to work pretty well, although I must have measured my burner incorrectly because I could use the small instead of the medium.

    Nevertheless, it does increase the heat to the point where my Calphalon wok gets hotter than before, although probably not like a restaurant. It's good for a simple home cook like myself.

    I did in fact end up with an extra one, size medium (for 2.5 - 3.25” burner) so if any is interested, let me know.


    I'd definitely be interested!

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