By Harold McGee
Asian rice and grain vinegars are made from grains whose starch is broken down to sugars by means of a mold culture rather than sprouted grains. Chinese vinegars can be especially flavorful and savory because they’re made from whole, sometimes roasted grains, fermented in continuous contact with the grain solids, and often aged in contact with the molds, yeasts, and bacteria, all of which release amino and other organic acids and other flavor compounds into the vinegar.
From the book On Food and Cooking (2nd edition) by Harold McGee. © 2004 Harold McGee. By permission of Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.