Characterized by a bold salty, smoky, slightly-fruity flavor, black vinegar—also called Chinkiang or Zhenjiang (the city it originated from) vinegar—is typically made from fermented glutinous rice. Every Grain of Rice author Fuchsia Dunlop writes that good black vinegar derives its color from charred rice and has a mellow, complex flavor with slight acidity. It's less sweet than balsamic, but not as tart as sherry or red wine vinegar.
In his new book, Green Burgers, self-proclaimed “Cabbage Butcher” Martin Nordin explains why you want it on your meatless burgers:
The black vinegar mix can be used for a lot of things, but is particularly good for counterbalancing raw ingredients that are on the sweet side, like sweet potatoes, parsnips, and Jerusalem artichokes, he says.
Black vinegar's depth of flavor makes it an ideal dipping sauce for dumplings or scallion pancakes, but if you're looking for other ways to use black vinegar, substitute it in one of these recipes: