The physics of the tossing fried rice

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Fried rice is a 1500-year-old dish that uses wok tossing to expose food to 1200°C temperatures without burning. The repeated, rapid tossing of a heavy wok may be one contributor to shoulder pain reported by around two-thirds of Chinese restaurant chefs. Researchers used experimental and theoretical methods to model the physics of the optimal wok toss. They say this study may inspire future “stir-fry robotics and exoskeletons” to reduce strain injury in chefs.

Journal/conference: Journal of the Royal Society Interface

DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2019.0622

Organisation/s: Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Funder: This work was supported by the Dr David Hu’s career award National Science Foundation.

Media Release

From: The Royal Society

Wok tossing is a dynamic cooking technique that is as fast as an eye blink(0.3~0.4 seconds per cycle). However, little was known about how it can continuously toss and catch the stir-fry ingredients. In this study, we used a combined experimental and numerical approach to investigate the wok kinematics and its interaction with the ingredients. We identified the optimal tossing motion and compared it to what we observed from the chefs. The findings of the study can advance the design of assistive devices for human chefs.


  • The Royal Society
    Web page
    URL after publication

News for:


Media contact details for this story are only visible to registered journalists.