Originally Posted by Hoot
I have several woks. I prefer carbon steel. One thing you should look for is that the steel at the bottom should be significantly thicker than the sides.
I use my wok for many things beyond fried rice. It can be used as a deep fry pan, for example.
As for a standard size, woks can be small (14" is good for a family of 4) or large (up to about 2 -2.5 ft) as you can see in Chinese restaurants.
I'm with Hoot on this.
I use mine for lots of things and prefer carbon steel. Lets face it, it's the wok of choice for Chinese cooks and one billion Chinese can't be wrong
I find that things burn to easily in stainless steel. Non-stick is not a good idea as you need to heat the empty, dry wok to a high temp before adding the oil for stir frying and with non-stick you can't do this. Le Creuset style cast iron woks are far to heavy to be manageable.
Another thing about carbon steel woks - they are inexpensive so it's not a major disaster if you ruin it. Having said that, I've had mine for over 15 years and however I try to destroy it it comes up smiling. When I was in the middle of moving house a couple of winters back it got abandoned in the garage and developed a fine dusting of rust but I scrubbed it and re-seasoned it and it was as good as new. Hint - With a carbon steel wok it's a good idea to line it with a sheet of foil if you are going to steam over water in order to protect the steel from rusting.
Whichever you go for, I'd choose one with a sticky out handle like this
rather than one with two grab handles. The type pictured are easier to shake about without burning yourself. 14" is a good size even for one person - "What holds a lot holds a little" and you have more room to manoeuvre in the 14" wok than the smaller ones.
This is useful info about seasoning:-
How to Care for Your Carbon-Steel Wok - FineCooking.com