5 Japanese Appliances You Need to Add to Your Kitchen
Rice cookers, toasters and tabletop hibachi grills
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Last month a Vice article with the headline “Why single serving rice cookers are trending in Japan” hit the internet. It did not go viral or anything, but as a lover of rice, I was intrigued. So as not to keep you in clickbait suspense, the answer was that through both Covid-induced reductions in social gatherings and the natural tendency of Japanese citizens to live alone (the highest rate of solo livers in the world), more people are making individual portions of rice.
But you didn’t come here to learn about the intricacies of Japanese social structures. You came here because you know the Japanese take their food as seriously as a heart attack (which is a generally low occurrence in Japan because they eat so well). And they also take their technology damn seriously. So it stands to reason that when it comes to kitchen appliances, the Japanese do not fuck around.
You may not know the wonders of Japanese kitchen necessities at the current moment, but once you experience them, you’ll never be able to return to your old generic Wal-Mart brand toasters. We pulled together five essentials.
Balmuda Toaster Oven
If your toaster doesn’t have a water reservoir for steam dispersal purposes, then I don’t want to hear about it, buddy. The steam ensures that the interior of whatever you’re toasting remains soft and fluffy, while the exterior gets golden and crispy. It has settings for various types of bread-based products as well, like pizza, pastry and sandwich bread. It also just looks really damn cool.
Vermicular Musui-Kamado Cast Iron Induction Cooker
If your Staub cast-iron skillet and your favorite crock-pot had a baby it would be this. You can use it as a normal dutch oven, but it also comes with its own base so you can slow cook off to the side and still use all the burners on your oven. Plus it has a custom trivet that snaps onto the bottom for easy moving around without worry of burning things. Super high quality, but not cheap.
Yamazen NEKM-C1280 Electric Kettle
Look, it’s going to make your water hot at the push of a button. What more could you want? You can also set it as precise as you want between 140 and 212°F, meaning that if you are a super anal coffee maker that needs water to be at an exact temperature, this is the kettle for you. And again, it also just looks really good.
Zojirushi Rice Cooker
There is not a dearth of great Japanese rice cookers by any means. This one just happens to be widely regarded as the best. It uses “fuzzy logic” technology to make sure your rice cooks perfectly every time. Bon Appetit wrote about how amazing it was last year. If you only want the single portion rice cooker, you can get that right here. And if you want a particularly sexy rice cooker, may I recommend this one from Hario.
Kotaigrill Hibachi Grill
We’re probably not having any big backyard BBQs anytime soon. This carbon steel grill is hefty and allows you to grill for small numbers of people in a minimal amount of space, as it’s only 18”. Perfect for a balcony (or, hell, even a fire escape). It runs on charcoal, so you still get that desired char on your meats and veggies.
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