Helo welcom 2 my websight
In the west, when we need to buy an electronic product, we spend about 5 minutes on Google and are able to find dozens of impartial review sites, amazon reviews and youtube videos to help us make up our mind. For example, if I wanted to buy a rice cooker, I would just Google ‘Best rice cooker 2015’ and easily get access to dozens of lists all with well supported reasons and explanations such as this one, this, this or this. From there I would search for the recommended products, find user reviews and stats and choose the one most fit for my needs and budget.
But Korea wouldn’t be Korea if online things made sense. If I search naver for ‘2015 제일/가장 좋은 밥솥’ I get pages that are direct advertisements for a certain rice cooker, news about a rice cooker that was released in 2015, Yahoo question-style pages about literally anything including ‘when I go abroad to study how can I make rice’ and blog posts titled ‘Today, I bought a new rice cooker!’ dated 2015.
This is because even though Korea is literally the most connected country in the entire world, its internet is also stuck in 1999 making doing anything an enormous hassle of biblical proportions. Coupled with that is the fact that Koreans care way more about personal experiences than objective facts, leading to a tremendous amount of blogs dedicated solely to help these poor people make decisions. Nevermind that 90% of these blogs are written either by people who received the products for free or, even worse, had to save up their hard earned money to buy the products and thus, rationalizing their purchase, would never say anything bad about it. If you search naver for reviews on anything, you’ll mostly find nothing but glowing reviews on everything and anything, sometimes by people who haven’t even used the product at all (I have a friend who write for one of these blogs and she literally just makes shit up sometimes).
Anyway, I’m not writing to complain to you about this. Actually, I’m writing to allow those of you who cannot into Korean to also enjoy this kind of internet. The Korean internet. The 100 pictures and 3 lines of text internet. The ‘this is what the street the restaurant is in looks like. This is the outside of the restaurant. This is what the chair in the restaurant looks like. This is the menu. This is what the food looks like. This is what the food looks like when I’m eating it. This is what the food looks like after I ate most of it. This is what the food looks like after I ate all of it’ internet that can be so amazing for restaurant reviews but so totally weird for reviews of anything else.
Because I care about you.
And I want you to fully experience Korean culture through my blog.
So let’s hop to it, shall we?
First of all, let me note that I used one of the better reviews I could find as a basis for my review. I’m not translating anything, just stating my own opinion ‘Korean style’.
Secondly, I feel like I should note that I wrote each paragraph after taking a picture. I imagine this is how Koreans do it too because how can you talk about nothing for so long unless you’re just writing down everything that’s currently coming up in your mind?
Okay, this time I’m really starting!
ever since I moved out of the dormitory, I have been cooking for myself almost every day.
The reason for that is that, although eating out is certainly a lot cheaper here than back in the Netherlands (a fancy meal would be around €10 here, but you can eat for as little as €3) it’s still cheaper too cook by yourself and there’s many times when you just can’t be bothered going out to eat.
Since I was super poor when I first moved out, I had just bought the cheapest decent looking rice cooker I could find since anything would be better than having to cook rice in a pan every single day.
And, to be fair, my ‘Kitchen Art Co. LTD.’ rice cooker has served me well all this time.
However, as with most cheap models, it doesn’t keep my rice fresh for longer than 24 hours (and even then it loses a lot of its taste) and I, like many a young man, have always dreamt of having a high class product that tells you in a friendly voice that your rice is ready.
Since I have been feeling pretty badly these past few weeks and I got some money from teaching English I decided now would be an okay time to invest in this, since it would make me feel better at least for a few hours as I could marvel at the splendor of my fancy new machine and feel like ‘Yes, this rice definitely tastes totally different than the rice my 4 times cheaper rice cooker made.’
Plus it is a thing I use every single day so it’s easy to justify spending some money on it.
So I took to the internet, came back with absolutely nothing, asked my Korean friends, came back with 12 different recommendations all based on ‘this is the one we have at home’ and in the end just decided to buy one that looked pretty okay and was the only one with a voice function at this price range. I paid 122,000 won (about €100) on Gmarket and it arrived two days after I made the payment (though to be fair I did make the payment at night).
This is the box.
As you can see, this is the limited 리차드 edition.
It proudly shows off the fact that it’s made in Korea (and not smelly 중국), has a large picture of the product in a color combination that is unavailable both online and in stores and has a giant sticker that says KANELIVES on the top because that’s my Gmarket username.
This is the box when you open it.
You can see some styrofoam, the 99,9% Korean only user manual that is no doubt going to be a joy to translate and the actual rice cooker is poking out its head a little as well.
The only English in the user manual is “Looks Good. Easy. Smart.” so I guess I will actually be getting some Korean practice in before this Sunday’s TOPIK.
The thing itself is a bit bigger and heavier than I had expected (that is, indeed, what she said) and looks sufficiently fancy with its muted colors and shiny finish.
It’s basically a poor man’s car.
I would’ve honestly preferred a 4 person rice cooker since I usually make new rice every other day, but it’s either 6 or 10 in the higher quality brackets of the rice cooker world so I guess it isn’t too bad to live with a rice cooker that could make me food for 4 days if I so wished.
Also, isn’t it slightly weird how the display is totally displaying stuff even though it’s not plugged in?
Korean black magic?
When you pop the lid (apparently easier on mine than on the one the Korean reviewer I linked had received) you can see some stuff stuffed inside of it.
This stuff is the ‘clean cover’ (™©®), a rice measuring cup (that I will never, ever throw away again I’m so sorry I had no idea you couldn’t buy the most essential and often used kitchen accessory anywhere in Korea) and a rice scoop.
My previous rice cooker (which must be feeling so sad sitting in the kitchen right now, remnants of hard, uncleaned rice sticking to its insides, looking on helplessly as it gets replaced by a better model without even having the dignity of being cleaned after its last service to its owner) also had one of these removable covers because as the rice cooks, the steam obviously rises inside the pan and basically makes a mess out of everything.
According to the manual (if I’m reading it right) this one should have some turbo magic that makes you generally only need to wipe the cover with a wet cloth instead of taking it off and washing it, so I’m curious to see how that pans out.
The inside of the pan is made out of 맥반석, being ‘Elvan’ which in turn, according to some website that I found, is ‘a Korean granite, characterized by the ability to attach to and dissolve foreign particles, bacteria, and heavy metals, neutralize toxic materials, and works deodorizing.’
Cool, I guess?
According to some people on Korean forums, it also makes your rice taste better than that of plebs without Elvan armor +2.
After that, it was time to plug this baby in.
As soon as I did, I was greeted by a robotic female voice telling me to ‘Please select your desired menu’ in the highest of 높인말 (formal speech).
This is all I need in life.
Or so I thought.
Because then when I turned the handle to lock and unlock the lid, it TOTALLY MADE A SOUND.
That is super hype.
I feel so rich even though I can’t even afford to buy new pants.
Anyway, magically the time was already set to the current time so there was thankfully nothing else for me to do but to clean it before use.
And since it has an auto cleaning feature even that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
20 minutes later, as it finished cleaning itself, it was finally time for the ultimate test: actually cooking some freaking rice.
This is a picture of my rice.
Because this is important to you.
The name of the rice brand is ‘Mom! Gimme some rice.’
After giving up on reading the manual (this thing has so many functions that I’d better ask someone to explain them to me though) (also imagine having to read law books when you can’t even read a rice cooker’s manual höhöhö) I washed my rice, filled the pot until the line and turned it on.
백미, normal white rice, would take about 35 minutes.
That seems about the same as my old rice cooker.
However I’m hoping I’ll be surprised by rice that is actually immediately edible after cooking instead of having to wait one or two hours for the rice to dry up a bit.
More as this exciting event unfolds!
10 minutes before the rice was supposed to finish the friendly robot voice told me that ‘In about 10 minutes you will be able to enjoy delicious rice’, which is totally adorable and I’m thinking basically every appliance should have something like this.
“In 10 minutes you will have fresh, clean clothes to wear!”
“In 20 seconds you can enjoy delicious hot tea!”
“In 20 seconds you will be able to uselessly browse Facebook and shitpost online for the rest of the day!”
Anyway, the actual rice looked…more like porridge than the rice I saw in that other reviewer’s picture so I’m inclined to guess I probably messed something up.
My old rice cooker’s rice looked like this too if you didn’t give it some time to settle, but it is now 1.5 hours later and it still looks exactly the same (which, I guess, does mean the ‘keeping’ function works well).
Now here comes the part where you’re like ‘wait a minute, wasn’t this supposed to be a review instead of a description of your entire life up to now and the riveting experience of cooking rice?’
I could do what that Korean reviewer did and just make up some random criteria like ‘design’ (seriously who cares, it’s a rice cooker), ‘functionality’ (it makes rice. You can eat it) and ‘rice cooking prowess’ (which I can’t comment on since I’m a stupid waygookin who even managed to mess up cooking rice and I’m never going to update this review again after using it for a while longer because I want to ensure that you get only the most Korean of experiences) but honestly…I don’t know how to rate a rice cooker. And neither do most of the people with Naver blogs.
That is, indeed, the beauty of the Korean internet.
Against my better judgement of showing you the real Korean internet I also wanted to show you that I’m not a complete retard and I did actually manage to cook my rice properly the next day.
And man did it cook well.
This rice is a work of art.