Best Asian Rice Cookers – Japan Wins

Early rice cookers originated in Asia, where they soon caught on. More recently, they found their way into Western kitchens. Westerners now demand the highest quality from our rice cookers. As the best rice cookers are made in the Far East, I’ve tried to find the best Asian Rice Cooker.

Iwachu Gohan Nabe Rice Cooker Review

This rice cooker is a chic and charming take on a traditional model. It’s almost wholly made of ceramic, and unlike electric cookers, doesn’t have an on/off switch or timer. You need to place this cooker over a gas flame and check when the rice is ready. With a capacity of somewhere between one and one and a half cups, it’s marketed mainly at single people. It is relatively feature-free compared to some of the flashier models, but if you enjoy simplicity and tradition, this rice cooker will surely delight you.

What to Love and What Not to Love about It

The Gohan Nabe looks great – it is unassumingly classy. If you like to invite friends over for dinner, it will make a guaranteed talking point. Be aware that it is quite small – the manufacturer claims that it will feed up to two people, but with its limited capacity you don’t want to risk over-filling it.

For all its charm, this probably isn’t the right cooker for extremely busy people. You can’t just leave it alone – you need to control the gas yourself. That said, the ceramic is easy to clean later on.

Weking 3L Rice Cooker Review

This Weking rice cooker is a safe and reliable option for large families. It has a capacity of 3 liters, or approx 12 cooked cups, and is of the one-button-to-control-them-all variety. It has a sturdy, solid body, fixed lid and comes with a power cord. All in all, it’s a pretty standard, no-nonsense rice cooker that you’ll be able to use time and again with great results. It has 12 pre-set programs for several types of rice and comes with a one-touch button for other dishes.

What’s Good about It and What’s Not

This rice cooker is all about practicality and functionality. It’s ideal for those with families, who typically don’t have time to hover around waiting for the rice to be cooked. The warming function means you don’t need to worry about delays between cooking and eating either. Furthermore, the non-stick pan makes it about as easy as possible to clean. If you are a busy person, this rice cooker is your friend.

The downside to this rice cooker is that there are hardly any reviews on it so it’s a little hard to judge the sustainability of this appliance.

Zojirushi NP-HCC10XH Rice Cooker Review

This rice cooker is at the high end of the high end – designed with an emphasis on convenience. It is a rice cooker and warmer, but also comes with a whole range of other settings, such as reheat, congee, slow cook and various rice texture settings. Two of its settings are major selling points – the extended keep warm function to keep it at the perfect serving temperature, and the GABA setting for brown rice – a cooking method which helps to maintain the health benefits of brown rice. It has a 5.5 cups capacity and an LCD control panel with clock and timer.

Why You Might and Might Not Love It

There is a lot to love about this Zojirushi machine. It offers you many more possibilities for getting the most out of your rice when compared with many other machines. Whether you’re cooking a small portion of basmati, or a large amount of brown rice, you can simply hit a button and the rice cooker will do the rest. Not only that, but it will keep it warm for you – great for family members who don’t eat at the same time.

It’s difficult to find negatives about it, the only thing some people complained about was the keep-warm function after using it for 12 or more hours. You can read some of the reviews here yourself to make a better-informed decision if the keep-warm function is essential for you. The majority of buyers are very satisfied with it though, based on the amount of 5-star ratings it received.

Tiger Rice Cooker JBA-T18U-WU Review

A good choice for families is this Tiger rice cooker. It is designed to feed five or six people, with a capacity of 10 cups. The machine itself is unassuming and doesn’t take up too much room for its size. It has a number of useful settings for preparing a large number of meals. These include the slow cooker function, quick cooking function, congee, and steamed rice functions, along with the standard settings. The inner cooking pot is 1.4mm thick and rounded.

The Pros and Cons of this Rice Cooker

This rice cooker is simple is design and high in functionality. Its modest appearance belies its wealth of different functions. This is the type of rice cooker that plenty of people will actually use to cook everything but rice – it’s a great appliance for cooking stews, casseroles, hot pots and well as for slow-cooking joints of meat. You can even use the steam function to cook your own dim sum or steamed vegetables.

It isn’t the rice cooker with the largest number of timer functions. Most of its functionality comes from its cooking options although it has 2-delay time settings which is still sufficient for most users.

Hitachi RZ-VS2M-N Rice Cooker Review

If you’re looking for a simple rice cooker, you could do much worse than taking a look at this model by Hitachi. It has a capacity of 0.36 liter, so it’s perfect for singles or couples, depending on how hungry you are. It’s possible to make soups and sauces to use with other dishes, too.

What’s to Like or Loathe about It?

If you want flexibility over how you cook your rice, and which types of rice you can cook easily, this is a great option. Rather than plumping for a high-end model and only ever using a fraction of its functions, you can get the most out of this simple model. It isn’t highly programmable, but it is flexible. The fact that it comes with a portable iron pot is a big bonus, too – apart from giving you the chance to steam your rice, you can also use it to cook vegetables and other dishes.

The downside of this cooker is that it’s meant for Japan and thus the power supply voltage is 100V, still, we didn’t want to leave it out of our list of the best rice cookers from Japan, and Asia a while, we specifically mention Japan because we all know Japan stands for high-quality products.

Some Final Words

These five rice cookers represent the best of the ranges available – from the simple and traditional, to the highly functional, top of the range models. It’s definitely worth figuring out exactly how you intend to use your rice cooker before choosing one. Once you’ve done that, you won’t be disappointed.

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