A humble rice cooker from Taiwan tries to conquer the world
Nov. 25 2013
Ever hear of Tatung? The Taiwanese company used to make steel but in 1960 started selling rice cookers that to this day accounts for 95% of all rice cooker sales on the island.
And now it wants to conquer the rest of the world.
What’s so special about a rice cooker? This one is multitalented. It also steams dumplings and simmers stews, making it a must-have gadget in a land where many women continue working after marriage. And where steamed, meat-filled buns are a specialty.
The rice cooker has a unique double-layer construction that cooks indirectly. Indirect heating is said to preservenutritional value; it also helps to prevent overcooking.
An outer pot holds and boils water, which heats food in an inner pot. When the water in the first chamber evaporates, the device shuts itself off, keeping the ingredients in the second chamber at a warm 70 C. According to a Tatung representative, the cooker steams rice more evenly than other cookers.
Tatung’s electric cooker is especially good for reheating steamed dumplings and similar dishes because it tends to preservethe original flavor and texture, which are often lost when reheated in a microwave or convection oven.
Tatung introduced the cooker more than half a century (50 years) ago because it wanted to sell more steel.
Tatung had a technical alliance (partnership) with Toshiba back then and got its inspiration for the rice cooker’s design from its Japanese partner.
The current best-selling rice cooker at a mass-retailer in Taipei is a 4-liter Tatung that sells for around 2,330 New Taiwan dollars (about US$78). It is available in green, pink or other colors.
According to the store manager, the shop sells around 100 of these devices per month. Newlyweds are big fans. It is also a must-have among students and business people heading abroad.
multitalented – adjective – have many talents.
must-have – adjective – something you need to have.
evaporate – verb – to change from a liquid or solid state into vapor.
preserve – verb – to keep
newlyweds – noun – A couple that are just married. Newly married.
overcooking – we use the word over as a prefix that means too much. Over is often used with verbs or gerunds (verbs with ~ing endings that act as nouns)
“I like working.” Working is a gerund, in this sentence it acts as a noun.
overcooking = cooking too much (this is a noun)
overcooked = cooked too much (this is an adjective)
overwork = work too much
overeating = eating too much (this is a noun)
overdo = do too much
*overlook = fail to notice – “You seem to have overlookedone important fact.”