Recently over dinner, Melissa was asked how she cooks in Korea. Thinking further on this, Melissa has opted to share with readers her top 5 investments for an expat kitchen for those with a little gourmet chef coursing through their veins.
5. Rice Cooker - Although rice is not entirely difficult to make on the stove top, having a rice cooker is phenomenal! This appliance however is more phenomenal if you can purchase one when another expat is returning home, that way you receive ultimate savings on a not-too-essential appliance (unless of course you eat rice daily). The Harrington's nabbed their rice cooker for a measly 5,000 won and have enjoyed meals such as curry and stir-fry with much greater ease. (pictured top right)
4. Electric Food Processor/Immersion Blender/Whisk - Blender's and food processors are most definitely available at E-Mart, Homeplus etc. For the Harrington Chef however, the multi-attachment food processor, immersion blender and whisk which come with plastic measuring container, are well worth the 35,000 won necessary to purchase this contraption new. Melissa picked hers up at Home Plus. (pictured center)
3. Electric Tea Kettle - Again, as rice is doable on stove top, an electric kettle is by no means an absolute must. However, as a tea drinker Melissa has not gone one day in the 13 months she's lived in Korea without boiling a pot of water. Useful not only for drinks but for cleaning baked on grime, beer bottles, etc. boiling water is often a requirement. The Harrington's purchased a Philips brand kettle per advice of their dear friends and have been ever pleased with the 40,000 won investment from Hi-Mart ever since. (not pictured)
2. Oven - Some may be surprised to see the oven at number two, even Melissa is not entirely convinced this is the appropriate placement of the beloved little beast, however, for now, number two is an oven. If you ever want to enjoy banana bread, fresh hot cookies, lasagna, etc you ought to buckle down and purchase an oven. The task is made much more enjoyable and affordable when done via GMarket. The Harrington's have been happily using their oven to bake for the happy, approximate value of 55,000 won...you can check out their model here. (pictured bottom left).
1. Slow-cooker - By far, the most versatile and useful appliance in the Harrington Kitchen is none-other than a slow cooker picked up for 40,000 (possibly 50,000) at Costco. The slow-cooker makes so many cooking feats possible: large soups for crowds, spiced cider for a crowd, mashed potatoes for holiday meals, whole chickens and pork loins, dry beans and even sweet dishes like Apple Crisp and Banana Bread if you're daring can be pulled off in a slow-cooker. If you happen to live near a Beautiful Store (there are many), they occasionally carry old models, that appear to have never been used, for a sweet price of 15,000. (pictured top left)
Additionally, she recommends going all out and getting the glass measuring cups, especially if you envision measuring hot liquids...ever. But, they are far from necessary.
If you love cooking yet feel intimidated by your tiny Korean kitchen, consider one, two or five of the above appliances and you'll be cooking in no time!