I’ll never forget my first flat viewing in Hong Kong. After climbing 31 floors in a rickety old lift in Wan Chai, we entered our potential new home. A small side room contained nothing more than a concrete bench at knee height and an old sink on the floor. I was just thinking it would be good for storage when I heard four horrifying words:
“Here’s your new kitchen.”
My what? – Where’s the breakfast bar?
Digital scales are a must for accurately measuring out ingredients but smart scales go a step further. The MOCREO scale connects to an app which tells you the nutritional information of the foods you’re weighing as well as connecting directly to recipes. It’s perfect for health-conscious cooks and for those following niche regimes like the ketogenic diet where you need to know the makeup of the foods you’re eating. Or anyone who wants to be more in control of what they’re putting in their body.
Available online from Amazon
Sous vide cooking involves sealing food in plastic bags and cooking it in a tightly temperature-controlled water bath to a precise internal temperature. Steaks, for example, can be cooked to exactly 55C for medium-rare or 60C for medium, then finished off in a hot pan for that delicious caramelised crust. Sous vide cooking is time consuming but hands off, so it’s a great method for a busy HK schedule. You can leave your beef short ribs braising away for 72 hours then enjoy them after work. Joule is a great space-saver, fitting into a drawer when not in use. It clips onto a large pot to create a water bath from what you already have. You can control the device from your smartphone so if you have a really long and slow cook going, you can monitor it remotely, change the temperature and turn it off once the food is perfectly cooked.
Available online from Ubuy HK
Used for years by master chefs in Michelin-star restaurants requiring high-powered blending and low-temperature precision, the Thermomix is now available for home cooks but it’s not cheap! It consists of a jug with a powerful 500W motor, powering a blade that can blend, chop or stir. Use the low-temperature mode for slow cooking, sous vide or fermentation at temps below 100C, crank it up to brown onions and garlic, or use the super-sharp blade to blend smoothies, soups and fine purees. There’s also a recipe module that plugs in and gives you step-by-step instructions on the screen. Add ingredients to the bowl, which doubles as a digital scale, and the machine tells you exactly which buttons to press to make your favourite meals.
Available from Thermomix HK when you book a demo
The KitchenAid is possibly the most diverse tool for any kitchen. Apart from being one of the most powerful mixers on the market, additional accessories can turn it into a pasta machine, ice-cream maker and even a meat grinder. The retro design makes it a good fit for any well-to-do baking enthusiast. And the up-front investment on a product that will last for decades is far more economical and sustainable than buying a multitude of cheaper, disposable appliances.
Pasta-making attachment HK$1,425
Ice-cream maker attachment HK$880
Available from J Select
The powerful Vitamix upright blender is the king of food processors. It can chew up spices, nuts and seeds, or blend soups, purees and pastes to a fine consistency without the need for straining. Although it comes with a premium price tag, the machine is long lasting and you can replace the vital parts, meaning the investment should pay off in the long term. The Vitamix is perfect for those who subscribe to the work hard, play hard school of life – blend up your post-gym protein shake by day and your icy margaritas by night.
Available online from The Store Hong Kong
This handy little griddle is perfect for those who don’t have the outdoor space for a barbecue, but love those tantalising grill marks on their meat and veggies. The Cuisinart GR-4NHK heats from both sides, speeding up cooking and heating evenly. It comes with interchangeable plates for griddling, grilling or making paninis. Plus, the compact design doesn’t take up much counter space, so it’s ideal for bringing a smoky, charred flavour indoors to tiny Hong Kong kitchens.
Available from Yoho
If you’re one of those people who has to have freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee in the morning, here’s the machine for you. It does it all in one compact counter-top machine, eliminating the need for a separate grinder and brewing machine. Although it doesn’t have the most precise grinder, or the smartest, temperature-controlled brewing method, it’s a great all-rounder for those looking for a convenient, fresh and tasty daily brew.
Available online from Amazon
For fans of the highest precision in their cooking, who want their mackerel grilled to 50C, their steak to 55C and their coffee at a perfect 85C, a digital thermometer covers everything. This is what chefs use to make sure the centre of your food reaches a safe temperature. But it also takes the guesswork out of traditionally difficult to master tasks, like roasting meats and making jams, caramels and fudges. You can buy cheap commercial kitchen versions at industry stores but this Thermapen is more suited to the home kitchen with its intelligent rotating backlit display and sleek design.
Available online from Peek Concepts
Have you ever had “the fear” when leaving your slow cooker on while at work? Or had to leave impromptu after-work drinks early to get home and turn it off? The answer: a WiFi-enabled slow cooker. This smart device works like a normal slow cooker except that it connects to your smartphone allowing you to remotely monitor it, control the temperature of the food, and turn it off when the desired temperature is reached.
Available online from Amazon
Featured image courtesy of Vitamix via Instagram, image 1 courtesy of Mocreo via Amazon, image 2 courtesy of Chefsteps, image 3 courtesy of Thermomix, image 4 courtesy of Kitchen Aid, image 5 courtesy of Vitamix, image 6 courtesy of Cuisinart, image 7 courtesy of Morphy Richards via Amazon, image 8 courtesy of Thermapen, image 9 courtesy of Crock-Pot via Amazon.