The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My New Rice Cooker

I may have made an inferior choice... There is evidence that Sanyo makes the best rice cookers in the world!

This model is much cheaper than my Zojirushi and rates very highly:

Sanyo at Amazon

However, beware of this user comment:

I was very excited to get this cooker. I've been searching for quite some time for a microprocessor-controlled rice cooker that didn't expose my food to an aluminum or teflon/silverstone cooking surface. The advertised "titanium-coated non-stick cook pot" convinced me this was going to be the closest I would get to stainless steel. Titanium should be fairly inert, I thought, I didn't know there were other kinds of non-stick coating. I was wrong. Yes, the cooker is made very well, and the cooking pot is very heavy gauge aluminum with a titanium coating. The bad news is, Sanyo chose to coat the inside of it with a "fluorine-based non-stick". AAARGH! What was the point of the titanium coating...? So it is being shipped back. So far as I know, there is only one rice cooker on the market that offers a stainless steel cooking surface, and it is little more than an enormous "crock pot" with a stainless steel pot replacing the "crock". It has neither the compact size nor wonderful features of this Sanyo, but at least one doesn't slowly poison themselves by cooking with it...

Wired magazine rates Sanyo much, much higher than Zojirushi:

And so does

All of their rice cookers

However, my problem with Sanyo is their name! All my life, I’ve associated Sanyo with cheap, shoddy products. Think about it—there has to be a good reason why the (3.5 cup) Sanyo costs $100 while the (3 cup) Zojirushi costs $130. (The MSRP comparison is even more stark, with the Sanyo costing $100 while the Zojirushi costs $165.)

As Robert Heinlein said, TANSTAAFL. (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.)


On 12/12/06 9:42 AM, Richard Eng wrote:

I could’ve bought this very similar rice cooker (for $180):

However, I chose the KCC05 for several reasons:

  1. It’s $15 cheaper.
  2. It’s made in Japan. The LAC05 is made in China. I believe made in Japan is better.
  3. It has a more familiar, traditional look. The LAC05 (with the stainless steel cladding) looks like a clock/radio with a CD player—frankly, I think it looks ugly. The KCC05 is downright cute!

I believe the LAC05 is intended for the North American market. Why do I say that?

First, its cosmetic design is a standout from the rest of the Zojirushi line. All the other rice cookers have a traditional look that suits the Far East markets. The LAC05 can be mistaken for a clock/radio at first glance, disguising its purpose—North Americans would love that.

Also, the stainless steel cladding makes it more durable. You know how North Americans just love to abuse their appliances.

Second, the instruction manual is in English only. My KCC05 manual is in four languages (English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean). Also, the instruction manual is very nicely organized and clearly written. My KCC05 manual is sloppy and requires careful reading. (Orientals don’t need no stinking manuals.)

Also, the LAC05 is a much more complex design—the manual shows all kinds of special instructions, including a variety of audio tones and even error codes! North Americans love high tech, geeky stuff like that.

Third, the design of the LAC05 is idiot-proof. It has separate functions for white/mixed rice, brown rice, sushi rice, and congee. My KCC05 has two functions, one for white/mixed/brown rice and one for congee/sushi rice. By combining the white rice function with the brown rice, the KCC05 requires some trial and error to use well—North Americans would hate that. (Brown rice requires a bit more water to be added.)

Fourth, the LAC05 is the only Zojirushi that’s made in China. Why is that? Perhaps it’s a cost issue. Or perhaps Zojirushi feels that North American consumers don’t deserve made in Japan.

Fifth, the LAC05 uses more power (450 W) compared to the KCC05’s 310 W. North Americans love high-powered gadgets! They’re such a wasteful bunch of f*cks (note their penchant for SUVs and muscle cars).

FYI, the LAC05 is a very recent model—Amazon has only 3 user reviews (since September) for it. (Also, the salesman told me so.) The KCC05 has 82 reviews (since year 2000!!). This makes my rice cooker very mature, having been field-tested for 6 years!

On 12/11/06 12:03 AM, Richard Eng wrote:

I picked up this rice cooker today at Pacific Mall:

Regular $180, I got it for the special price of $165.

Yesterday, I picked up the Hamilton Bitch toaster ($72) and the Henckels Cologne series 8” vegetable cleaver ($36) [ ].

This Xmas, it’s all kitchen stuff for me...

- Iron Chef Richard


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