Best of China’s Gadgets: Kitchen Toys to Put in Storage

The kitchen can be a crazy and unpredictable place. For every mean, lean, grilling machine there is usually a sticky waffle maker forgotten and stuffed behind the toaster. While the fruit blender is used every morning by mom, there is a popsicle maker bought for the kids now gathering dust in the attic. When it comes to kitchen appliances, China is
no different.

0914_shopping_1Bean Sprout Maker
Cost: RMB 100 – 500

Wonders may never cease, and entertainment is never far when you buy one of many brand name bean sprout makers. In all practical means this modern wonder brings the joys of watching grass grow into the comforts of your own home.

In just three days, watch beans sprout on the kitchen counter, or don’t watch them and still feel safe that they will sprout anyway. And that’s just the point. Evidently, China’s sprouts are full of hormones, fertilizers and antibiotics, which make them look lush and fresh for the purchase, but poisonous to digest.




0914_shopping_2Medicine Maker
Cost: RMB 200 – 300

Disguised as a kettle, this appliance allows you to turn the smallest of kitchens into full blown pharmacies. All you need to do is collect the ingredients prescribed and boil them together in the kettle.

Before, you would have to stand over as the medicine cooked to make sure it did not boil over. With the medicine maker you are free to go do whatever you like as the medicine is prepared.

The medicine maker is a common sight in the many pharmacies around the city. The pharmacists use them to offer a service to customers, allowing them to prepare the medicines they have bought at the pharmacy free of charge.

The appliance is less likely to be seen in the home, but still many use it to make DIY medicine. You are more likely to boil some odd tasting tea than discover penicillin, but at least the medicine maker will appease your Chinese friends, who always insist you try every single traditional remedy the moment you sneeze, cough, or hiccup.

0914_shopping-3Yoghurt And Rice Wine Maker
Cost: RMB 150 – 250

By either mixing whole milk with leftover yoghurts or packets of yoghurt starter in this appliance, you can enjoy your favorite flavors. Leave the mix for eight to ten hours and when you come back you will have your very own yoghurt.

The yoghurt maker, however, is not an exact science. Often, the yoghurt turns out more sour than expected. But that is the price you pay for playing God.

The appliance can also be used to make rice wine. Replace heated milk with raw rice and yoghurt with yeast. At thirty hours, it takes longer to make than the yoghurt, but you will need that time to recover from the hangover that the last batch gave you.

If you are an aspiring bootlegger, the rice wine maker is for you. It is not as if you could make anything worse than what they sell in the shops. If any of your friends or family goes blind from drinking your rice wine, however, you did not hear about maker from us.

0914_shopping_4Soy Milk Maker
Cost: RMB 150 – 200

During the Ming Dynasty, soy milk was made by poor farm girls, who ground soy beans together in a stone mill. The girls would spend whole days pushing the mill round and round, slowly crushing the beans into milk.

Nowadays, the soy milk maker means it is a lot easier to make dairy milk’s underrated cousin. The appliance works much like a fruit blender. Put in the soy beans and water to be blended. It also boils, so by the time it is finished you have hot soy milk ready to drink.

So just sit back and relax as the milk boils and be thankful you did not grow up as a girl on a farm during the Ming Dynasty.


0914_shopping_5Egg Poaching Machine
Cost: RMB 50 – 100

Resembling an astronaut’s helmet more than a kitchen appliance, the egg poaching machine manages to look both futuristic and retro, like an episode of The Jetsons or the movie Tron.

Just pop your eggs into the sphere shaped machine and turn it on. The appliance can poach six eggs at a time, so unless you are part of an unusually large family or have an unhealthy appetite for eggs, the machine is not particularly effable.

While the egg poaching machine can still be found in kitchens across China, the appliance is less popular than it once was. Probably because people realised that poaching an egg was never really that difficult to begin with.