I love cooking, grilling, and eating- always have and always will. That isn’t to say I am a great cook by any means, but I do enjoy it. Lately I have seen a swath of awesome kitchen gadgets around, and I am working on getting as many of them as possible into my home. Everything from electronic cold brew coffee makers to sous vide cookers and robotic grill cleaners are on my wish list, and this interesting new fusion cooker from Tatung is the latest object of my desire.
“What makes it so special?” One might ask. At first glance, it looks like a rice cooker (and it can cook rice) but what sets this apart from any other common kitchen device? The main claim of genius from Tatung lies in the quality of materials used and the design that extends the utility beyond a single-use object, to a multi-purpose tool.
Right off the bat, this thing looks ultra-modern. The sleek, clean look is quite attractive and unlike many other kitchen appliances. In fact, the aesthetics were appealing enough to snag Tatung a 2016 iF Design Award for their first fusion cooker model. I love the lines on the unit, and the white and black pattern with glowing blue light are reminiscent of the little robot EVE from Disney’s WALL-E movie.
More on a utility note the cooking containers are hot-swappable, with your options being a 9” grilling pan and a 2.8 Qt pot/baking bowl, heated via an 800W internal electric conductor. The key to the speedy work from the fusion cooker comes from the material of the surfaces, which is aluminum with a non-stick coating. This combination conducts heat extremely well, and drastically reduces the cook time when compared to a regular pot or frying pan. When the metal lid is closed, the heat circulates evenly and quickly due to the airtight “Power Seal” design. This is not quite as quick as a pressure cooker, however it does allow for a much quicker cook time over a regular pot or pan by trapping in moisture and maintaining a constant temperature.
By using the “Cook” setting, you can choose between heat intensity settings 1-5, with a timer that goes up to 12 hours 59 minutes. This is not a pressurized environment like a pressure cooker, however by sealing in all the liquids naturally occurring in raw food and maintaining a steady cook temperature, the Tatung is able to crank out juicy food in a super short time. Think of this mode as a cross between a crockpot and a pressure cooker. The “waterless” part comes from the common use for steaming veggies or chicken, for a healthier meal. Generally you would use water in the process to create the steam, however because the airtight seal traps the juices from the food itself you don’t need to add water to get the same level of moisture in food.
While most people would just bake a cake in a regular oven, if you wanted to you could use the “Bake” setting to whip up a batch of brownies or some other delicious baked good on the countertop, in a non-stick container that could also be placed directly into the fridge. This isn’t a huge draw for me, since I do already have an oven and I don’t bake much, however I can see how this would be a good alternative to heating up the whole house for one baking job.
The “Grill” setting has 8 temperature settings ranging from 140°- 445°, which is a pretty decent set of options for a lightweight unit like this. This setting is where Tatung recommends their grilling surface, which has a specific design to keep the meat away from the fat runnings, similar to a George Foreman grill. The raised ridges and indented collection groove drive the fat out, while still cooking evenly with the heat reverberating off the sides and lid of the container 2-1/4” deep pan. I was able to get some nice grill marks on my steak, and it was done in much shorter time than one on the gas grill. While this is a slick feature, I myself won’t be ditching my backyard BBQs anytime soon.
The “Soup” setting is a timer setting that is designed to get liquids hot, and keep them there. The timer can also go up to 12 hours and 59 minutes, which should be plenty long enough for any warming soup you have going in the winter months. I myself like this option for something else..fondue! I love melted cheese and this is a pretty classy-looking device keeps the cheese melt-y and delicious longer than I can sit at the table. The best part of this is how easy it is to wipe up after- no hardened cheese crusted on, the slick surface stands up to the worst I could throw at it.
Personally, one of the best features on a cooking item is the ease of cleanup. I love drinking fresh-pressed juice, but cleaning out the grates is such a pain that I hardly make it anymore. The difference between an awesome gadget that you use all the time and a one-off that gets shoved in the pantry is the practicality. This is one area that Tatung excels at, and one of their key benefits. After I cooked a meal in the grilling pan I simply rinsed off the oils and grease with water and a sponge (soft side only). No scrubbing, just simple wiping. To see how good the surface was I also left some meat juices on for a day or two, to get dried and hardened. Much to my surprise, again I was able to wipe the surface clean without any scrubbing, which goes a long way to the credibility of Tatung’s non-stick coating.
The end of the year is a great time for discovering legitimately cool tech for the home, and my treasure hunt through the Newegg product pages has just begun. Stay tuned for more awesome devices that take your kitchen game to the next level.
Featured in this article:
Tatung Fusion Cooker- $169