Foodie gift guide: Asian candy, porcelain pots, & rice cookers

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H&L Asian Market in North Chuck is an emporium of wonder. It's a former grocery store that's been converted into an Asian specialty store with seafood, fresh produce, and aisles and aisles of fascinating products. They have big bags of MSG, gluten, and dried anchovies. They have an entire lane of candy, from Pocky Sticks to Happy Panda. And they have utensils, cookers, and sake sets.

If you've got a foodie on your list, there are plenty of great items to be had (cheap) at H&L like the Kangshu porcelain pot, which can go in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the microwave. As they so eloquently put it on the box: "It can be used on yas [sic] stoves, electric stoves and in microwaves and infrared ray stoves and so on."

The Kangshu cooker for $12.99 at H&L
  • The Kangshu cooker for $12.99 at H&L

Porcelain pots (called donabe) are able to withstand high heats (up to 400ºC, which is like 700ºF) and conduct heat uniformly. My friend has a beautiful Colombian bean pot that he brings with him when we get our families together for dinner. I quickly became a believer in clay pot cooking after eating his Mexican rice.

Braising meats and slow cooking foods in porcelain and clay pots is an ancient technique, and if you've got an avid cook on your Christmas list, the Kangshu pot is a great find. Plus, it's only $12.99.

I also think a rice cooker is a great gift idea. They have a wide variety of H&L, ranging from $20 to $120. Throw in a couple of rice bowls and fancy chopsticks, and you've got yourself a very cool gift.

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