Taobao product recommendation – Churros tools

Churros is surprisingly easy to make, to the point that i don’t understand how people can make a business out of selling Churros alone. The recipe is simple and idiot proof, but you do need to get the piping bag and star-shaped tip.

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All grain brewing using Taobao-bought all-in-one brewing system

Okay, to use the term “brewing system” is to give higher praise than deserved to the simple kettle plus pump i recently bought from Taobao. But basically that is all you need to do grain brewing – a kettle for mashing and boiling and a pump for sparging – the three stages involved in grain brewing.

I must begin by saying that all grain brewing is very tough back-breaking work. The mash for a 23 Litres (6 Gallons) brew is super heavy (20kg?). I’m seriously considering getting a hoist to save my back. You will have to lift the mash at least twice in the process. That said, the aroma of the mash probably makes up for the hard work. It is far superior to the stale smelling aroma you get from extract brewing.

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Taobao product recommendation – silicone cake mould

A parfait housed in a cup shape cake is like a dream, and i couldn’t resist trying my hand at making one. The major obstacle is in demoulding the cake, and i wondered if a silicone cake mould would help. In short, it works like a charm.

I made the cake using a souffle recipe, and when baked to golden brown, the cake does not stick to the silicone mould at all. Parts of the centre of the cake was not fully baked so those parts were slightly sticking to the mould, but otherwise, the cake actually developed a nice non-sticking soft crust all round. On hindsight i should have placed the mould on a rack when baking.

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Taobao product recommendation – Beer all grain brewing all-in-one kit

I’ve been brewing beer from extract since the beginning (woah it’s been almost five years just like that), and that’s probably the right place to start for beginners. It couldn’t be easier, but everyone has to progress to grain brewing at some point. The traditional method usually involves a three tier system which takes up quite a bit of space. With an all-in-one kit though, the three tiers become just one, sort of.

The Grainfather, which hails from New Zealand, is probably the first all-in-one systems in the market (apparently in 2012). Expensive (US$999), of course. Obviously, other copycat systems arrived, one of which is the Robobrew BrewZilla, from Australia. Much cheaper (US$479), but still expensive. I suppose it makes more sense to buy from the local distributor, to save the hassle of shipping, though the pricing is even higher – the Grainfather at S$1688 and BrewZilla at S$780.

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Qoo10 product recommendation – Deep fryer machine

Have always wanted to get my hands on one of these deep fryer machines. Deep frying is one of those things i used to dread because of the amount of oil used, from both the wastage and health points of view. Well, having done deep frying quite a bit by now, you could say i got used to the oil usage. Deep frying produces a texture no other cooking method can imitate (well the air-fryer comes close only for a small subset of foodstuff), so one has to incorporate it into the full arsenal of cooking techniques.

The whole idea of a deep fryer machine is to reduce the hassle of maintaining temperature and also in ensuring that everything is evenly cooked. It can also reduce the oily fumes emitted as compared to using a wok, plus it also eliminates the danger of getting hot oil splattered onto your arms. Easily justifiable purchase. Compared to Taobao, it is still quite expensive. This one on Taobao would make for a good choice actually – only 99 Yuan (S$20) for the comparable model before shipping and tax. The advantage of the Taobao product is the longish shape, so you can even fry fritters (Youtiao). Anyway, if you’re more concerned with saving space, then this Qoo10 one is still a good choice. OEM product tested and approved by Korean (pretending to be German) brand. With the use of coupon, you can get at least 10% off the price.

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Taobao shipping options 2020

A lot has changed since Taobao shopping became popular a few years ago. I would recommend doing shipping differently than before.

First up, forget about Taobao direct or consolidated shipping. It is SLOW, and relatively expensive. The air shipping could take as long as the sea shipping offered by other forwarders. Overall the shipping feels disorganized, maybe because it is handled by too many parties.

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Shopee product recommendation – Ozone air purifier

The other day i mentioned that i was going to get an Ozone air purifier for my fridge. Well, today i took delivery of the Enerfer Ozone air purifier.

I’m very pleased with both the price and the dimensions of this product. It is rather diminutive and won’t take up much of your precious fridge space. I charged it up immediately and turned it on to test if it works, and yes, it does emit Ozone. I’m pretty sure this would do a lot of good inside the fridge, to kill any undesirable “bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast and protozoa” which give rise to smell and also damage fresh produce.

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Watch out for the currency conversion fee!

I’ve not done a purchase from iHerb for a long time (or any foreign website), and i’ve forgotten about how to go about it. What i normally do is pay with the YouTrip card, since the items are denominated in USD. Well, you know that one way merchants make money is to charge you in your local currency and earn extra from the currency exchange commission as well. You will definitely end up paying more than if you chose to pay in the original currency, i.e. USD.

Now, things get worse when, not only do you pay extra in currency exchange to the merchant (iHerb), you’ll also pay a currency conversion fee to the bank (in my case Citibank 1%), when they know that they’ve lost out on earning the currency exchange! It’s double loss to you!

Ouch!

Just to share this so you’ll be careful. Definitely do all your foreign currency purchases with the YouTrip or equivalent account.

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Qoo10 Product recommendation – Egg Sitter

Okay, yet another product discovered through Facebook, and it is also yet another kickstarter project. It’s a very compelling product, but so expensive! Especially since i missed the early bird deal, which still costs S$83 per piece. So, i looked for a cheapo imatation, and lo and behold, there is the Egg Sitter.

I think this Qoo10 seller PanJa has it the cheapest at $9.90 (there are other sellers on Qoo10), with QPrime delivery (free for combined purchases of over $60). So does it really work?

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Qoo10 Product recommendation – Korean Instant Noodles

Since Chapaguri was featured in the movie Parasite, I think a substantial number of people who saw the movie would have been curious enough to actually try to procure the noodles. I suppose you can count me as one of them.

Well, not that i was desperate to try the noodles at once. Happens that i was trying to accumulate $40 worth of QPrime purchases on Qoo10 so i can take advantage of a $6 off $40 coupon discount, so i thought this was a good opportunity to try the noodles. I chose the Chapaghetti variant, which is essentially the instant noodle version of Jjajangmyeon.

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