When it comes to cooking meat, conventional methods are difficult to master, since, with conventional sources of heat, you can easily overcook areas near the surface while the inside remains undercooked. Sous vide (pronounced soo-veed) attempts to solve this problem. Until recently, Sous Vide equipment was mostly priced out of reach of the general public. I still remember reading an article about an immersion circulator on engadget, but didn’t find out exactly what it was about back then, though it actually felt significant to me (so much so that i remember it). Anyway, this was the article, way back in 2012. Now that i got more serious about cooking, i thought i should give Sous Vide a try, since it supposedly makes restaurant quality food attainable easily.
So how much does the Sous Vide equipment cost? The cheapest Sous Vide equipment comes in the form of a temperature controller that you have to use in tandem with a crock pot. I got a temperature controller on Taobao for 40 Yuan (S$8.70) and it is currently on shipment from China. OR, you can get an immersion circulator, which are US$179 – 199. Unfortunately, for those of us on a 230V grid, the options are quite limited. Nomiku has an unknown shipping date. There is only one other viable option (that doesn’t break the bank) – the Anova Precision Cooker. The 220V version is almost always in stock. They do ship worldwide as well, though someone mentions that the shipping cost to Singapore was something like $69 (either S$ or US$).
To save on the shipping cost, i thought i had better bring home the Anova Precision Cooker myself, since i was going on a trip to the US last year. I had it sent to my friend’s home in the US (free shipping within US). Around this time last year, Anova was having a spring time sale, offering a US$15 discount, so i got the 220V unit at US$214. Well, for more than half a year, i was lazy and just let it collect dust. I finally unpacked it last week to give it a spin. And it broke down on the very first time i had it fired up! I hadn’t even started cooking, and the display went off and wouldn’t power up again. I can’t exactly describe in words how i felt at that moment when a S$300 kit turned into junk.
Anyway, i contacted Anova support, and they would send me a replacement unit (i suspect there is a significantly high failure rate). I did ask if they could send it to Singapore but didn’t get an answer on that, so i suppose they wouldn’t. So, i furnished them with my 65daigou forwarding address instead, and they happily sent the unit.
With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better for me to just wait until now to buy the darn thing, or not buy it at all. It is now priced at US$179 (they’re trying to clear stock for the Bluetooth version). The difference in price ($214 – $179 = US$35 = S$50) is enough for me to ship 3 units! For your info, 65daigou quoted the weight as 1.97kg, which costs only S$3.99 X 4 = S$15.96 to ship. If you apply the coupon code “65APP15” (case sensitive), you get 15% off. Anyway, the shipping cost is still quite low even without the 15% off, probably much lower than what Anova charges to ship to Singapore.
I am pretty sure that, other than the Anova looking “cool”, there is no difference if you used a temperature controller and crock pot combination to do Sous Vide instead. If you’re itching to buy the Anova, i would advice you to think again. It is really nothing more than an electrical heater with some circulating mechanism. I doubt the circulation (which is absent in a crock pot save for convection currents) makes much difference. Anyway, I will find out soon enough when i receive both my temperature controller and the replacement Anova Precision Cooker.
The Anova precision cooker with UK plug, next to the faulty unit
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