There are several small appliances missing in our kitchen owing to a lack of space, but I'm making room for one I've missed since relocating to Hong Kong: a slow cooker.
With our busy lives we often return home with little energy for cooking, especially in the heat of summer, which drains us so much all we can do is pour a glass of water and be glad for it. But eat you must, so I started thinking about ways to improve our eating habits, and that's when I remembered the venerable crock pot, which with a bit of preparation does all the work, allowing you to come home to a meal that's ready to eat and nutritious to boot.
The only problem was finding a slow cooker. Sure, today's multi-function rice cookers can be used as slow cookers, for Chinese soups and congee and the like, but I wasn't convinced they would be ideal for stews or other western foods that might take up to nine hours to cook on low heat. The last thing I want is to come home to find the house on fire.
But as I searched the usual stores I found hardly anyone carried a proper slow cooker; the only one I located was a cheap-looking Panasonic unit that hardly inspired confidence. So I went online to search, finding little until I stumbled onto one made by German Pool. The unit looked fantastic and the site had lots of information in both Chinese and English. It also offered free delivery, which was great as the 6.5L model weighs in at 5.5kg.
Even more impressive was the service: after I was unable to complete my order owing to my inability to recall my Verified by Visa password (I rarely use Visa online, and the site did not accept Amex), the web site administrator e-mailed me from my customer profile and offered a direct payment option through my bank. She also personally coordinated the delivery details, making sure the driver would know how to find the house.
Now that's a company that deserves my business; if it's that serious about creating a satisfying purchase experience, its after-sales service is likely to be quite good (should I ever need it).
In a couple of days our new slow cooker will arrive, so now I have some serious recipe research to do.