19 March 2019
Modern kitchen essentials: IR food thermometer (left) and  egg yolk extractor. Photos: Bloomberg, internet
Modern kitchen essentials: IR food thermometer (left) and egg yolk extractor. Photos: Bloomberg, internet

Creative and useful kitchen gadgets you should have

IR food thermometer

We used to have different kinds of thermometers: a Japanese chopstick-like thermometer for deep-frying, a digital cooking thermometer with a single probe, and several others.

However, when my husband brought home an infrared thermometer three years ago, we fell for it right away. It’s called Sentry ST632 mini hand-held infrared (IR) thermometer; it’s quite accurate in measuring the temperature of objects over a safe distance.

And very easy to use. When I prepare salt-baked chicken, I need to first heat up the salt to 260 degrees Celsius. By clicking on the handy IR thermometer and pointing it at the salt in the wok, I would immediately know whether the heat is right.

My husband forgot the store where he bought the thermometer. Anyway, any of the kitchenware shops along Shanghai Street in Yau Ma Tei offers a model of the IR thermometer that will suit your needs.


When you have to go through a series of complicated steps in preparing a dish, or even prepare several dishes, you just cannot use your working memory only.

Let’s say you need to braise a bowl of beef brisket and tendon. First you have to cook the tendon for 90 minutes. Then keep the lid on the pot and remove the pot from the stove fire for two hours.

Add in the beef brisket, cook the mixture for another 90 minutes and again remove the pot from stove fire for several hours.

In short, a timer would be helpful, and I have plenty of those in my kitchen. One that costs HK$20 will do the trick. You need not have some fancy, branded ones.

Silicone products

More than a year ago I watched a brilliant demo of how to separate egg yolk and egg white by using a plastic bottle.

Unexpectedly I helped myself to a silicone-made Quirky Pluck egg yolk extractor during a visit to my daughter in Sydney. You may also place an order online via Amazon, which will cost you around HK$100, but I think it is worth it.

Thick, colorful and durable silicone heat-proof mats are the best companions to hot enameled cast iron pots or traditional Chinese clay pots.


The plastic spatula from Berndes, a renowned cookware brand from Germany, is the best accessory to my non-stick frying pan. Though it looks charmless with numerous holes, it can withstand heat of up to 230 degrees Celsius.

Mine is still in a very good shape after at least 10 years of use. If you see one, don’t hesitate to grab one.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 7.

Translation by Darlie Yiu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Columnist of the Hong Kong Economic Journal

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