The Zojirushi NP-GD05 is the rice cooker that I personally use. It is a Japanese rice cooker in all senses of the word. It is made by Zojirushi, a Japanese electronics manufacturer, in Japan and the buttons on the machine are in Japanese. As you may be able to tell, I live in Japan. The only non-Japanese thing involved is me!
Look at the two pictures above, they show the NP-GD05 and the NP-GBC05. The do look slightly different but most of this is down to the size and the angle of the images. The only technical differences that I am aware of is that the NP-GD05 that I own has a retractable power cord while if you buy a Zojirushi NP-GBC05 it will have a detachable power cable. They are both 3 cup rice cookers which is the smallest size that Zojirushi produce.
This is the third Zojirushi rice cooker that I have owned and it is by far the best. My previous machines have both been Micom models and as far as I was concerned they were great. But now that I have an Induction Heating System rice cooker it is clear that they do make better rice. I have been making jambalaya style dishes every night this week as well as plain white rice in the morning. I also tried making steel cut oats for breakfast one morning. Unfortunately I am not sure if I got my measurements correct and a tiny bit bubbled through the inner lid. Not enough to come out the steam vent but I have not tried it since.
The cooking time is certainly longer than my previous Zojirushi machines. However, assuming my Japanese is not letting me down, I think the instruction manual says that the “sitting time” is included in the total time it takes to prepare the rice. In previous models that I had, once the rice had finished cooking, leaving it for an extra ten minutes or so on the keep warm setting made it become easier to scoop out the machine.
One feature I love about the NP-GD05 which all the Zojirushi rice cookers sold in the U.S. and Canada now have is the detachable inner lid. Not only does it make it much easier to clean thoroughly after use but also the rice cooker does not close without the inner lid being correctly re-seated. This means there is no danger of starting your rice cooking but forgetting to replace the inner lid.
My machine cost about 15,000 yen. This is roughly $150 (U.S.) Even if it cost me double this it would still be a worthwhile purchase. That said, if it was double the price I might not have taken the risk.
Living in Japan, I often eat out with costs about 1,000 yen per evening meal. It can cost much more than this depending upon where you go, but for this amount you can get a decent, healthy set meal. But with my new Zojirushi NP-GD05 I am eating at home much more often. Of course I have to buy the rice and other foods but cooking myself probably costs about half as much as eating out. Therefore within a couple of months I will have made back the initial cost of the rice cooker. And over the course of a year it will be saving me plenty of money.
When you look at the Zojirushi Induction Heating range including the NP-HTC10, NP-HTC18, NP-GBC05, NP-HBC10, HP-HBC18, NP-KAC10 and NP-KAC18 the initial cost can be a bit frightening. But it really depends upon how often you think you will use your rice cooker. If you want to eat rice at least 3 or 4 times a week, then it may be worth your while to consider one of these premium Zojirushi rice cooker models. The rice does taste better.
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