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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Korean pan keeps cooks Happy

A versatile pressure pan is winning fans. Happy Call heats up quickly and can be flipped to cook on two sides
The Sunday Times - February 19, 2012
By: Eunice Quek
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Korean pan keeps cooks Happy Avid home cooks Louisa Loh and Pauline Wong swear by the Happy Call Pan. -- PHOTOS: MIKE LEE FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

A new pan is cooking up a storm with home cooks here.

The Happy Call pressure pan, which is made in Korea, has caught on with avid cooks in Singapore.

Since last year, the pan has been winning ardent fans, who proclaim it a multiple-purpose wonder because it can cook everything from stews to fried dishes, and it can even bake on a stove top.

The selling point of the lidded pan is its versatility. It is double-sided and has a magnetic lock so that, when closed, it can be flipped to cook on both sides.

Housewife Pauline Wong bought her first Happy Call pan six months ago and is now a devotee of the utensil. Two Happy Call pans of different sizes sit on her stove and her other pots and pans have gone into storage. The mother of two uses her new gadgets every day.

Says Ms Wong, 39: 'My neighbour was raving about it and when I saw the food she cooked, I had to buy it. My vegetables are juicier, fish is moist and I cook with less oil too. I never imagined it would be so easy to use.

'Even my mother was impressed when I cooked muah chee, glutinous rice paste with ground peanuts, in five minutes. It used to take me more than an hour labouring at the stove.'

Manufacturer Happy Call claims that the ceramic coating and pressure cooking technology of the pan result in better heat conduction so that the non-stick pan heats up quickly and uses less gas.

The pan comes in two models. The standard red pan (with two sizes) weighs at least 1.5kg while the brown Ocher deep pan weighs 1.9kg.

Devotees are certainly buying into the hype even though the pan is available only online at shopping websites such as Gmarket and Lejel Home Shopping.

Prices of the pan start from about $62.90 (including shipping charges) and may vary depending on the seller.

The sellers online have reported brisk business from Singaporean customers so far, some selling up to 'a few hundred' pans a month.

Despite the inconvenience of having to wait for shipments, the pan's popularity can be seen in at least eight Facebook groups and blogs that have sprung up in Singapore for users to share recipes and pictures of dishes.

There are also step-by-step cooking videos on YouTube in which home cooks have whipped up everything from baked pineapple tarts to pandan cake.

The pan is not perfect, of course. Some cooks have complained that hot gravy can spill out of a vent at the back of the pan.

And if you intend to bake with the pan, be prepared to experiment with recipes.

Ms Louisa Loh, 37, an account director at a media company, who uses the pan to bake, says: 'I was amazed that the pan can be used for baking, though, for a serious baker, using the oven may still be better as it allows for more even distribution of the heat.'

It is also necessary to keep a close watch to ensure that the food does not burn when baking or cooking.

A check at supermarkets and department stores showed that sales staff were aware of the pan's existence as they have received many requests for it.

Although the retailers do not carry the Happy Call line, they do have similar products. Robinsons Department Store in The CentrePoint carries the Seshin Queensense Jest Twin Pan which is also manufactured in Korea. It retails at $96.

During a two-week-long promotion period which ended last Wednesday, FairPrice Xtra outlets at Jurong Point, Ang Mo Kio Hub, nex and Hougang Point carried a line of similar cookware called Song Cooking. The pan is owned by Song-Cho, a subsidiary of the Buffalo brand of kitchen equipment.

Unlike the Happy Call pans, those from Song Cooking can be used on induction stoves. Limited stock of the pans, priced at $59.90, is available at the outlets.

According to Mr John Wee, marketing director of Song-Cho, the company is still trying out the product.

He says: 'We brought in a limited number and at least half the batch has been sold. People are familiar with the Happy Call pan brand now and so they are curious about similar products. If it's successful, we may consider bringing in products of better quality.'

For mother of two Rafidah Amir, 38, an information administrator, the pan has encouraged her to cook more often.

She says: 'Before getting the pan, I cooked only on weekends. Now, I cook more often and have made cakes, brownies and even some kueh. I find recipes on the Internet and test them out with the pan. So far, they have been successful and my sisters also decided to buy the pan.'



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