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Zihaiguo self-heating claypot rice review: Hot stuff

Zihaiguo self-heating claypot rice review: Hot stuff

The Zihaiguo (自嗨锅) series of self-heating instant food products has been incredibly popular on the Chinese internet. Today, we look at three Zihaiguo self-heating claypot rice items from the company, which is based in Chongqing, China. They are the Chinese sausage (广式香肠煲仔饭), pork belly with mustard greens (梅菜扣肉煲仔饭), and Taiwan-style braised pork (台式卤肉煲仔饭).

Quick bites

  • Self-heating pack included
  • 95g of uncooked rice and 102g of water in each package
  • 20 mins cook time

Packaging: Each Zihaiguo is a large bowl filled with many separate packets. According to the external packaging, the nett weight is 260g, which includes the rice, meat/vegetables, sauce, and a packet of purified water. Depending on the flavour you've chosen, the ingredients will differ. However, what does not change is the 95g of uncooked rice, and 102g of pure water. Also found in the packaging is a self-heating pack to cook the meal.

There's more preparation compared to making instant noodles.
Credit: John Chan/Can Buy or Not

Preparation: Getting the meal ready takes about 20 minutes — 5 minutes to prepare, and 15 minutes to cook. You first pour the uncooked rice, meat/vegetables, and pack of purified water into an internal food bowl. Put the self-heating pack at the bottom of the large external bowl, fill water to a specified line, set the bowl with the mixed ingredients back inside, and cover it with the lid. A small slit in the lid allows steam to escape as the water boils to cook the food. After 15 minutes, pour in the claypot rice sauce, and mix well.

Taste: With such a short cooking time, I was wary that the rice may be undercooked. However, it was not, and came out soft and very edible. Now, there's no way it will get the slightly charred flavour from a real claypot, nor rival the fluffiness of rice from a rice cooker, but for an instant meal, the rice was good. The Chinese sausage menu came with a generous serving of sliced lupcheong, and was flavourful with the sauce. My favourite was the pork belly with mustard greens. The thin slices of pork and preserved vegetables (tender and not too fibrous) made for an appetizing meal. The Taiwan-style braised pork rice had a good serving of mushrooms and tasted good, but I found it much more oily than the other two. Portion-wise, each Zihaiguo gives you about a big rice bowl's worth of food. 

Chinese sausage flavour. Credit: John Chan/Can Buy or Not

The Zihaiguo self-heating claypot rice series fully deserves its “internet popular” (网红) status. It's a good option for picnics or an instant meal at home, especially if you are sick of instant noodles. I found it on Shopee for as low as S$4.50.

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Quick fix claypot rice.

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