Oil separator / cooker

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When I entered the Airbnb where I'm now staying, one of the first things that caught my attention was the following utensil:

There were many puzzling aspects to this device.  First of all, I couldn't tell whether it was an oil separator or an oil cooker, or both.  Second, I wasn't sure what the primary language of the writing was, Japanese or Chinese — there are elements of both (cf. this recent Language Log post).  Couldn't tell where it was made either, China or Japan, I guess more likely the former.  Then there was the bizarre English: 



And mysterious notes like this:  WITH THE DISHES

After pondering the last item for quite some time, I decided that this kitchen gadget must be a bonus item that came with a set of dishes (M. mǐn / J. sara 皿).  They were probably giving them away because nobody knew what to do with them.

Selected readings

[Thanks to Zihan Guo]


  1. Cervantes said,

    July 25, 2023 @ 12:38 pm

    I can't explain the weird inscriptions, but from the picture it appears to be for straining your deep fry oil. Dunno if that helps.

  2. rpsms said,

    July 25, 2023 @ 12:42 pm

    This exact device is on alibaba and the listing (or one of them) has a detailed breakdown of what it is, which is oil storage. One would pour the oil into a pan for frying etc. and then pour it back into this container for storage and reuse.

    "With the dishes" might be a rendering of "dishwasher safe" or "easy to clean"? Might it refer to the metal base depicted in the last two photos?

  3. rpsms said,

    July 25, 2023 @ 12:44 pm

    For the product link, do a google image search using "flourine resin processing oil separator"

  4. Y said,

    July 25, 2023 @ 1:04 pm

    There's also the ornate script writing at the top, "Oil Eol".

  5. Victor Mair said,

    July 25, 2023 @ 1:18 pm

    From Taiwan:


    If you google "隔油神壺" and click "image", you will see a slew of such devices

  6. Jim Breen said,

    July 26, 2023 @ 12:39 am

    What is エコ・ルイコート? I assume エコ is eco- but ルイコート?

  7. Dara and Yuko Connolly said,

    July 26, 2023 @ 4:33 pm

    It's a mistake for エコ・ハイコート. The manufacturers of the product in your Airbnb attempted to copy the Japanese text from another product but made some errors of substituting characters with similar appearance. My wife who is a native Japanese speaker did some detective work and found the product with the original Japanese text (ハイコート instead of ルイコート, さっと instead of けッと).

    She also suggests that "Oil Cooker" may be an error for "Oil Cooler"


  8. Dara and Yuko Connolly said,

    July 26, 2023 @ 4:54 pm

    My wife did some detective work and found a product with the correct Japanese text from which this Japanese was incorrectly copied. The errors are based on substituting characters of similar appearance (for example ルイコート for ハイコート). Another error is けッと for サッと.


  9. Jim Breen said,

    July 27, 2023 @ 5:09 am

    Thanks for explaining the エコハイコート/エコ・ハイコート original form. I see that gets a few Google hits for cookware and I assume it's a typical 和製英語 construction for "eco-high-coat". I'm not sure what it actually means.

  10. Fry Cook said,

    July 27, 2023 @ 6:41 pm

    “FLUORINE RESIN PROCESSING” stands out and seems possibly dual-purpose:

    Implied functionality: On one hand, the contraption seems described as non-stick in a roundabout way (everyone knows non-stick surfaces contain fluorine, right?), so the oil leaves the surface nicely and does not adhere to or impregnate the unit (easy to clean, stays tidy), something like that.

    Warning: At the same time, the potential user is informed about the material composition used to achieve this attribute. (Science Daily says, “Fluorine is the most reactive chemical element and highly toxic. It is nonetheless widely deployed.”)

    On a lengthy and related personal note, this past week, I did switch out an old, nonstick deep-frying oil storage vat for an enamel-coated cast iron vessel, after overheating the oil a bit and getting uncomfortable with the noxious fumes. Not sure if it was Teflon burning off, but I for one, resolved to avoid wondering again. If anyone uses the pictured device, my unofficial advice would be to only put cooled-off oil in it, and to definitely not mar the surface with metal utensils. Even then, I would personally think twice before storing food-frying oil in contact with fluorine (does it leach? how would one know?)! Despite the assurances of “HEALTH” and “SAFE”, I seriously wonder what the next-best alternative to this device would be; why “fluorine resin” and not ceramic, glass, steel, iron, etc? Presumably cost; who knows! The built-in strainer is a nice feature, I must say.

  11. Taylor, Philip said,

    July 28, 2023 @ 4:02 am

    Caveat lector — "IANAC" ["I am not a chemist"] — BUT: "storing food-frying oil in contact with fluorine" is totally different to "storing food-frying oil in contact with a compound containing fluorine [fluorine resins such as PTFE, PFA, FEP, ETFE, PCTFE, ECTFE, PVDF, PVF]".

    Think of the obvious analogy — you would not think, even for a second, of trying to put out a fire using either hydrogen or oxygen, but you would not hesitate to do using a compound containing both (water, H₂O) [assuming that it was not an electrical fire, of course].

  12. nbmandel said,

    July 28, 2023 @ 8:26 pm

    My favorite part is the "thin mesh mesh mesh." It sounds so jolly, somehow.

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