Frequently Asked Questions
Browse a list of the most frequently asked questions to understand what makes the Setamono Japanese Homeware range of products so unique.
Grills & Accessories
So what's the difference?
We’re hardwired to love gathering around a cooking fire, and no one does that better than the South African braai-nation. But this is quite different. It’s a brand-new way of dining and entertaining, indoors or outdoors, that South Africans will definitely relate to but haven’t experienced before.
Unlike braaiing, the hibachi grill can be used indoors or outdoors, at the table or on the countertop. You can entertain while grilling at the table or have fun taking turns.
Made using diatomaceous earth, our hibachi grills are lightweight and compact, making them easily portable. This makes them ideal for camping trips, ticking yet another box for our outdoor nation. It also makes for excellent insulation and even heat distribution when grilling.
You can go healthy, the usually 'braaivleis en kuier' or change it up with some Japanese inspired dishes. No matter what you're in the mood for, your hibachi grill has you covered - inside and out!
This way of entertaining is for everyone so there’s a grill to suit all pockets and tastes.
You've just taken home your new handmade Konro grill. You're well on your way to the joy of backyard yakitori, and other grilled treats. Below are some tips to get you started.
You only need enough charcoal to cover the bottom of the Konro, anything more will cause excessive heat and flame.
LIGHT IT UP!
To light your Binchotan or lump charcoal load it into a chimney starter and light it from the bottom with newspaper or a gas burner. If you don't have these then use a natural firefighter (no odour if possible). After it is lit, then spread it out over the floor of the grill.
Use the vents to adjust heat. Open vents means more oxygen gets to the coals, which in turn means higher temperature. Binchotan lasts a long long time, but if you do need to add some, only add enough to keep the bottom of the Konro covered.
NOW YOU'RE GRILLING!
If you have a Yakitori sized grill and are using our bamboo skewers, you can just rest your food right across the grill. If you’re on a wider grill or cooking without skewers, be sure to pre-heat your grate before you get grilling.
Charcoal burns hot, but takes time so be patient.
Snuff the Binchotan out in a Grills of Japan extinguishing pot. DO NOT pour water on the Konro to put out the fire, or the Konro will break due to extreme temperature change. Only put away or store your Konro after it has cooled completely.
Here are the basic dos and don'ts of Konro ownership. Remembering these will help you have a safe and delicious cooking session:
- Regular Charcoal gives off carbon monoxide. Use it only where there is enough ventilation. If you use it indoors be sure to have sufficient ventilation.
- The bottom of Konro will become extremely hot. Do not use it on carpets. Use only on a fireproof surface.
- Do not move the Konro while using.
- Do not leave the Konro unattended while using.
- Do not leave children unattended with a hot Konro.
- Make sure the fire is completely extinguished after use.
- The metal parts will get hot. Use caution when handling.
- The metal parts can be sharp and cause scrape or cuts. Be cautious.
- The Konro is ceramic. When dropped or banged, it can break. Use caution.
- Never pour water into the Konro to put out the fire. This will cause the Konro to break.
- Store in a weatherproof area, do not leave outdoors. Avoid extreme humidity.
- Use the Konro on the flat and level surface.
- If the Konro gets wet, it will not work as well as it should. Let the Konro dry completely before next use.
It’s a story that goes back some 20 million years or more, to the Miocene Epoch...
Back then, the Sea of Japan was a landlocked body of water. Fed by thermal springs created by volcanic activity, it was an environment ripe for the growth of diatoms, a major group of single-celled planktonic algae. When an explosive bloom of them depleted nutrients in the water and blocked out the sunlight needed for photosynthesis, diatoms started to die off, their remains sinking to the seabed. Those deposits then fed a new generation, which led to another bloom, and so on. As theory has it, this oft-repeated cycle of planktonic boom and bust is what formed the massive strata of diatomaceous earth—also known as diatomite—now found in the area.
Consisting almost entirely of silica, these sedimentary deposits are characterized by their low density and high porosity. Diatomite’s excellent absorbency and insulating properties make it an ideal material for filters, heat-resistant bricks, and grills.
Although our grills can be used with any charcoal we would recommend using Binchotan charcoal which is known as 'The King of all Charcoals', a favourite amongst Yakitori bars all over Japan due to it's clean burning properties and the amazing aroma and flavour it imparts when grilling.
- Clean burning properties
- Practically odourless
- Little to no smoke produced
- Burns for at least 3 hours
Binchotan is the perfect charcoal for barbequing due to its long steady burning properties, and food grilled over binchotan results in a juicier texture and heightened flavours compared to other charcoal.
There is little to no smoke and is odourless when burning, so the flavour of the food is kept pure and whats more there are minimal flare ups. This of course all changes when you add fatty meat to the grill.
The binchotan we source is 100% produced from Acacia grown and processed in Africa. Due to Acacia being an invader species it is a much more sustainably sourced.
Unlike Tosa Japanese binchotan, which has a total burn time of up to 5 hours and very little ash, Acacia binchotan has a total burn time of a minimum of 3 hours with a higher ash content. Be sure to knock off the ash to release the heat when grilling.
Binchotan can be used to grill indoors (with sufficient ventilation) as there is little to no smoke and is free from carcinogens and chemicals. Lighting binchotan can be achieved by placing into a chimney starter outside or by using our Charcoal Starter pan inside on your gas hob, which can be found on our LIGHT page or use a regular charcoal chimney starter outside and transfer to your grill.
Our Binchotan comes in varied sizes so should you want to make smaller pieces they can be broken into smaller pieces.
Compared to regular natural hardwood charcoal, Binchotan will burn many times longer and when finished grilling, you should simply extinguish the charcoal so you can use it again.
To extinguish simply place the charcoal in our Extinguishing pot, which can be found in our EXTINGUISH page. Alternatively, dip each piece of charcoal in water for 30 seconds and leave to dry.
The charcoal starter pot is a very useful tool, enabling you to light your binchotan charcoal ready to be transferred to your Hibachi grill. No burns, no fuss!
STEP 1 Insert the charcoal into the starter pot, then place the pot on your gas hob or an open flame.
STEP2 Allow for the charcoal to be flamed until fully lit then place into your grill. Do not overfill the starter pot! The binchotan will take between 10 to 15 minutes before it is fully glowing, so be patient.
STEP 3 Once fully lit, transfer your binchotan charcoal to your grill and wait for a minimum of 10 minutes for the binchotan to fully build the heat and insulate your grill. If using a bigger grill, place additional binchotan on top of the already lit charcoal and wait for it to be fully lit before you start grilling.
And away you go!
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Tableware & Ceramics
Our name, Setamono, was inspired by the town of Seto, south of Nagoya in Japan. An area with a long history of ceramics production. Seto is one of Japan's six most important ancient kiln towns.
Kitchenware & Knives
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Furoshiki & Tenugui
Essentially they’re both multi-purpose pieces of cloth, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty there are a few key differences between furoshiki and tenugui, and these differences mostly have to do with functionality and the item’s purpose. However, they can both be used as wall hangings.
Tenugui are a little thinner than furoshiki; they’re made from easy to dry cotton because, as their name suggests (te 手, hand, and nugu 拭, wipe) their main reason for existence is for personal uses like drying hands, and wiping away sweat. Tenugui are a little smaller too, like a slightly narrower version of your regular dishcloth. Because they’re made for more personal uses, and not necessarily for show, the edges of tenugui typically aren’t stitched. There’s no real reason to add a hem other than the aesthetic, so it’s usually left raw.
A furoshiki, on the other hand, is the showier of the pair. Because it's often used as gift wrapping, or for carrying around larger, bulkier items - that people may see - the aesthetics are a little more considered. Furoshiki can be made from more expensive materials such as silk, and often feature beautiful and elaborate hand-painted designs.
The edges of a furoshiki cloth are typically hemmed to prevent fraying. This stitching is not just for show, it’s also because in its regular daily use, the furoshiki may be exposed to rougher settings. A furoshiki is used for things like carrying loads of books or protecting a tall glass sake bottle on its journey to a picnic in the park. The furoshiki was originally used in onsen culture, so to successfully transport larger items like clothes and washing products, the size of the furoshiki has become a little larger too.
Content from: japanobjects.com
Beyond the more historical uses of the furoshiki, there are plenty of modern-day uses for such an item. Back in 2006, Tokyo department store Printemps Ginza Co. held a furoshiki fair in celebration of the furoshiki and its uses as a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth, which has contributed to its popularity today. A news report on the event claimed that “Before the fair, only about ten furoshiki were purchased per month. During the two-week event, however, 800 were sold, and since then the store is moving around 50 a month.”
The event showcased that in this day and age of designer handbags, fancy backpacks, and ubiquitous totes, the usefulness of the furoshiki had been forgotten. With a couple of simple knots you can make a capacious shopping bag, or even carry a couple of bottles of wine as you see below.
The most popular modern day uses for Japanese furoshiki include: packing bento lunch boxes and protecting them from spilling open; wrapping gifts; transporting glass, ceramic or fragile goods. Particularly fine patterns can be hung on the wall as art, or worn over the shoulders as a shawl. Furoshiki bags can come in all shapes and sizes. They can also be easily used as a tablecloth, or a picnic hamper for your next hanami picnic. In an emergency a furoshiki also makes a great sling or temporary bandage! The uses of the furoshiki are limited by only your creativity.
What makes the furoshiki even more valuable in the modern age is its usefulness as a plastic substitute. Rather than purchasing ziplock bags, saran wrap, disposable gift bags, or even collecting plastic bags from the supermarket, the furoshiki can play the role of all of these items, plus they’re washable, reusable, and certainly more aesthetically pleasing.
Content from: japanobjects.com
Bed & Bath
All our artisan Japanese bed and bath ranges, spanning towels, mats and throws, are produced by Maruyama Fiber Industry Co., Ltd.
The woven fabrics are ideal for babies and people with sensitive skin. They are 100% naturally made with no dyes or chemicals used during production. Their super absorbent, quick-drying properties are perfect for the bedroom, bathroom or kitchen and they are high quality, durable and soft to the touch. Furthermore the Binchotan Charcoal and Persimmon infused towels, mats, throws and cloths are naturally antibacterial and odour resistant.
Maruyama Fiber Industry Co. Ltd was founded in Nara, Japan in 1930, where they began manufacturing traditional mosquito nets woven from cotton and hemp fabrics. Mosquito nets however lost their relevance in Japan and Maruyama cleverly adapted their net fabric using traditional weaving technologies, into a line of multipurpose eco-cloths and towels.
Made by Yamamoto Farm in the Gunma Prefecture our konjac sponges are organic and 100% natural using plant based ingredients. The konjac removes impurities and is gentle on your skin. It becomes a fluffy sponge when placed in hot water.