If you’ve been anywhere near Food TikTok lately, you’ve probably seen Emily Mariko or her influence. The lifestyle creator’s videos of her wordlessly making leftover salmon and rice into a deconstructed onigiri bowl has inspired countless recreations and is quite literally the only thing on my social media feeds right now. Questions about the physics behind the dish have evolved into their own online discourse, even prompting Neil Degrasse Tyson to explain how an ice cube can steam rice in the microwave without melting.
When Mariko’s now viral salmon rice video first popped onto my for you page, I rolled my eyes at the hullabaloo surrounding it. Salmon with rice, soy sauce, and kewpie mayo isn’t exactly revolutionary, but after seeing Mariko’s videos for what seemed like the hundredth time this week, I took a deeper dive into her account.
Mariko got her start creating fashion vlogs on YouTube, while her TikTok serves as a BTS of her daily tasks like cooking, grocery shopping, and cleaning. There’s an almost eerie sense of calm to the quick-paced cuts of her chopping and mashing ingredients, and the absence of a voice-over is almost as intriguing as the food itself. But what makes Emily Mariko’s content so compelling is that there seems to be little agenda to the videos (other than to make and enjoy food for oneself). Her commitment to ingredient organization is just a part of who she is, rather than an ideal to strive for, and her genuine enjoyment of ingredients like white rice and bread is a welcome reprieve from diet culture so often found on the pages of other influencers.
After spending an embarrassing amount of time scrolling through Emily’s TikTok, I found myself longing for the easy simplicity of her kitchen’s aesthetic and routines. I have no desire to be Emily Mariko, fashion and lifestyle vlogger — but what if I filled my cluttered NYC apartment with her streamlined and functional kitchen appliances and accessories? Would that help me achieve her public-facing inner peace?
I know that I’ll never be the type of person who has enough patience to cut, rinse, and properly store all my veggies for the week — and maybe you won’t either. But perhaps if you have her salad spinner, some of the calm responsibility that oozes from her videos will rub off on you (and I) via osmosis. If you want to try to claim some of Emily Mariko’s carefree energy for yourself, these are the most identifiable (and actually useful) items from her kitchen that you can currently buy.
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A Grown-Up Non-Stick Cookware Set
Caraway’s nonstick pots and pans are easily the most identifiable pieces of cookware in Emily Mariko’s kitchen. The large stock pot is great for making hearty soups or blanching vegetables, while the pans can fry dumplings or gently fold together scrambled eggs. Caraway’s cookware also looks nice on a kitchen counter, even if it’s only there because your cabinets are overflowing with other stuff. If Mariko’s all-white aesthetic isn’t your style, the set also comes in colors like navy, pink, and bright yellow.
You'll Need A Rice Maker
Many of Mariko’s recipes come from her Japanese background, so it makes sense that she’d have a reliable rice maker to make perfectly fluffy rice. Though her “steam rice with a microwave and ice cube” technique gets a lot of attention, all the ice cubes and parchment paper in the world can’t rescue rice that wasn’t properly cooked the first time around. For that, you need a solid rice maker. This is the one she owns.
A Lightweight Ceramic Knife
Emily Mariko’s Santoku knife is a frequent star of her cooking and food prep videos, usually seen chopping up heads of broccoli or slicing open ripe avocados. I’m pretty sure this is the same one, as it has the white red handle and ceramic blade, which is lightweight and easy to handle. Just don’t throw out your standard steel knife yet — ceramic’s more brittle edges are less effective for cutting harder ingredients like frozen meat or anything with tough bones.
Prevent Dreaded Stove Gap Messes
These stove gap covers are probably the most ingenious items that Emily Mariko has shown me, a mere mortal watching her on my phone. They can be cut to perfectly fit your kitchen and cover up the dreaded gaps between the stove and countertop, so crumbs and other food debris don’t end up in the dead space between your cabinets and appliances. They’re also easily removed for very satisfying cleaning that will inspire you to do some of those chores you’ve been putting off for a few weeks.
The Crucial Condiment
Kewpie Mayo is arguably the most vital ingredient in Mariko’s deconstructed onigiri bowl. It’s richer and has a more distinct flavor than regular mayo, and there’s something very tactilely satisfying about squeezing mayo drizzles with the soft plastic bottle. If you need to stock up on all the ingredients used in the salmon rice bowl, Umamicart also has an entire collection dedicated to the simple recipe.
A Worthy Blender
Mariko’s breakfast videos often include toast and veggies, but her blender also makes appearances to make morning smoothies. This copper-toned Vitamix matches the one she uses in her TikToks, is powerful enough to blend through frozen fruit and veggies, and has settings to make hot soups or thicker dips. Maybe it’ll inspire you to make fun smoothies with leftover produce, but if not, you can at least use it to make frozen margaritas.
Very Organized Spices
Emily Mariko has what every person wants — a meticulously organized spice drawer with no awkward gaps between the labelled spice containers. While it’s no guarantee that your spice drawer will be the perfect dimensions to fit your bottles, this set of 48 empty spice bottles will help you maximize your existing spice collection (and it comes with handy labels for identifying ingredients).
Even Her Sponge Is Aesthetically Pleasing
Rather than a plain sponge, Mariko uses a Tawashi scrubber to gently clean potatoes and scrub dishes. Will this scrubber miraculously make your roommates clean up after themselves? Probably not, but the palm fiber bristles of a Tawashi will make it more fun when you inevitably have to tackle the task yourself.
The Garlic MVP
I’m a fan of finely mincing an ungodly amount of garlic until it becomes a fine paste, but if anyone can convince me to use a garlic press, it’s Emily Mariko. This OXO press has made several appearances in her videos, and the large capacity makes it easy to push out several cloves at once, rather than painstakingly pressing them one by one.
A Very Durable Salad Spinner
One of Mariko’s most mesmerizing videos features her prepping produce for the week by chopping and storing ingredients so they can be easily used in dishes or snacks later on. This is the same spinner Mariko uses, and its survival through her rigorous veggie prep process is a testament to its durability and strength.
Parchment Paper That’s Precut For Ease
Parchment paper is ideal for many things, like lining cookware or baking sheets, but cutting it to size can be the bane of one’s existence. These pre-cut, unbleached leaves of parchment paper found on Mariko’s TikTok can easily be slipped onto a baking sheet for mess-free roasted vegetables, or they can provide a convenient space to prep and season proteins before they’re placed in the oven.
Some Cute Countertop Storage
Clear storage containers are almost always a good idea, as they allow you to track when you’re running low on ingredients and constantly remind you of what you have on hand. I couldn’t find an exact match for here specific containers, but these minimalist glass jars with wooden lids should help your kitchen seem more peacefully (i.e., less chaotically) put together.
Keep The Kitchen Sparkling
Mariko’s cleaning videos are almost as tantalizing as her cooking ones. Just like the influencer, I have a glass electric cooktop, though mine is marred with boil-over and grease stains. Mariko uses this liquid formula Bar Keeper’s Friend to make her stove shine like it just came off a showroom floor despite video evidence of its constant use, so maybe there’s hope for my glass stovetop yet.