Bamboo Steamer Bottom

This three-tiered bamboo steamer is a type used throughout Asia to steam vegetables, breads, fish, dim sum, fruits, in fact, different things that might make up an entire meal, all at the same time. The things to be cooked are placed in the tiers and the whole steamer is placed over a pot of water heated by the electric, gas, or charcoal of the stove below. The lid, placed on the top tier, then covers the foods until they have finished steaming, and the foods can then be served directly from the steamer. The steamers were particularly favored by “health food” advocates, along with new fans of Asian cuisines, because the cooking method used involved no added fats.
There are metal steamers available, though bent bamboo is still the traditional material used throughout Asia and now, wherever people have adopted and adapted Asian foods for use elsewhere. Such a steamer was probably not the first Asian cooking tool imported for use in the United States for cooking all sorts of foods, including the increasingly popular Asian-style foods that came into use after World War II. The Hibachi for grilling, the wok for stir frying, rice cooker/steamers for rice cookery, and the tiered steamers have been popular here since the 1950s.
Object Name
bamboo steamer bottom
Physical Description
bamboo (overall material)
overall: 2 3/4 in x 9 1/2 in; 6.985 cm x 24.13 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food Culture
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Betty Jean Boudreau
Additional Media

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