Bad news for the unsuspecting bamboo steamer-purchaser who’s recently come under the illusion of tasty, healthy food:

Not all bamboo steamers are equal.

Some are rather flimsy, cheaply put together to be priced more competitively. Regrettably but understandably the poorer quality lasts a shorter time.

When you look to buy a steamer, make sure the outer rim is thick and round. Since the rim is the chief support of the steamer, it is the critical structural component for longevity:

When you buy a steamer, study gaps between the slats. The curved cuts provide maximized steaming AND support. This intricately assemblage takes longer than the flat slats with gaps between them. This is fine craftsmanship.

When you look to buy a steamer, look at the thickness of the slats. Obviously it’s cheaper to put thinner wood for the supporting slats. And yes, the thinner wood will work… for a while. But then it will break, and you’ll have to get another steamer. The thicker slats lasts longer. The snugly fitted assembly, not tied with flimsy strands (which some brands do), also contributes to the overall sturdiness and longevity of the steamer.

Ok, now here are some of the bad ones. Notice the huge gaps that mean the manufacturers are skimping on material and cutting back on craftsmanship. Look at the twine holding everything together. Check out how thin the outside ring. Notice the imperfect circle.

In this photo, you can notice the gap where the “seam” is. Also notice the not-flush edge. This type of assembly is bound to fall apart quickly because it’s dirty work done dirt cheap.

In this photo you can really appreciate how thin some bamboo steamer make their slats. How long will that last? As mentioned before, the twine tying them together looks rather frail, and the huge gaps show the lack of pride in their work.

There are other steamers that include a metal ring to provide strength and longevity to the bamboo steamer. Unfortunately, this defeats the purpose of a bamboo steamer. The whole point of resorting to bamboo is to get away from metal. There are plenty of cheaper metal steamers that you can buy that will last your entire life. But one buys bamboo for the natural. A hybrid natural/not natural really doesn’t make sense.

When you go to the 99 Cents Store, you know what you are buying and how long it will last. Don’t get your bamboo steamer, a luxury item for refined tastes, from the online equivalent of the 99 Cents Store. (No knock against the 99 Cents Stores; I buy there too! But I KNOW what I’m getting and how long it will last.)

If you are interested in buying a Cuisine Natural which sells bamboo steamers on Amazon, click on the link or the image.

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