bamboo steamer bamboo steamerDIA340xH120mm, China

Food steaming has become one of the way to a healthier lifestyle; food is cooked at 100c over boiling water killing germs and the add of oil is not essential hence avoiding trans fat.  Typically, the steamer would be placed over a wok filled with boiling water, the steam from the water would filled the steamer through the gaps at the bottom, the food would be cooked with all the juices and flavor retained.

It was said that the method was first invented for the Han dynasty army for rejuvenating their dried ration, the steamers can be stacked up to heat up large quantity of food.  The elimination of oil used in this method also made the enemy harder to detect the location of the camp.  However, with archaeological discovery the steamer seems be have appeared long before, to be as far back as the Zhou dynasty, some 2000 year ago.

Tomb cave painting of the Jin dynasty

Unfortunately, though the method lives on with the high tech electrical steamer, the age of the bamboo steamer is on its last legs, their used to be streets filled with artisan making bamboo steamers, now there is only a couple in the city.  It seems like its ancestors, the bronze and the ceramic steamer, the bamboo version is replaced by the stainless steel and the plastic version.