Different cuisines require a different set of tools. And if you’re making Asian dishes—Chinese, Japanese, Korean or another variety—you’re going to want a specially designed strainer.
Sure, you may already have a strainer or two, but it probably won’t fit the part. Whatever Asian cuisine you’re making will require an instrument that’s delicate, durable and, most important of all, versatile. What you want, ultimately, is a metal basket with a long handle that that you can dunk into hot oil or boiling water to pluck out and drain noodles, dumplings, fried meat or vegetables.
So if you’re serious about cooking Asian food, then you’re going to want a strainer that’s up for the task. And while there may be plenty on the market, some will be better suited to your needs than other. Here are four that will make any chef’s job a little bit easier.
1. KitchenAid Classic Asian Strainer
KitchenAid’s strainer is based on the traditional version of the instrument, so the design just works. This no-frills, stainless-steel tool may not look like much, but it gets the job done without fail. And while it may feature a time-tested design, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some upgrades, including an ergonomic handle that’s comfortable to grip. It also comes with a one-year, hassle-free warranty.
Pros: A traditional strainer with a comfortable handle.
Cons: May look a tad generic to some.
2. Hiware Spider Strainer
Hiware’s tool is a clean, minimalist take on the classic strainer. It’s all polished, stainless steel from the handle to the spider web-patterned straining bowl. And thanks to that pattern, the bowl is just as effective draining noodles and dumplings as it is French fries. Its extra-long, 10-inch handle will also help keep you safe even when dealing with boiling water or hot oil. Plus, to clean it all you need to do is toss it in the dishwasher.
Pros: A head-turning, modern update of the classic strainer.
Cons: All-metal aesthetic is a tad antiseptic.
3. i Kito Spider Strainer
Most strainers look the same. Not i Kito’s, though, which has a striking, hand-knit straining bowl pattern. But that web-like pattern isn’t just for aesthetic purposes. It actually makes it easier to scoop up noodles and dumplings. But you won’t just want to use this for your Asian cooking needs. It’s just as adept at dealing with fried foods, so you’ll want to use this next time you’re whipping up French fries or onion rings.
Pros: Its web-like straining bowl works for all types of cooking.
Cons: Straining bowl may be more delicate than other options.
4. Helen Chen’s Asian Strainer
Since they’re used to pluck food from hot oil and boiling water, you’re going to want a strainer with an extra-long reach. But this model’s bamboo handle adds another layer of protection, as it won’t just keep your hand clear of the heat—it won’t conduct it either. The use of bamboo also means this strainer is lighter than those with stainless-steel or plastic handles.
Pros: A bamboo handle makes this strainer extra-safe to use.
Cons: Quality may leave some wanting more.