Bamboo steamers are one of the most useful items in ANY kitchen, not just those with an Asian bent. Apart from the stock standard dim sum and steamed veg, think about everything from fresh clams to figgy pudding that needs a good steam. Cooking is of course main intent but consider a steamer for reheating things that really don't suffer the microwave well. Moist warm heat is a very good thing (especially for breads and the like) and just as fast if you have a quality steamer at the ready. Mine stays parked on my cooktop at a back burner nearly dedicated to the task. I even use mine as a frequent plate warmer and often turn the lid over as a basket to hold everything from tortillas to pitas for serving. Your kitchen will thank you for having a nice, large bamboo steamer on hand.
I've used a bazillion bamboo steamers in my time sourced from all over the globe and this one from Helen Chen is of a much more solid construction than many. The temptation is to head to Chinatown and get a discount model but for the price (~$20), I think you're better off with this version that seems much more rigid to my hands. The thickness of materials used here tells me this one will hold up much longer than examples I've come across in other Asian shops. The fit (lid to rim) is also sometimes suspect on cheaper versions that are too tight or loose but this one has proportions that make the stacking a snap, even after the bamboo swells with use over hot steam which can be troublesome with ill-fitted models. Finally, the size here (12") is generous and easily fits both woks and stockpots already on my shelves without any further "kitchen engineering". The smaller diameters might be great for presentation on a dim sum cart but in my kitchen, I appreciate the extra steaming real estate. Afterall, the steam doesn't really care how much diameter it fills and in several decades of dim sum making, I've never said "I wish I had a smaller steamer." While a trip to Hong Kong might be more fun, you won't do better than this steamer for under $20. Thanks to Amazon and their free shipping, I'll have to find another excuse to head to China.
A product request to the manufacturer: I'd love to see a bamboo "height extension ring" to fit this unit. Basically a bottomless ring (or two) of the same diameter to (occasionally) accomdate taller bowls and dishes or larger items for longer duration steam cooking. I've only seen such a thing once before in Hong Kong and used it often for a decade before it finally died from old age. As I recall, the extension ring had one or two support slats *at the edges* of the circle for rigidity but otherwise left unfettered access for tall items. Thanks for a quality version of a classic otherwise.