In America, we don't seem to steam food very much, but it's one of the great techniques of cooking. In Asian cuisines, steaming is very, very important and probably as popular as frying or baking.
If you visit a typical home kitchen in southeast Asia, there aren't a lot of appliances. You might just have a single charcoal burner or a single gas burner. So to prepare a meal, you're either making one thing at a time or working in layers. When you're steaming, you can cook a whole meal on one stove at one time. You can have your fish in there and maybe something above it in another tray and then maybe something wrapped in banana leaves above that. You steam it all at once.
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