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A zaru (笊, ざる) is a draining basket made from bamboo used in the preparation and presentation of Japanese cuisine. It can be used in a similar fashion to a sieve or colander, both of which are common in western cooking. Additionally, well-designed zaru are used to present food directly, as for example zarusoba. Plastic and metal versions of the zaru have also come into use, but are rarely used to present food.

Similar to the makisu, zaru are dried, and stored after use to extend the lifespan of the tool, and prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi on the mat. However, drying in harsh sunlight can cause the bamboo of the zaru to crack.

Reflecting the zaru's capacity to soak up liquid, this term is also used as slang for a person who can drink a lot of alcohol without showing signs of inebriation.

See also