What Materials are Sushi Boats made out of?
Which is the best?
Are some materials more hazardous to your health than others?
Stick around and we'll dig deep to give you all of the Answers!

Bamboo and plastic Sushi boat
Wooden Sushi boat

A sushi boat is perfect if you are really wanting to make your homemade sushi creations "Pop" or if you are just wanting to wow the guests in your sushi bar.

You could use a sushi plate, but a boat can pack an unexpected visual punch to your beautifully made and artfully arranged sushi that people just don't expect.

Guests are always blown away by them.

But which one to buy?

That is a very good question. And one that we will attempt to answer for you in the following paragraphs.

With that, let's get rolling!

Sushi Boat Materials

Sushi boats, just like sushi plates, are made out of all kinds of materials. They can be made of wood,  plastic or even grass! (Yes. I said grass. And no, not the kind you smoke...And no, I didn't smoke any before I wrote this either :-). Have patience young grasshopper..and all will be revealed in due time...

In the two pictures above the one on the left has a base made of bamboo while the one on the right looks to be made of some kind of wood. It looks like pine to me. 

And since we are already on the subject, it might be a good time to talk about the difference between bamboo and wood.

The Difference between Bamboo and Wood

Did you know that Bamboo is actually a grass?

Ha! Believe me now? And it is quite an impressive grass too.

Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on earth. Growing at rates of up to 39 inches in 24 hours! It is also quite versatile and can be used for construction, food, paper, made into a textile, and can also be made into a musical instrument.

But for our purposes, it can be made into a sushi boat too.

Look below to see how it compares to wood.



  • Biodegradable
  • Lightweight and easy to clean with just soap and water (bamboo can handle a dishwasher if it is 1 piece and not glued together in any way)
  • Water resistant and does not stain
  • Won't crack and warp like wood does
  • Won't harbor bacteria because it is non-porous
  • Porous and absorbs liquids 
  • Harbors bacteria
  • Cracks and warps
  • Harder to clean and not recommended for dishwasher

Doesn't it not look like to you that bamboo pretty much just blew wood away in all of the categories?

Well, at least from the standpoint of serving food, it looks like bamboo has many advantages over wood. 

If you would like to buy a bamboo sushi boat or a wood sushi boat they have them here at Amazon.

If you want your sushi boat made out of a material that is lighter and easier to clean than wood or bamboo, then we should talk about plastic. 

Plastic and Melamine Plastic

Plastic Sushi Boat

I think a distinction is worth mentioning when it comes to plastic. Namely, what melamine plastic is. For those of you who are very selective about what you eat or what you eat it off of, melamine plastic deserves a little explanation.

To be honest, I never really paid much attention to it, thinking it was just another plain old variation of plastic. But in doing research on it I was a little bit set back by it.

Melamine is a chemical that has many industrial uses. In the U.S. it has been approved for use in the manufacture of some cooking utensils, plates, plastic products and paper amongst other things.

Interesting Note:

Melamine has been used as a fertilizer in other parts of the world, but not in the U.S.

Hmmm. When I read that, I thought, "Well, that's...uhhh...interesting ...". I use to do a lot of farm work and have handled my share of fertilizer and its well, strong stuff. Full of nitrogen and can burn your eyes and not very healthy for your hands if your sticking them in a bunch of it all day long. Either way, I was intrigued at this point, but not ready to cast any judgment...after all, it HAS been approved for use in the U.S....and we all know the U.S. government never makes any mistakes...

So, I guess you might be wondering (just like I was):

Can this chemical Melamine still be in the plastic tableware that I am eating off of and am I in any kind of danger?

Well it just so happens that the Taiwan Consumers Foundation recently tested plastic tableware that came from China. They found that it contained melamine at a level of 20,000 parts per billion.

This type of tableware is made using a substance called melamine-formaldehyde resin. (Formaldehyde I used personally when I use to do taxidermy. It was used to "preserve" the fleshy and meaty areas of birds, animals, and reptiles that could not be skinned in the traditional way. It was, to say the least, highly toxic).

This melamine-formaldehyde resin helps to form, at a molecular level with heat, the shape of this plastic tableware.

Interesting Note:

A small amount of this melamine is actually "left over" after this chemical reaction takes place that forms this tableware and actually stays in the plastic.

This left over melamine can also be very slowly migrated out of the plastic and into the food that comes into contact with the plastic tableware.

So I guess the million dollar question now is...

Is there any danger here?

According to the FDA, melamine does not migrate from tableware into most foods. 

The only measurable migrations have been found to be with acidic foods under exaggerated conditions (food held on tableware at 160 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more).

Best advice on using Melamine plastic tableware:

Do not heat food in the microwave on melamine plastic.

It would be best to heat food on ceramic or other cookware that is microwave safe and then transfer it to the melamine based tableware.

It looks like there is no danger in using a melamine based sushi boat. Sushi will not be heated so it should be perfectly safe.

But when I discovered this, I found it quite interesting and thought that maybe others would want to know about this also.

Especially those who do not like to take any risks with their health or with the health of others.

If you want to look at some plastic sushi boats, check them out here on Amazon.

And keep in mind that some sushi boats are made out of lacquered plastic too not melamine plastic so check out the product details to find out which it is made out of.

If you want to read more information about melamine, go to the FDA site where most of this information was obtained. 


So which Sushi Boat is right for you?

As you can see, sushi boats come in all kinds of materials, styles, shapes and colors.

The choice for you will come down to how you are going to use it, what type of aesthetic appeal you are looking for and what you want to pay for it.

But whatever you choose, I'm sure it will add tremendous visual appeal to your sushi whether it is at home or in your own sushi bar.  

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David Guthrie, EzineArticles Basic Author