A spider is a type of skimmer used in Asian cooking in the form of a wide shallow wire-mesh basket with a long handle, used for removing hot food from a liquid. The name is derived from the wire pattern, which looks like a spider's web.
Unlike a sieve that has a fine mesh screen for straining away liquids as food is retrieved, the spider can be used as a strainer for larger pieces of food. However, most often it is used as skimming tool to add or remove foods from hot liquids such as water or oil. Spiders may be somewhat flat and round or small concave utensils shaped into the form of an open basket. They may also be referred to as sieves, spoon sieves, spoon skimmers, or basket skimmers.
A spider is ideal for lifting and draining foods from hot oil, soups, stocks and boiling water. It is the perfect tool for skimming stocks, blanching vegetables and deep frying foods. This kitchen utensil is most often used to retrieve foods that are being cooked in pots or pans of hot water.