Cooking and Entertaining

Guide to Melamine Dinnerware

A set of melamine dinnerware
When it comes to dinnerware materials, you can find a lot of different choices. But if you’re tired of your children (or a clumsy member of the family) accidentally breaking your dishes, you may consider melamine. It’s lighter and more durable than china, and this is why more restaurants and foodservice outlets use this kind of plate. You may not have heard the term melamine, but you’ve likely eaten off a melamine plate.

Melamine dinnerware isn’t just limited to plates and cups – you can find soup bowls, mixing bowls , saucers, trays, and even chopsticks. On top of that, melamine dinnerware can be found in endless patterns, colors, sizes, and shapes. You don’t have to worry about finding a piece that will suit your taste or blend in your tablecloths.

Melamine dinnerware is very popular for a good reason. Read on to find out more about melamine.

What is Melamine Made of?

Melamine is a chemical compound that produces a hard plastic that can be applied to a number of uses, including manufacturing glues, laminates, and other materials, besides dinnerware. This plastic material can be made in a wide range of colors and styles, making it a versatile product that can be used for different settings. It’s made of melamine resin plus strengthening materials to make it durable for everyday use.

Is it Food Safe?

The safety of melamine has been a concern by many people. But the FDA’s Safety and Risk Assessment has stated that melamine plastic is absolutely food-safe. While some melamine dinnerware may contain safe amounts of BPA, there are melamine dinnerware brands that have high safety standards and are certified BPA-free. The study concludes that the chemicals in melamine will not transfer into the food product as long as your food isn’t heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Melamine is still plastic, so avoid using it to heat food in the oven or microwave to keep it safe for use.

Is it Dishwasher-Safe?

Unlike glazed dishes, melamine tableware is safe to use in a dishwasher. There are even lines of melamine dinnerware that can handle the heat that exceeds the recommended dishwasher water temperatures.

Melamine dinnerware is also easy to clean up. Since it’s a non-porous material, it is stain-resistant and easy to rinse.

How Durable is Melamine Dinnerware?

Melamine is super difficult to break and is shatter-resistant. It doesn’t shatter when dropped like your typical china and glassware. Though it’s super durable, it may chip around the edges when it’s handled roughly. Restaurant-grade melamine can withstand heavy everyday use, and it’s also resistant to scratches and use over time.

Is it Tolerant of Hot and Cold Foods?

Melamine dishes can maintain temperatures longer than other types of plastic dinnerware, but it takes a long time for the temperature of the material to adjust. So, melamine stays cool while it holds hot foods because the food doesn’t produce heat for a long period of time. Because of this characteristic, melamine can protect your hands from burn hazards associated with hot plates.

Melamine dishes are also ideal for cold food and buffet displays like salad bars, deli displays, and more. Simply place it on top of ice when on display to keep plated items cold.

Is Melamine Expensive?

Generally, melamine dinnerware is inexpensive and very affordable, but it can range in different prices. It saves you money initially, but it can also save you for the longer term because of its durability. When dropped, melamine dishes don’t need replacing because they do not shatter. It makes an excellent present for first-home couples, as well as for parents with young children. All in all, melamine is a practical material of choice.

How Does it Affect Food Presentation?

No other type of dinnerware can offer sophistication and practicality than melamine dinnerware. Though it’s made of plastic, technology has developed to be able to create heavyweight and high-gloss melamine tableware that looks like fine porcelain and ceramic at first look. But when you hold it, you can feel the weight difference. It’s available in both patterned and solid color designs, so you can easily find the perfect melamine dinnerware to match your décor. Since it can look like fine porcelain, the right dinnerware of choice can elevate the look of your table presentation.

Melamine tableware can be designed for every style you can think of. There are dishware sets made of melamine that are perfect for contemporary catered events to Asian-inspired restaurants to colorful Mexican diners. Because melamine is versatile, you can get the same upscale appeal you can get from porcelain, china, and even slate.

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