Japanese Knife Reviews

The Best Japanese Knives - Reviews and Advice

Choosing the best japanese knife might be tricky if you’re not sure what to look for. Our guides and tips will help you make smart, informed choices!

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Japanese knives: what are they used for and what to choose?

Japanese santoku knife – for what?
Santoku knife came from Japan and quickly won the trust of chefs and professional chefs. He solved the dilemma of thinly slicing fish into neat plates, shredding meat and vegetables, and greens. Therefore, the convenience and practicality of the knife fit into the rule of “RRK” – cut, chop and crumble. It has the shape of a blade, which is metaphorically called a “sheep’s foot”, because the cutting edge is straight, like a ruler. It is not rounded at the top, so the blade cuts vegetables or fillets layer by layer, according to the guillotine. The cutting edge does not blunt or crumble for a long time due to the smooth cutting of soft products. Why? Because the purpose of the Japanese knife is mainly ready-made products that need to be made thin and translucent, like slices that will not stick to the blade.

What to choose: a Japanese Santoku knife or a chef's knife?

The chef-knife has a strong handle, and its length is 15-20 cm. Its thickened butt narrows to the tip of the blade, so it has a thin and sharp tip. It is heavier than other knives and has a double bevel, which can have a sharpening angle of up to 30 degrees. It also has a thickening between the blade and the handle, which protects the palm of the cook’s hand from cuts. The knife performs several functions:

  • easily shreds vegetables, sausage or cheese;
  • cut meat and fish into cubes;
  • cuts tendons and cartilage of pork, beef, etc.

Santoku is formed at the junction of Eastern and Western traditions of knife making, so it combines elements of Asian and European cultures. It is designed for slicing 3 main products: fish, meat and vegetables. And it is equally popular among professional chefs and home cooks, because it can easily cope with slicing and shaking. Santoku knives have many advantages along with the usual:

They are characterized by a straight cutting edge and double-sided sharpening at an angle of 12 degrees. However, there are models with a rounded blade.
They have a thin and wide blade with a stable cutting edge, made of solid steel Nitrum, which is resistant to corrosion, has high brittleness and cutting ability.
Japanese blades are lighter and more convenient to cook compared to chef’s knives due to the balance of the handle and butt.
Santoku knives have air capsules or notches that prevent food from sticking to the blade and improve the slicing of either vegetables or fish.

What other types of Japanese knives are there?

Japanese knives are designed for different purposes, and distinguish them primarily by the shape of the blade:

  • Kiritsuke. This knife has a beveled edge of the blade, resembling the tip of a sword or dagger, double-sided sharpening and a length of 18-30 cm. It is often called a portion and is used for slicing, chopping beef, pork, salmon. In addition, the Japanese blade is adapted for extracting caviar from fish. The knife is unique in that its blade is made of high-carbon steel using “silk edge” technology.
  • Debate. Thick knives are designed for processing fish, crabs and other seafood, but they are suitable for slicing poultry. They can be used by both professional chefs and home cooks, because the wide blade of the deba performs several functions: slices of fish fillets and separates fish carcasses from bones.
  • Yanagiba. The sharp blade of such knives resembles a willow leaf, but this shape is needed for perfect processing of raw fish. They are identical to slicers that thinly cut fish fillets into slices without losing liquid. It has a long sharp blade with one-sided sharpening.
  • Usuba. The shape of Japanese knives resembles cleavers or choppers, but they are not intended for cutting meat with small bones or cartilage. They shake both vegetables and fish fillets. They are equipped with a thick butt, have a one-sided bevel and a rectangular blade 6 cm wide, 18-24 cm long. Their cutting edge is too sharp, and the handle is oval, narrow and with a side edge.

How to care for Japanese Santoku knives?

Caring for santoku knives does not require complex tricks, only regular steps

  • they should be washed by hand, immediately after cooking, but be sure to rinse first in cold water and then in hot water;
  • wipe the blade dry with a napkin or soft cloth;
  • use special mousses or sharpening tools for stamped knives, taking into account the hardness of the material and the Rockwell scale;
  • use only wooden or plastic boards for cutting, but not glass or porcelain;
  • store knives on vertical stands or magnetic holders so that they are not in the same pile.