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Best Japanese Chef Knives – The Buyer’s Guide

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A dull lifeless kitchen knife can transform the art of cooking into a strenuous exercise resulting in frustration. It is every common aspect that every home cooking individual will encounter a time when they need to replace their existing knives.  Knives once they lose their shine or polish requires more force to use and you can no longer make perfecting cutting and chopping, therefore whatever cuisine you prepare, the end result will not be as expected as you desire.

Although it is a pretty good idea to sharpen your dull knives and correct its little imperfections, apparently this is not going to yield better results for all types of your knife. So the most wise decision to excel in the kitchen is to go with the knife replacement. Although there are plethora of knives, the best Japanese chef knives made from ultra-tough steel are best for slicing and dicing saves you major time and frustration in the kitchen.

Western style knives are basically well-known components that are majorly used by the chef’s, however after the innovation of the Japanese chef knives it has become its best counterparts. After vast developments have been made in the cutlery industry, the quality of the knives primarily aimed on the materials used in the construction. 

This is one of the major factor that made the differentiation between the Japanese knives and the western-style knives.

  Also see: Best Sushi and Sashimi Knife Reviews 2021

Western-style Vs Japanese Chef’s Knives – What makes Japanese Knife turn superior?

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Since knives comes in different sizes, shapes, weights and thickness, it is pretty tricky to identify the best quality knives, however a comparative analysis between the western-style knives and Japanese style knife helps to determine which knife is better.

Western Style Knife –The type of knife is sharpened on both sides of the blade, this features is generally referred as symmetrical bevel.  Although this is advantageous and able to perform better precise cuts, however when the appliance loses it shine, sharpening often becomes a challenge. You need to look for the right knife sharpener which has the ability to sharpen both the sides of the blade.

Another major feature of western-style knives is its blade thickness. This type of knives is typically made of soft steel. However, this is not much appreciable factor about the knife because the quality of the steel doesn’t offer the required density and strength to perform great slicing and chopping. In addition, this material is often bound to encounter imperfections and soon the knife will lose its sharpness. 

Japanese Chef KnivesJapanese chef knives are known for its quality. Although these knives are only single-bevel (has only one sharp side),however,  this is one of the best feature of the knife that makes it superior not only from the western style knives rather among all styles of knives. The single bevel makes the knives more sharper and offer the perfect finish in cutting miniature herbs or chopping the chicken breasts. 

Another major feature of Japanese Chef Knives that has to be discussed at this moment is the kind of material it is made of.    The Best Japanese Chef Knives is made of harder steel which makes the knives remain sharper for a longer period of time. Moreover the presence of harder steel in the appliance, makes it strong and resistant to wear and tear to a greater degree than western-style knives.

Based on these discussion, you can realize that Japanese Chef Knives are rather best choice when you are planning for a knife replacement. But buying a Japanese knife can be a challenge since there are plenty of options to choose from. So how to choose best Japanese chef knives? Apparently, the buyer’s guide will help choose the best Japanese chef knives that would be suitable for your needs.

What to look for? Buying guide to choose the Best Japanese Chef Knives

Japanese cuisines are known world-wide for their ever-lasting tastes and emphasizing freshness of ingredients. You cannot accomplish the best results in the kitchen unless everything are done perfectly in the kitchen, right from cutting, sautéing and cooking. 

The fundamental feature of getting the perfect cooking results obviously depends on its cutting and chopping techniques. Every meat or every veggie require a different type of cut, so you cannot rely on the same type of knife for chopping different categories. So let us discuss about the different types of Japanese kitchen knives to determine which could be the perfect choice for your kitchen need.

  • The Gyuto
  • The Santoku
  • The Sujihiki
  • The Nakiri

The Gyuto

Gyuto is the Japanese version of the classic Western Chef’s knife, a versatile multi-function appliance that has the potential to perform different kinds of cutting for a wide range of food items.  This has the shape of a classic European chef’s knife. The only difference is, the chef knife gyuto blades are thinner and holds a sharp edge whereas the conventional European knives comes in thicker versions making it one of the best Japanese chef knives.

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Made from handmade premium material, urushi gyuto hocho knife is a culinary masterpiece and a perfect gift for this Christmas. Your loved ones will never fail in cutting the fish and make the perfect sushi. 

Typical features of gyuto knives

  • Handle and blade length – The gyuto knives have a variety of handle and blade lengths. The style of the blades makes it as a versatile collection and best-selling product. The blade lengths varies by 8-1/4-inch, 9-1/2 inch, 10-1/2 inch and 11-3/4 inches.  The general requirement for chef and home cooking individuals is majorly for slicing meats, fish and vegetables. 

Secondly when it comes to the handles, it is ergonomically constructed to enable fatigue free cutting. The design of the handle is so perfect to ensure precise cutting without inducing much brute force.

  • Safety features– They have a full tang of enhanced safety. The handle provides the ultimate grip, so it will not slip even when you use it with wet hands.
  • Design– They have a high quality forged design that make sure it is a must-needed accessory for every kitchen. 
  • Performance– Whether you are slicing a pie from the baking oven or chopping a meat that is fresh out of the grill, it is an ideal kitchen tool for a variety of kitchen tasks. The effortless slicing makes it as an unparalleled match when compared to other Japanese knives. 

The Santoku

An all-purpose knife with a distinctive rounded tip and flatter blade makes it as a great choice for any kind of cutting tasks like chopping, slicing, dicing and mincing. Santoku is a greatest innovation in the industry of kitchen knives.

Many people often think that it is very much similar to Chef’s knife but when you analyze it deeply, you can realize its difference and the better features it offers than the typical chef’s knives. The amazing Japanese blades in Santoku are generally thinner yet made with the harder steel enabling them to make precision cutting.

Santoku Vs Gyuto

Although Gyuto is a slightly better multi-purpose knife, yet Santoku is a better choice for wide range of kitchen tasks. Many people generally doesn’t want to spend extra on the all-purpose knives. If you are budget oriented then obviously Santoku is comparatively cheaper and worth for the money. 

Surprising uses of Santoku knives

  • Used for cutting vegetables, meat and fish. They are very good at thin slicing of vegetables.
  • Since the knives are made of harder steel, they ensure the sharpness of the blade is well-maintained and also it reduces the propensity for chipping.

Santoku Knife Features

Razor sharp edge perfect for fine cuts – When you don’t want to sacrifice your strengths in cutting tasks, then the one piece precision stamped blade in the Santoku knives offers the best solution. The razor sharp edge blades allows for more refined slicing.

Ergonomic handle – If you are looking for a well-balanced knife, then for sure, Santoku is the best option most suitable for your needs. The blades and handle are property weighted to provide the user with the right balance.

Self- sharpening feature – Santoku knives are made of harder steel which are usually single-bevel. These types of knives doesn’t have a bolster and hence quite easy to sharpen at approximately an angle of 10-15 degrees. One of type of Santoku knife known as Sabatier Forged Stainless Steel Santoku Knife has a self-sharpening feature. It has a built-in sharpening technology that guarantees a sharp blade for each use.

Dish-washer safe-Most knives aren’t dishwasher safe however the Santoku is a commercial dishwasher safe knife which is tested and approved by research.  Your dishwasher will take care of the cleaning needs after you are done with mincing, chopping and dicing.

 Must see: 4 Best Ceramic Knife Sharpener in 2021

Some knives are produced by individual crafts people while some are produced in local craft stores whereas some cutleries are manufactured in factories, however Santoku knives are craft produced in industries and hand finished by expertised crafts professional.

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The Sujihiki is a double edge slicing knife with a narrow blade that smoothly slices through the meat or vegetables thereby the integrity of the ingredients are maintained and ultimately gives the best finish to your cuisine. This is a perfect slicing knife intended for slicing protein or to trim away sinew and fat from meat effortlessly.

Features of Sujihiki knives

Style handle– Some types of Santoku knife handles are made with the most traditional choices of wood like magnolia, shitan, pakkawood and ebony. Among the four categories, magnolia is the most favorite choice because it can take a variety of stains.

Type of material used – Although many professional chefs’ major preferences are carbon steel because of the easy sharpening features, however with the new innovation with stainless Sujihiki knives have made it superior. They won’t rust and offer awesome corrosion resistance. Moreover, the clad finishes provide blade strength, functionality and durability.

Benefits and Advantages of Sujihiki Knives

  • Obviously the thinner knife with nicer edge to cut whatever is placed in front of you in a proper form. Anyone can chime in with Santoku knives and make thinner cuts
  • You can experience maximum efficiency with general purpose cutting.
  • They are found as a very cost-effective option when compared to gyuto knives. For example 240mm sujihiki knife cost less than a 240mm gyuto knife. Also, 270mm sujihiki knives cost are comparatively lesser than the 240mm gyuto knives.

The Nakiri

They are Japanese style vegetable knives and majorly utilized in Western kitchen. Designed with a flat blade, the main purpose of the knife is meant for push and pull chopping of the vegetables. It is one of the popular knife among the vegetarians because of the versatility it offers in chopping, slicing and mincing vegetables. 

Some of the top Nakiri knives are

  • Wustof Classic Nakiri – This is one of the best-selling collection for generations. Made of highly durable synthetic materials, they are more resistant to fading and discoloration. One of the best feature of the Wustof Classic Nakiri is its ability to effortless prepare a wide array of fresh produce, which has the potential to stick to the knife blade, say for example rooted vegetables like potatoes, yam etc.
  • Shun Nakiri – Features layers of Damascus steel with a striking hand hammered finish, perfect knife for slicing vegetables.
  • Yoshihiro Nakiri –Designed with a double edged blade, a great knife to have an ever-lasting experience. 

The Other General Rules for choosing the knife

  • Purpose of the knife
  • The design-which involves the making of the knives and the handle shapes
  • Safety features -so you comfortably use for chopping and cutting with a rolling action
  • The type of the blade used-generally longer blade knifes are the preferred choices because they are easy to slice
  • The make of the knife – the higher the carbon content of the steel, the longer the edge will last. 

Closing thoughts

When you consider purchasing a new knife, make certain that the above mentioned top performing qualities are present in your knife.

The Japanese Chef Knife reviews would have definitely helped you in choosing the best knives. Ensure that knives you buy are slimmer, lighter and sharper so the knife enthusiasts will have the best experience with the Japanese Chef’s Knives. 

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