Whether you’re a newbie in the kitchen or a culinary pro, having the right tools for the job is essential. And if you’re looking to up your cooking game, you can’t go wrong purchasing a Japanese kitchen knife. Unlike standard cooking knives, a Japanese kitchen knife gives you unmatched precision for chopping and, when properly cared for, can last a lifetime.
But from browsing a Santoku knife to a Nakiri knife, how do you know which option is right for you? This article will help you choose the best Japanese kitchen knife for your needs!
Choosing a Japanese knife
Japanese knives are best known for their sharpness, precision and edge retention, thanks to their high-quality steel. They can separate meat from the bone with little to no resistance, and are balanced perfectly for their users. While there are a wide variety of Japanese steels used, what sets Japanese kitchen knives apart from European kitchen knives is the carbon content and the attributes of the steel. These steels typically have a higher carbon content which makes them harder, allowing for thinner blades and an edge that retains its sharpness for long periods of time.
The types of Japanese knives
There are three primary varieties of Japanese kitchen knives that are the most commonly used. Let’s explore these different Japanese types and take a closer look at how they can be utilized in your kitchen.
Santoku knife —Santoku means ‘three uses’ in Japanese, which means your Santoku knife can be used three ways: for fish, meat and vegetables. With this knife, you can slice, dice and mince whatever comes across your benchtop.
Nakiri knife — A Nakiri knife is perfect for slicing, mincing or chopping your vegetables. Featuring a rectangular design and thin blade, chefs can effortlessly work their way through preparing vegetables, making it an ideal option for vegetarians or vegans.
Gyuto knife —Gyuto knives are classified as all-rounders. This is the Japanese Chefs Knife and it can be used for chopping, slicing, disjointing some cuts, dicing, and julienning. It is big enough to handle most meats as well as vegetables such as cabbage and carrots. If you’re looking for a one-and-done Japanese knife, the gyuto knife is the way to go.
How do you care for a Japanese knife?
As Japanese knives are made with high-quality steel, adequate care is required to ensure they last. Japanese knives are best used on a wood end-grain cutting boards, preventing damage and preserving the sharpness of the blade.
Once you are done using the knife, hand wash immediately with a soft detergent. Dry with a clean cloth and store them in a cool, dry place. Japanese knives should also never be run through a dishwasher.
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With their beauty, expert craftsmanship, and durability, these Japanese kitchen knives are essential for anyone passionate about food preparation. However, before you purchase a Japanese knife, it's important to know what knife is used for what task. This will extend the longevity of your knives and simplify everything from chopping meat to mincing herbs.
So, you might be wondering what makes a Japanese knife the preferred tool of choice by some of the world’s top chefs. A good knife can make all the difference in the quality of your prep work. Japanese knives are lighter, thinner, harder and overall more balanced than other knives.
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