Knife Buying Guide

Japanese Knife Buying Guide

Santoku, Gyutou, Nakiri & More!

Chef's Knife

Gyuto

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Multipurpose

Santoku

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Utility Knife

Petty

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Vegetable Knife

Nakiri

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Vegetable Knife

Usuba

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Specialty Vegetable & Fruit Knife

Mukimono

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Butchery

Deba / Ajikiri

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Slicer

Sujihiki

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Slicer

Shobu or Yanagiba

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Slicer

Takohiki

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There are many kinds of knives for different culinary purposes. From small petty knives to long Sashimi knives. The proper use of the correct kitchen knife for the correct purpose symbolizes Japanese food culture.

Japanese Knives vs. Western Knives

Non-Japanese knives are a V-shaped 'double-edged' structure with blade cross section symmetrical. Many Japanese knives are based on a single-edged structure. The back is a flat surface, only the front side is an oblique grinding surface, and when looking at the cutting edge from the side, the section looks like "レ". Compared to double-edged version, single-edged knives make it easy to remove the blade when cutting food.  This allows for a chef to quickly perform operations such as carving and stripping.  The motion to use when cutting with a Japanese knife is generally a sliding motion, rather than pushing down.  This helps to use the sharpness of the blade.

Low grade kitchen knives create rough surfaces on items they cut. This is because it cuts cells, and it starts to oxidize quickly. Meanwhile, a sharp knife will not cut unnecessary cells and will improve the texture and taste. This allows the sliced food to last longer before going bad.  Additionally, with the quality of the steel even if you keep using it, the sharpness hardly falls.