Japanese knives are some of the best kitchen knives in the world.The Japanese are known for their delicate knife work on food, especially when making sashimi and sushi. They are so particular about the preparation of food that they made their own kitchen knives to cater for their highly skilled filleting of fish. This is why all Japanese kitchen knives have that signature razor-like edge.
The Japanese chef knives are usually very precise in slicing and are able to make paper-thin cuts. Not everyone is suited to hold a Japanese knife though, because the blades are often thin and made of hard steel. If handled without care, they may break.
Best Japanese Chef Knives
It is the best Japanese chef knife and one of the best chef knives made of hard VG-10 steel, which is a high carbon steel made and graded in Japan. The heft and edge combines for an easy drop and maneuver, so you can use it to cut thick slabs of meat or fish without fail.
If you fancy a more premium Japanese kitchen knife (read as expensive professional knife), go for the Shun Premier. At about $40 more than the Shun Classic, this gorgeous Damascus layered chef knife makes you capable of cuts you were never able to make (beautiful and even slices for everything from fruit to tough steak shoulder).
On the other hand, if you love the Damascus design but budget doesn’t allow you to make that extravagant purchase, try this Yoshihiro Gyuto knife. A Gyuto knife is a Japanese chef knife. The Yoshihiro Gyuto knife gets you the best of both worlds, priced around the range of a Shun Classic, but comes in beautiful hammered layers of VG-10 steel.
The full tang of the Yoshihiro Gyuto knife is bolstered in mahogany wood with a polished shine. I love that this Japanese chef knife comes in the less common 7-inch size as well as the standard 8-inch size.
I also love how the V-shaped beveled edge retains its sharpness and you can bet it is really sharp out of the box. For this chef knife I recommend using only sharpening stones or ceramic sharpeners instead of a sharpening steel for edge maintenance.
Best Japanese Kitchen Knife Sets
For me, the best Japanese kitchen knives set would be a whole set of Shun Classic knives, complete with all the necessary knives, shears, sharpening steel and a nice bamboo block. Although this is the best bargain ever (one Shun knife costs over $100 while this 7-piece set is priced below $500!) I know many would consider this a luxury purchase.
A budget-friendly set of Japanese kitchen knives that is of decent and commendable quality is the Ginsu Chikara knife set that I recommend to every college student who wanted to cook with Japanese knives.
This forged knives set is also great for anyone looking for a cheap kitchen knives set to start out in cooking, whether or not they prefer Japanese knives. For a cheap set of knives, the Ginsu Chikara knives have pretty good balance and enough heft to feel good in the hand.
These knives hold up pretty well as long as you remember to hone them and wipe them dry after each wash. They’re stainless steel so if left to drip dry there may be water marks that eventually lead to discoloration.
Best Japanese Utility Knife
The Japanese utility knife is known as a Santoku knife, and it is becoming more popular because of its better edge retention compared to the common utility knife. The Santoku knife is however, shaped differently from the common utility knife and requires a different cutting technique.
For a decent Santoku knife, there’s no need to pay a fortune. This Kershaw Santoku knife is light, handy and sharp, and the best thing is that it comes for less than $15. This Japanese knife is really good for quickly prepping the veggies and it’s easy to maneuver because of the 6.5-inch size, great grip and thin blade.
I love that the paint (food grade) never come off and the hollow ground blade helps avoid sticking. It’s really easy to clean this knife and maintenance is simply a quick run through the sharpener.
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