When we talk about making blades, there’s no doubt to the fact that Japanese are the best in the industry. We all know how they have skilfully created the remarkable and iconic Samurai swords, aren’t we?
Do you know that these authentic blades can be sold for as high as over $400,000?
Well, this is such an interesting fact, but we’re not here to talk about the Samurai swords. We’re here to discuss the blades used in the kitchen and discover the best Japanese knives available.
Japanese kitchen knives are one of the most popular types of knives in the world. You will be truly impressed with these knives, especially if you want something that is durable, long-lasting and can slice with ease.
They are made from high-quality materials that stay sharp even if being used after so many years.
Most Common Types of Japanese Kitchen Knives and Their Uses
The Japanese endeavored to preserve their traditional cuisine and aims to bring out the authentic flavors of fresh ingredients; they do this by making their own knife which is very necessary for the process.
There are actually different types of Japanese knives, and each of it comes with distinct cutlery functions. Let’s take a look of the most common ones as well as their uses:
Its name Gyutou literally translates to "beef sword" and this product just really stands for its name. Gyutou is one of the best Japanese knives and is multipurpose that you can use it in almost every kitchen chore that it is required to be.
It works perfectly in slicing all types of meat. This knife is way better compared to its European equivalents; it is lighter and much thinner.
This type of Japanese knife has been originated in Kansai region of Osaka. Its primary function is to slice boneless fish fillets as the main ingredient to sashimi or as topping to sushi.
What’s great about Yanagi knife, which measures about 8 to 12 inches long, is its ability to precise slice in one long, drawing stroke; this is the result from its beautiful, thin blade.
I love using my Yanagi knife as it works perfectly in filleting a whole salmon fish. See "How to fillet a Whole Salmon":
The Takobiki is very similar to Yanagi since it is being used in slicing straight-cut sashimi. Its body has been made from a very thin blade making it even easier to cut thin slices of fish compared to Yanagi. It also has a dull and square tip so you can avoid cutting yourself.
This knife, which originated in the Kanto region of Tokyo, gets its name from octopus (tako) since it works perfectly on ingredients that are difficult to cut like the octopus and eel.
Unlike Yanagi and Takobiki, a Deba knife is composed of thick spine and blade. It is also heavier while its edge is single-sided and has a gentle curve. They are best used to fillet large fish as well as to butcher poultry.
Santoku is another Japanese kitchen knife that comes with a general purpose. In fact, the word santoku is a Japanese term that refers to the “three virtues” of the knife: the capability to cut fish, meat and produce.
It has a similar look to the regular cook's knife, but it is thinner, shorter and suppler. But it’s blade is taller than gyuto’s, so it is easier to make any several up-and-down chopping motions. This knife is also less vulnerable to rock among others.
Five of the Best Japanese Knives
How to Take Care of Your Japanese Knife
Owning a Japanese knife is really a privilege and a long-term investment. Some are even saying that it’s the best knife in the world. Hence, it is reasonable enough that we know how to take care of it.
Here are some helpful tips for you.
1. Make sure to wash and dry your knife immediately after use. You can use a soft cloth to wipe your blade. Don't use abrasive dish scrubbers as it will ruin the finish of your knife.
2. Don’t place it in the dishwasher. The hot temperature, as well as the harsh chemicals, will only cause damage to the blade’s quality and may even deteriorate its handle.
3. Don't cut on hard surfaces such as your granite table top or stainless sink; this will only make your sharp knife turn dull very quickly. We don't want to shorten the lifespan of our knife, so only use chopping board made of wood or plastic.
4. Store your knives properly; make sure that the blades won’t be hitting into each other.
5. If you want your knife sharpened, only go to a reputable sharpener skilled in Japanese knives, but if you can’t find one, don’t sharpen it on a hot grinder or belt sander. You can also use Japanese water stones.
6. Though all of the products mentioned above are clad in stainless steel to make sure that they will be resistant to rust, the exposed carbon steel core found at the cutting edge can be prone to rust. So if it gets rusty or darkened, learn the proper way to clean it and remove the rust immediately to avoid it from spreading.
7. I know that Japanese knives come in multi-purpose but think about its limitations too; don't use it as a screwdriver, can opener, etc.
We’ve come to the end of our list of best Japanese knives. I’m sure you are now so excited to try out your very own Japanese knife. There must really be a reason why even the best chefs in town prefer to use this type of knife.
Did you find which one suits you among the five products above? Well, all these products are highly recommended, but the Chef's Knife 8 Inch by Kurouto Kitchenware is the sure winner for me. I love how this knife allows me to precisely cut my ingredients and of course, its life-sharp guarantee is one of a kind.
How about you? Which one’s for you is the best? Let me know by leaving some comments below. Don’t forget to share this article with your friends too! We’d also love to help them come up with the best choice.