Note: Many of these knives are made with carbon steel, which requires extra care to avoid staining and rusting. Make sure to read up carefully on the care instructions when purchasing one of these blades to ensure it has a long life in your kitchen. You certainly don’t want to spend a couple hundred bucks on a knife only to have to not usable after a few months.
Aritsugu is one of the oldest knife shops in Japan; it started out making swords for the Imperial Family in 1560. This Yanagi knife is handcrafted by forging carbon steel with iron, which creates a knife that is less brittle and easier to sharpen. Itâs ideal for slicing raw fish, carving meat, or cutting vegetablesÂ into paper-thin slices. If you happen to visit Kyoto, make sure to check out the shop in Nishiki Market where you can have this knife custom-engraved with purchase.
This do-it-all knife is great for chopping vegetables, mincing garlic, and everything in between. The inner core is forged with carbon steel and finished with two layers of stainless steel on the outside. Not only does the hammered texture look beautiful, but it also creates friction so food sticks to the blade less.
As one of the most prestigious Japanese knife brands, you canât go wrong with a Masahiro. The blade is asymmetrical — 80% of the cutting edge is on the front side of the knife, which gives you the power to make more precise cuts. The ergonomic laminated wood handle makes this lightweight 6-inch knife as durable as it is user-friendly.
This knife is designed with a High Speed Powdered Steel (HSPS) core, which is an extraordinarily hard material thatâs used to make tools like drills and power saws. For the true meat enthusiast, the bladeâs pointed tip makes it ideal for running along cartilage, bones, and joints when breaking down larger cuts of meat. Takamura knives have extremely sharp edges, so be sure your knife skills are advanced before purchasing this blade.
Misono is known for its high-quality knives that are a perfect hybrid of Japanese and Western-style cutlery. This paring knife has a thin, lightweight blade thatâs perfect for everything from de-veining shrimp to removing the seeds from a chili pepper. For a tool that youâll likely use every day, you canât beat the price of this kitchen essential.
An all-purpose chefâs knife, the Tojiro DP Gyutou knife features a full tang 3-ply construction that ensconces a core of VG-10 super steel with a 60+ Rockwell hardness. A triple-riveted handle adds weight and balance to the knife, allowing you to do just about anything you need to in the kitchen.
If your knife set is going to be complete, then youâre going to want to have a vegetable knife on hand. Made for rapid chopping, this Nakiri Vegetable knife not only gets the job done, but it does so with beauty and easy. Made in the traditional three-step Honbazuke method, the blade is made of 66 layers of AUS-10V Japanese super steel, which has a 62+ Rockwell hardness. With an ergonomic handle and a blade spine made for the standard pinch grip, youâll be able to chop, slice, and scoop without danger to your digits.
While you may not make sashimi every day of the week, if you are invested in learning more about Japanese knives and Japanese cuisine, you might come to a point where you do indeed need a sashimi knife. Single-edged, the Masamoto Sashimi Knife is made of cobalt alloy stainless steel; in other words, youâll have to spend less time on maintenance (that being said, any high-quality knife should be attended to regularly).
Made from Cobalt stain-resistant steel, this Santoku knife from Masanobu was developed using both traditional Japanese knife-crafting methods and contemporary laser technology. Being a Santoku knife (âSantokuâ meaning âthree virtuesâ) the knife can break down meat as easily as it can fish or vegetables. As a bonus, you can also find a left-handed model if needed.
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