- October 27 2015
What makes a knife is good/bad? How To Choose Your Kitchen Knife For Domestic Use
Japanese knives are some of the most popular souvenirs called “Hocho Knives.”
They are attracting increasing attention due to their sharpness for both domestic and professional use. Ever since Sushi restaurants began spreading all over the world and became increasingly common in even the least cosmopolitan areas, Japanese knives have been getting more attention from chefs.
You think Japanese knives are too expensive back home? Why not get one while you stay in Japan? You can get a good quality knife in the ¥5,000-¥10,000 yen price range! You can find so many tourists from overseas in Kappabashi, the famous kitchen supply district.
Don't know which one suits you the most? I know I know...
What makes a knife is good/bad? What kind of knives are available and for what?
You may have a thousand questions before buying one. That is definitely normal. Let me tell you things that help you choose.
Kinds Of Basic Japanese Hocho Knives
When you choose a knife, you need to think about which kind and what material.
When you say Japanese knife, it could be Usuba Bocho (for cutting vegitables), Yanagiba Bocho (for slicing Sashimi), or Deba Bocho (for cut up meat/fish)... There are even Hocho knives for specifically puffer fish or horse mackerel...but you don't have that much space for all these knives unless you are chef...right?
So, I will introduce three Japanese standard, all-around knives!
1) Gyuto Knife; French Meets Japanese!
Gyuto knife is most popular with tourists from overseas. The origin of the knife is a multi-use French knife which was been imported to Japan. Many of you are familiar with this shape. A French appearance with Japanese blade sharpness...tempting, huh?
This knife is long and thin, so you can use it for not only cutting large lumps of meats/veggies, but slicing small things.
2) Santoku Knife; Japanese Multi Use Hocho!
Santoku knife is a newer kind of knife. It’s popular with Japanese people as the first knife in their household.
Compare to Gyuto knife, this one is shorter, rounder, and wider. Because of its width, anyone can cut objects straight without shaking even if you are not an amazing chef!
Santoku knife is also good for smaller kitchens.
3) Small But Useful; Paring Knife!
A paring knife is great for chopping small things such as vegetables or fruits. You'll love adding this small, yet useful knife to your collection! This knife is easier to handle and to bring back home with you!
The above three types of knives are my recommendation as domestic use knives. As for my favorite? It’s the Gyuto knife!
Now I will show you the kinds of materials that make up the knives!
1) Easier Care! Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is one of the standard and popular materials of knife. It resists rust and is easy to sharpen, so it is easy to maintain! Stainless steel became a popular part of knife sales in each cutlery type. You will also enjoy its sharpness and hardness!
All-stainless knives with continuous handles are especially well designed and cool looking...and you can sanitize them by putting them in boiling water! KAI is one of the most popular Japanese cutlery brands overseas.
2) Are You An Expert? Carbon Steel
Carbon Steel is very hard and sharp, much more than any other material. This is more likely for professionals and experts. I say that because they get rusty pretty quickly if you don't take proper care...yes, she is high-maintenance!
3) Carbon x Stainless Hybrid! Damascus
Can you imagine if your knife has Carbon Steel's sharpness and is easy to maintain like Stainless Steel? That would make your cooking time fun and easy, right?
Here is the Damascus knife! It has steel in its core and it is coated with 2 kinds of stainless-steel layers.
It looks beautiful and uniquely-designed knife that is another reason that makes the Damascus knife popular. If you are interested, please see "The Hottest Kitchen Tool...Japanese Damascus Knife!"!
4) Affordable and Long Life! Ceramic
Ceramic knife is the new wave of cutlery! Yes, it is made of ceramic which is mostly used for china. Does it look a bit fragile to you? Well, ceramic knives are very sharp, hard and don’t rust. It is another type of low-maintenance knife.
This ceramic knife is not so good when it comes to cutting hard objects...but hey, it’s not too expensive to try! The price range is ¥5,000, so most people simply replace a knife when it gets dull or chipped.
KYOCERA is the most popular maker of ceramic knives. Their ceramic knives are well designed, so this is a popular souvenir among tourists as well. <!-- Please see this article if you want to know more about ceramic knives "Hot Item As Souvenir...Japanese Ceramic Knives!".-->
Alright! Are you interested in these Japanese Hocho knives? I hope this helps you to choose the one that suits you.
Oh, and I guess you already know about it, but let me remind you of one thing; you cannot carry these knives with you on the airplane, but you can put them in your check-in luggage. Please make sure you find a good place for the latest addition to your kitchen while traveling back home!
People say maintenance is more important than having a good knife. If you’re unsure of how to care your knife, please see "How To Sharpen a Knife? Taking Good Care Of Your Hocho Knife!".