Japanese Kitchen Knives

Japanese Kitchen Knives

Traditional Japanese knives come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, which are designed to perform specific tasks, like butchering meat and fish and cutting vegetables, noodles, sashimi, eel, or blowfish. Here’s a closer look at some of the more common styles.

Bunka Knife – This general purpose knife has been designed with a wide blade and triangular shaped tip which makes it suitable for chopping vegetables, fish and meat.

Gyuto Knife – Literally translating to “cow sword” you can probably guess that this style is best used for slicing, dicing and mincing meat. Also a general purpose this is basically a Japanese version of the Western Chefs Knife.

Santoku Knife – Perfect for precision cutting of and meat and veg into thin julienne slices. The wide blade is also really useful for scooping the food from the chopping board. This is still a decent sized knife and can be used for general purpose.

Kiritsuke Knife – Kiritsuke translates to “slit open”. This knife is a cross between a Yanagi and an Usuba which make it suited for both raw fish and vegetables that need to be sliced extremely thin or julienned. This knife is best suited to the experienced chef when being used for very delicate slicing.

Yanagiba Knife – Yanagiba means “willow blade” and is perfectly designed for preparation of Sushi and Sashimi fish that needs to be sliced, filleted or skinned. This is a great knife if you’re fan of making raw fish dishes; the long blade allows you to cut the fish from top to bottom in one go. With an extremely sharp blade damage is prevented to the flesh which ensures the fish retains its flavour and texture. This knife can also be used for slicing raw boneless meat and chicken.

Sujihiki Knife – This name translates to ‘flesh slicer’ and is best utilised for slicing and filleting meat and fish. In particular it’s useful for slicing boneless fish, meat and in trimming the sinew and fat away from the bones; made easy by the long, narrow shape of the blade.

Garasuki Knife – A beautiful knife for butchering duties, the wedge shaped blade performs best when cutting and deboning chicken, beef and pork. It also does a very nice job of filleting fish.

Deba Knife – Deba translates as “short fat tooth” which is a fairly good description! One of the 3 traditional Japanese knives along with the Usuba and the Yanagiba. It’s traditional use is for whole fish prep and is great for cleaning, portioning, removing heads and fins and filleting. It’s common use now is in break down preparation of chicken, poultry and other meat with small bones.

Usuba Knife – This is a thin and sharp traditional Japanese style vegetable knife (also often used by Sushi chefs due to its design for precision cutting) and the sharpness of the blade is meant to minimise the oxidation in fruit and veg which can lead to a change in flavour and discolouration.

Nakiri Knife – Meaning “Leaf cutter” this is the knife you want for alllll the mincing, slicing and dicing of the veggies. A traditional Japanese style that is perfect for the little jobs; herb chopping and finely cutting up garlic.

Burja Knife – The first Japanese made knife designed specifically for slicing prosciutto. Burja is actually a word from Slovenia and means the cold, dry gusts of wind from the Northeast that hit Italy. The wind creates a great climate for ageing prosciutto. With a hard yet still flexible blade, you can slice prosciutto (as well as other meats and fish) into paper thin slices easily.

While we don't keep them all in stock, The Norseman will usually have Kiritsuke, Deba and Nakiri ready to go. For all the others, our highly trained Blacksmiths are able to make one especially for you!

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