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Top 14 Best Japanese Nakiri Knife In 2023

Brandon Forder
  May 31, 2023 5:32 PM

In traditional Japanese households, the nakiri bocho, or nakiri, was one of the most essential knives. nakiri bocho, which can be roughly translated as "leaf-cutting knife," is used to prepare the vegetables that are the backbone of Japanese cooking. Its rectangular blade is rather straight and blunt towards the end. If you have a lot of leeks or carrots that need chopping, the edge will help you make more contact with the board. The relatively straight blade requires a more or less up-and-down motion when cutting, as opposed to the rocking action used with a Western knife. Blades that are rather tall from cutting edge to spine are ideal for keeping large items or heaps of greens in line as you work your way through them, facilitating the creation of clean, uniform slices. When you're done chopping, you can use it to collect the leftover bits of food.


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Buying Guide

Blade length & size

Indeed, size does matter:D

Similarly, this rule is applicable in this situation. Nakiri knives are unique in that the entire blade is put to use. But how big of a nakiri knife is ideal?

Okay, that's a good question.

Most nakiri bocho knives are between 5 and 7 inches long. They can be divided into two classes, then.

Short nakiris ( 5 inches)

For the push-cutting method, a shorter nakiss will provide you more control of the blade.

Nakiri knives are traditionally short, so if you're just starting out or have a small kitchen, you might want to go for a shorter model.

Long nakiris ( 7 inches)

This model is great for businesses and tap choppers. More cuts can be made due to the longer blade.

As an added bonus, it works wonderfully for those who like to go the dishonest route and employ nakiri in all situations.

Sharpness

The quality of the blade's edge depends on the substance it is made of (blade steel type). To put it simply, the amount of carbon in the steel determines one of two distinct types.

Blades forged from high-carbon steel are typically more formidable. This makes them much sharper and better at holding an edge. In addition, they are simple to sharpen.

It's important to keep in mind that if you treat a knife carelessly, the high carbon steel it's made of will rust and chip.

Low Carbon A lower carbon content makes for a harder, yet more pliable, blade. You can sidestep the problems associated with microchips in this way.

That means you'll need to sharpen it more often because it will wear out quicker.

Selecting a knife made of medium-to-high carbon stainless steel offers the optimal balance between edge retention and corrosion resistance.

Pick a knife that comes pre-sharpened and ready to use. One may easily cut through paper with a sharp knife. That is the only way to put them to the test.

Blade angle

Many people don't realize that the angle at which a Japanese knife's blade is sharpened determines whether or not it is "right-handed" for the user. Nearly all nakiris are symmetrical and may be used equally well by either the left or right hand. When compared to the narrow blade of a gyutou, a nakiri has a thicker spine and a razor-sharp blade.

Weight

In general, most people find that Japanese knives are far lighter than those made in Germany or France. Compared to a gyutou, a nakiri vegetable knife is often larger in size. This extra heft makes it much simpler to slice veggies, even fibrous, tough ones.

Handle

There are essentially two distinct handle designs for Japanese knives. To begin, it has a comfortable, western-style handle and a blade that is securely fastened with rivets, much like any high-quality knife. Second, a ferrule, typically made of horn, connects the blade to the handle, which is typically circular, D-shaped, or octagonal in Japanese design. While magnolia has traditionally been utilized, more expensive options like ebony, rosewood, and walnut are readily accessible. The natural wood of the handle makes for a pleasant grip, and its adaptability to different activities and angles makes it a popular choice.

Cutting

A knife's ability to cut depends on how sharp its blade is. While results can vary depending on the specific vegetable in question, it's best to equip yourself with a blade that can handle a wide variety of tasks. Choose a blade that is made for chopping root vegetables if you frequently use them in your cooking.

Balance

Where your knife's center of gravity is located determines how well it balances in your hand. This is the center of gravity, where your knife will be perfectly balanced. The handle is often the heaviest part of a nakiri knife, making it the focal point. When looking for a knife, it's important to pick one that is balanced on the handle around the point where the blade begins.

Comfort

The design and quality of the handle, as well as the overall knife weight, all contribute to how effectively a knife works in the hand.

Check that the handle is not too slippery, has a good grip, and is easy to hold. There is plenty of space for your knuckles, so be careful.

Grip the knife with a pinch grip and check that the spine or bolster is curved or at least smooth. You can avoid obtaining a callus on your index finger by preparing a few large meals in advance using this method.

A heavier blade will cause wrist fatigue, even though nakiri knives are 40% lighter than other varieties with the same length. Therefore, this is still another indicator to examine.

From my own experience, I have found that a weight of 4.5–6.7 ounces strikes an excellent balance between practicality (provided by enough heft) and convenience (provided by manageable size).

Durability

Considering the product's longevity is crucial when choosing a substantial purchase for the kitchen. This is especially crucial to keep in mind when working with nakiri knives, as even the best knives won't survive forever without proper maintenance. Keep the blade out of the elements and avoid over-drying the handle to prevent it from cracking and breaking.

Price

Finally, when selecting a Japanese knife, cost is typically an important consideration. All price points are accommodated with our extensive selection of nakiri blades. Lines like Tojiro Fujitora DP, which are aimed at the entry-level market, offer an excellent value for a knife that is crafted with a high level of care and attention to detail. Our Kazan SRS-13 series features more expensive materials like high-tech steels and premium handles. Finally, master blacksmith-forged blades and knives crafted entirely by hand by knifemakers will be charged in accordance with the quality of the materials used and the time and effort invested in their creation. Because knives by masters like Itsuo Doi are produced in limited quantities and are intended to last a lifetime, their high pricing are not surprising.


FAQS

What is a nakiri knife used for?

To prepare vegetables, a nakiri knife is typically used. Its small, sharp blade is great for making precise cuts without causing any bruises.

Are nakiri knives worth it?

There is no finer knife than this one for the avid veggie cook. Cutting little matchsticks or slicing vegetables with surgical accuracy is a breeze with the long, straight blade.

Can you use a nakiri knife for everything?

While a nakiri may theoretically be used to chop anything, some chefs may miss having a pointed tip to help them score veggies and proteins and get past obstacles.

Can Nakiri knives cut meat?

A nakiri can be used to cut boneless proteins, however a tiny, gyutou, sujihiki, or honesuki is recommended for lengthy slicing cuts or for navigating around bones and joints.

Is a nakiri knife difficult to use?

While the nakiri knife does need for some skill to use effectively, anyone can learn the basics quickly. Since it performs best with mild and gentle strokes, learning to use this knife is a breeze.


Conclusion

It is not hard to find a suitable nakiri blade. Both of these blades can be easily sharpened and will last you a long time. You won't be sorry you bought one of these knives once you've tried out the convenience and accuracy for yourself.


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