Best Sushi Knife 2017
No where in food preparation is there as much consideration put into the art of the actual dish than with Sushi. From delicate paper thin cuts to intricate designs, the key to great sushi preparation is patience, skill, practice and the best sushi knife.
Traditional sushi knives are called Sashimi knives and come in all shapes and sizes. A high end Sashimi knife literally are passed down from generation to generation thanks to their cost and value to the family. Although it’s possible to buy a sushi knife for relatively little – in this article we are going to focus on the some of the highest rated knives that are available online for ordering. These are the types of knives you are not going to find at Walmart or your local shopping mall and are literally works of handcrafted art.
Typically the base preparation of sushi is created with a variety of knives – but the final dish is the work of the sashimi blade. Here is a list of popular styles of sashimi knives…
- Yankagiba Knife – this is a standard sashimi knife used for cutting rolls and other general tasks.
- Deba Knife – a hard edged blade that works much like a clever and is used for cutting through bone and cartilage.
- Usaba Knive – looks like a clever style knife but has a razor sharp edge and a textured blade side so vegetables don’t stick to the blade.
- Santoku Knive – the Japanese equivilent of the North American chef knife.
Selecting a Quality Knife
The most important element of any knife is its blade – but in the case of a sushi knife, the quality of that blade is critical to achieving the desired result.
When it comes to the blade of sushi knife, it’s made from a variation of a single high grade steel – something the Japanese call Honyaki or from a combination of materials which is called Kasumi. Modern Kasumi knives are typically made with stainless steel and although hold their edge longer – are difficult to sharpen to their original 16 degree edge. You will find that most high end quality sushi knives are made from the Honyaki method – often of blue steel and although require a greater degree of care to prevent rusting – they will last a lifetime.
The Best Sushi Knives in the World
The following are some of the of the best sushi knives on the planet and are available online through Amazon.
Dare to dream – but get out your wallet for this hand crafted sushi masterpiece. This knife is as much an heirloom as a find craftsman tool. This knife is a hand made Blue1 High Carbon Steel limited edition Hontanren namiuchi by Kuniyoshi knife manufacturers and there is only one available in the world for sale – this one. Don’t blame us if it’s gone when you click to see if it is still available on Amazon. This is a most expensive japanese sushi knife in the world.
The Yoshiro Sashimi knife is a seeming bargain compared to the limited edition knife in our number one spot. This Kasumi Yanagi knife is made of shiroko white high carbon steel with a single edged 11.7″ blade. The knife comes with a hand crafted Shitan Rosewood bolster and has a hardness rating of 63 on the Rockwell C Scale. This is a best sushi knife for the money.
The History of Sushi Knives…
As with most Japanese knives, Sushi knives have their roots tied to the sword industry and in fact to the techniques used by the craftsman who produced swords for the Samurai. In the 19th century, in an effort to modernize the country, Samurai swords were made illegal ( along with being a Samurai ) and many of the sword manufacturers turned their efforts to creating knives for cooking and food preparation. Each manufacturer has their own techniques for creating their knives and can date back over a 1000 years of tradition passed down through the generations. These of course are the most prized knives in the world – and many a great chef desires to own the best of that which Japan has become famous for creating. In one region of Japan, knife and sword making dates back to 500 AD. The city of Sakia still produces the best knife in the world using the same techniques their ancestors did more than 1500 years ago.
As I’ve already mentioned, the majority of sushi knives are made of single high-carbon steel. These razor sharp blades are sharpened to a 16 degree edge – in comparison a German steel knife is sharpened to a 22 degree edge. Best Sashimi / Sushi knives have a single beveled edge which keeps food from sticking when cutting it. This means instead of the blade being sharpened on both sides of the knife’s edge to create a V like finish – it is only sharped on one side so that the other side stays flat. Many people find this single / double edge talk confusing – and assume it refers to the top of the knife also being sharpened when a person says double edged blade.
It is because of this sharpening method that best sushi knife in the world are made for right handed cutting, although there are so sharp, the difference is really minimal.
The professional method to cut sushi rolls
It likely isn’t coincidence that the same country that created the legendary Samurai Sword also is so well known for it’s razor sharp kitchen and chef”s knives. In fact, many Japanese knives are still made using ancient traditions passed down for 15 centuries. It also then goes to reason that the same country that produces some of the best knives in the world is also where the artistic gourmet art of sushi originated. Sushi dates back to the Muromachi period (AD 1336–1573 ) and has the traditional name of nare-zushi (馴れ寿司, 熟寿司,).
One of the basis elements of sushi preparation is the cutting of a sushi roll and all though not difficult, still requires technique and practice to not damage the delicate wrap of the roll – be it seaweed, soy paper, cucumber, or shiso perilla leaves. The key is a razor sharp edge with a quick cutting motion that is sure to cut the bottom of the roll cleanly off. Upon each cut, be sure to clean the blade so that it doesn’t stick to the next cut and pull out the rice or ingredients of the role.
Although chef’s will differ on the best knife for cutting sushi rolls, the thinner the blade and sharped the edge the better. Traditionally knives such as Sashimi Knives or Gyuto Knives are used to prepare sushi.
In the video below you can see the proper technique for cutting a sushi roll.
One of the most fascinating knives in the Japanese tradition of food preparation is the Usuba Knife. Usuba Knives are considered a traditional specialty knife by Japanese chefs and are typically used for cutting vegetables in both quantity as well as the knife’s ability to cut intricate or ornate designs. The tall blade provides plenty of clearance for the user’s knuckles and in most cases have very little curve to the blade – almost like a cleaver – but are lighter and more fragile in holding their edge.
Usuba means ” thin blade ” in Japanese and a quality Usuba Knives are made through a process of using a round chisel stone to grind them to a razor thin beveled blade which allows for them to cut vegetables without splitting them. Most Usuba Knives have a hollow back side as part of their construction.
A common variation of the Usuba Knife is the the Kanto knive which has a square tip. The Kansai variation has a spine built into it but in most cases, all of these knives are used for vegetable preperation. The usuba is popular with Kyoto chefs, who use the the knife for most of their cooking tasks which are heavy in vegetable content due to the region being landlocked and no direct access to salt water fish supply like Tokyo does.
If you have a best japanese sushi knife why don’t you write a review and tell us about its strong points and weak points. What do you love about your best knife for cutting sushi? And what do you wish was different?