Today, Japanese kitchen knives are dominating the kitchen scene, especially in the numerous cooking TV shows in Japan and around the entire world. There are three main types of traditional Japanese kitchen knives: the usuba, the deba, and the yanagiba.
Now due to their popularity, one of the main problems that are being faced by the makers of the Japanese kitchen knives is forgery. As a shopper you need to learn how to distinguish an original from the faked ones so you can avoid becoming a victim of the forgers. Japanese knives are lightweight and have sharp edges. Their steel blades are hard unlike the fake ones which can be more flexible. The unbending characteristic of Japanese chef knives makes it easier to maintain their sharpness. One important safety tip is that the Japanese chef knives must always be hand washed. This is an essential tip to remember to avoid damaging their blades.
Japan is the only country that has its own technique in designing kitchen knives. Initially, the Japanese knives were created to satisfy the unique cutting needs that the Japanese people had in preparing their own type of food, such as sushi. Slicing raw fish with great precision was a fundamental consideration for the creation of Japanese chef knives. Go to a Japanese restaurant and you will see how particular the chefs are with their preparation of delicate raw fish slices and the quick chopping of raw vegetables. Their finesse is all due to the exacting standards of japanese kitchen knives.
The sushi knife in particular has been designed to make perfect slices of raw fish with the subtlest cutting motion. Perhaps the most recognizable of the Japanese chef knives is the supremely versatile santoku knife. If differs from all the others with its unique finish and style. Its blade has a flat edge with distinct markings. Due to its unique design and functional style the santoku is among the most celebrated of the Japanese kitchen knives and it even preferred by the celebrity chefs on television.
Japanese kitchen knives have recently been introduced in the other parts of the world. The problem, however, is that not everyone has the skills to use the knives properly, which diminishes their reputation and for some people can be a total waste of money. Certain shoppers just want to be the envy of their friends but in the end they have bought something that they can never utilize to its fullest potential. To this end you should take time to familiarize yourself with your particular culinary needs and desires.
One great source of information is the book entitled Japanese Kitchen Knives which was created by the internationally recognized chef Hiromitsu Nozaki. In this book, he demonstrates the proper usage of Japanese kitchen knives as well the best way to care, store, and sharpen the knives.
Understanding the correct way of using the various chef knives is the only way to fully appreciate your investment and get the most satisfaction from your purchase. These knives will compliment any kitchen but you should understand their proper function while cutting including how to hold the knife with the optimum blade angle and the using the correct point of force.