Kiwi Thai Knife

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by skokie, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. skokie

    skokie

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    So it turns out that I absolutely love these Kiwi Thai knives (as my chef cousin called it). It looks like the image below. They are dirt cheap in price, but unfortunately also in quality (CANT HOLD AN EDGE AT ALL!) 

    Does a high quality version of this knife exist (I cant find it)? If not, is there a santoku that is extremely similar?

     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  2. harrisonh

    harrisonh

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    kiwi is a low quality knife even for a home user.

    You might want to google the term "usaba" or the term "nakiri" which are the similar shape and does the same job function as that kiwi (they sell other models as well as the one pictured) as that knife but with MUCH better steel and a much better handle.

    Be careful when you purchace one of those to double check if it is double bevel (normal 50/50% bevel like a western knife) or whther it is right handed or left handed. It comes all three ways.

    You can also try a short CCK (Chinese Chefs Knife) like the famous or infamous Dexter 5197. 5197's are dirt cheap, they take a good edge, but do need to be sharpened often (not nearly as much as a kiwi)  and you MUST keep it dry. It is high carbon steel and WILL discolor and develop a patina (which is considered "cool"). And they can rust of not properly taken care of. Thousands of professional working chefs and many more home cooks have used this so much that it's recognized by it's model number. Any working pro will know what you mean by a 5197 or a 5198 (a CCK that looks like, but is not a cleaver)

    Usaba's and Nakiris com in all price and quality ranges from home cook level like caphalon, to working line cook level (wusthof, mercer, etc) to gourmet home cook (shun) to super high end chef level knives. And again, make sure you ask, double bevel, left handed or right handed/
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  3. gladius

    gladius

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    Correction: CCK does not stand for "Chinese Chefs Knife" but rather "Chan Chi Kee". They're well known, though, for their Chinese "cleavers" aka Chinese chef's knives.
     
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  4. harrisonh

    harrisonh

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    yes, CCK does mean Chan Chi Kee. I just used the "common name". But I guess if I was saying other terms like nakiri and usaba, I guess I should have also just used Chan Chi Kee too. Thanks for correcting me.

    Yes, there are some terrific CCK's in really good steel too and you can choose a heavy one like a cleaver or a light one. I was more speaking in terms of the light ones like the Kiwi in the picture. and the 5197 is a huge step up for a very very low price.

    I personally wouldn't use a 5197 as a cleaver llike you can use a heavy CCK, but it makes a great upgrade from the kiwi at very low price.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  5. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    The point was that CCK is the name of a company.  Dexter is a totally different company.  Calling every cai dao (a vegetable cleaver) a CCK is confusing.  Don't make up terms.

    Also don't get an usuba.
     
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  6. minas6907

    minas6907

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    Haha, ive seen that knife, in the kitchen I work in in fact. I have a co worker who swears by the quality of kiwi, although im not really sure why, because her blade in bent all over the place. She also sharpens it daily on the lowest grit stone we have, thats how she gets through the day cooking. Shes had it for years and continues to use it even though the handle is chipping away, and there are commercial knives that would do a much better job then the kiwi for an affordable price. But it doesnt surprise me, she brings in other cooking supplies that she got at TJ Maxx. Not a very bright person. Id look for a santoku that suits you, dont buy junk like this unless you want to throw it away and start with a new one every month.
     
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  7. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    Kiwi is effective cause it's so thin.    It is also is way too flexible, and made of soft stainless steel that doesn't hold an edge well.

    I read somewhere that Kiwi is used by street vendors the most.  In Thai restaurant kitchens they use Kom Kom or Penguin brands more.
     
  8. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    The following review of Kiwi knives was by Snappy Hat:  http://www.cheftalk.com/t/64354/kiwi-brand-knives  (Post #26)

    Kiwi knives have changed my life.    My teeth are whiter, my clothes brighter , my car runs faster, girls throw themselves at me and I just won a lottery.

    When I used just my MACs and Wusthofs my wife left me , my dog would bite me whilst I  slept and my house caught on fire..

    No more now that I own a light as air sharper than sharp Kiwi . 

    The Devil just made me post this

    GS
     
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  9. gladius

    gladius

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    The Andy who popularized Chinese cleavers on various knife forums said that a ~$20 Town Food Service cleaver was almost as thin as a CCK of comparable length and width and had pretty similar F&F and edge properties. That particular model seems to be out of production, but their current thin carbon slicer (47372) runs around $10 on various sites. If it's anything like the one Andy mentioned, it might very well be in the ballpark of what you're looking for.
     
  10. knifeforhire

    knifeforhire

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    Kom-Kom is a slightly higher grade of knife made by the same company that turns out the Kiwi blades. On my last trip to Thailand I discovered the Penguin brand knives that seemed to be favored by more pros than the Kiwis. Really like the Penguin version of the Thai cleaver knife I brought home. Still a little thin  for all round use but it works well for many Thai dishes.  Unfortunately, I don't know a source for the Penguin line in the U.S.   
     
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  11. galley swiller

    galley swiller

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    A very quick Amazon.com and eBay search showed several cai dao knives being sold under the Penguin name on each site.  The cheapest price was Amazon, where the price was $11.50 and included free shipping (probably only if you were buying more than $35 in the same order, if I recall Amazon's shipping pricing).  The eBay seller I saw was asking about $24 and was shipping directly from Thailand.

    That being said, can't say I am all that familiar with Penguin knives.  My only Kiwi knife (a nakiri) was nothing that I would want to keep, except as a reference.  Really thin knife (somewhere about 0.05 inch blade thickness).

    If I was looking for something that was quite a bit better steel and a comparable profile and thickness, I might consider a MAC Chef Series 8-1/2 inch HB-85 knife, which is 2.0 mm thick, and weighs 4.9 oz.  It's not exactly a cai dao shape (it's really a gyuto), but at 2.0mm thicknessit's really thin and the street price through eBay sellers is just at the $70 mark.  (Posted retail is $82.50).

    Hope that helps

    Galley Swiller
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  12. knifeforhire

    knifeforhire

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    Things are always changing on E-bay but when I ordered what I thought was the same Penguin Thai cleaver style knife I brought  home off a dealer in Thailand I received a blade of the general shape but smaller. Makes a good general purpose utility knife but not as good for Thai cooking. I also bought a Penguin western style butcher knife from the same dealer. In my opinion It is too thin for most meat cutting uses.
     
  13. knifeforhire

    knifeforhire

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    I took a look at that one on Amazon and I think it is the smaller version too. The one I brought home is a bit over 8-inches in blade length and a little wider than the Kiwi versions of the same pattern. P.S. I don't consider these cai dao as that is a particular pattern of Chinese cleaver, not Thai.  While not totally unknown, Chinese pattern cleavers are not common in Thailand.
     
  14. rick alan

    rick alan

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    For 25 years I used the same 8" Imperiall Very Very Sharp slicer.  Made right down the street from me in RI.  I still use it occasionally for slicing bread, you just get attached to such things.  Anyway the blade is .044 thick, with a hollow grind edge on top of that.  They get $15 bucks for them all the time on ebay when they pop up.

    Rick