Vegetable Knife?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by FNCrazy, Jan 18, 2018.

  1. FNCrazy

    FNCrazy

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    I'm sorry, I'm not well versed in the knife world. I did look around before asking, but I'm sure the answer lies somewhere.

    I only have one knife that I feel isn't junk. I have no idea how it compares to anything. It's a Wusthof chef knife that I bought 10 years ago.

    I have a couple questions. Recently I've moved in with someone that eats a ton of vegetables. I want to get a Japanese (I don't know why) knife for vegetable work, but I don't know what length is best? Also, for meat (no bones, just meat) I use my chef knife. Is there a different size or type better suited for meat?

    Sorry so long, thanks for the help!
     
  2. aliphares

    aliphares

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    A Japanese vegetable knife, or nakiri, is usually around 165mm. They're great at what they do and many people swear by them. But ask yourself, do you really need one? The reason they might feel better at it than your wusthoff is the that the former is significantly thinner, being japanese. But then why not just buy a Japanese chef knife (gyuto) that can be used for so much more and using the wusthoff as the beater knife for things like gourds and such. A gyuto is usually 210 or 240, or even 270 mm. I suggest 240.
    If you really want that nakiri though, go ahead and get one, they'll still be a significant upgrade.
    As for meat slicing, a slicer (duh) would be the best way. Theyre super thin knives that will make cutting and portioning neat a lot easier. Either get a western one, I suggest a sabatier, orthe Japanese version, the sujihiki, which is thinner still. Models and specs depend on your budget.
     
  3. benuser

    benuser

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    A nakiri is a lot of fun, but is a bit short for cabbage and has no tip. So its use is a bit limited. Really a specialised blade. Most people have one but don't use it much.
    A gyuto is the Japanese form of the French chef's, a real general purpose. Thin tip, robust heel, a flat section: not much you can't do with it. Very convenient when dealing with a bit larger quantities. Get a 240mm. It's not only fast and versatile, but thanks to the large contact area with the board its edge retention is much better than with shorter ones. By the way, a mid-weight Japanese is much lighter than a German counterpart. And it feels even lighter with a slightly forward balance, compared to the handle-heavy Germans who are only comfortable for rock-choppers. By the way, rock-chopping is no good idea with thin Japanese blades. Get used to slicing or push-cutting, or a combination of it. Anyway, you should avoid a hard contact with the cutting board, or need a very, very conservative edge, which is no fun.
    Any knife will dull, so we have to develop a maintenance strategy as well. How did you maintain the Wüsthof so far? Once you get used to the sharpness of a good blade you will want to keep it like that. Are you open to carbon steel instead of stainless? It asks a slightly more careful maintenance, doesn't accept the same degree of abuse and neglect a stainless does, but sharpens much easier and gets much better results, with less effort. And really good stainless is rather expensive, good carbon can be got at low costs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  4. benuser

    benuser

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    Of course a gyuto will be fine for use with meat as well. If you do a lot of meat you may look for a sujihiki or slicer. Narrower than a chef's or gyuto, causing less dragging. Geometry isn't that essential with a meat knife. A thick blade with a sharp edge will do very well. With meat there are no wedging concerns as with hard vegetables, like carrots or celeriac. The very edge though can be thinner than with a chef's because there's no much board contact.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  5. benuser

    benuser

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    And, just to make sure: are you right-handed?
     
  6. FNCrazy

    FNCrazy

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    I am right handed, but I was in a crash and most things I do with my left now. I didn't know the Wusthof was heavy, so maybe a gyuto would be easier to use for me because of lighter weight? Another reason to get a Japanese knife.

    I think I'm willing to spend up to $200 for a gyuto. Will that be enough for a quality knife?

    I'm not even sure how to figure out which gyuto is better than another. Do people have any suggestions in that price range?

    Thank you for your help!
     
  7. FNCrazy

    FNCrazy

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    Nevermind, I just realized what I was asking. The gyuto is one of the most common chef knives. I should be able to figure out which ones are best.
     
  8. benuser

    benuser

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    I asked because Japanese knives are rarely ambidextrous, and cause serious problems when used with the wrong hand. Expect steering and food sticking issues.
     
  9. FNCrazy

    FNCrazy

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    I'll definitely still use my right hand. I just can't figure out how to cut with my left. I didn't realize it, but maybe it's partly the knife in addition to my problems.

    Also I've been looking. What is the difference between wa gyuto and the other gyuto I can't find now?

    Also, as brands go, is a Takamura gyuto a good knife? Good value?
     
  10. benuser

    benuser

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  11. aliphares

    aliphares

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    Wa and Yo define the handle of the knife. Was handles are the simple Japanese ones. The Japanese don't care as much about their handles and that's why they opt for these. They yo handles are full (or partly) tang european style handles with scales added to the knife, similar to European knives. Wa handles are lighter and for me feel more nimble. But yo handles are heavier and feel sturdier. There's no right or wrong here, just a matter of preference.

    Also for 200 you can find a lot of amazing knives. 150 - 200 or so is the probably as good as you ever need to go

    Takamuras are very well received and they're an excellent choice, but then again so are a dozen other knives. Make sure you get something that has a profile that works well with your cutting style and have characteristics you prefer (whether that's being stainless, ease of sharpening...)
     
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  12. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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  13. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    A basic weight comparison:

    Wusthof chef, 8" -- 280g

    Masamoto wa-gyuto 11" -- 190g

    And the Masamoto is not a super-lightweight.
     
  14. benuser

    benuser

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    I was a bit incomplete here. What I said about thick blades for meat was of course about raw meat. With cooked meat -- e.g. a pork roast -- you will indeed want a very thin blade, as the meat will offer quite some resistance.
     
  15. MarieKitchenGirl

    MarieKitchenGirl

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    I love spending time in the kitchen :-)
    Thanks for all the tips everyone - very helpful! I'm in desperate need of new knives in my kitchen. The Masamoto wa-gyuto looks like a great option.
     
  16. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    The Masamoto KS wa-gyuto is genius, but it's expensive and carbon steel. I adore mine, but don't be surprised by either factor. My wife has a Masamoto VG10 gyuto, yo handled, and it's good but nothing to write home about.
     
  17. iceman

    iceman

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    Here ... this is what you asked for ... a Nakiri (vegetable knife). I've got 2 of them. One of them was my experiment with a ceramic knife. Whereas it's not a bad knife ... I don't need any more ceramic knives. This one is stainless. You really can't hurt it. I sharpen mine with an electric sharpener ... OH MY GOODNESS!!! ... it works just fine. It's only $40 ... so if you abuse it to death ... it's only $40. My recommendation.

    tojiro-mvs-nakiri-165mm-16.png.jpeg

    https://www.chefknivestogo.com/tomvsna16.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  18. MarieKitchenGirl

    MarieKitchenGirl

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    I love spending time in the kitchen :-)
    Wow! $40 isn't bad at all! I'll definitely take a look.
     
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  19. rick alan

    rick alan

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    The Tojiro DP is an often recommended Japanese introductory knife, along with the Fujiwara FKM or FKH and Masahiro VC, but you get what you pay for.
     
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  20. iceman

    iceman

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    "... but you get what you pay for.".

    Yeah ... a real decent knife for regular home cooks that don't have to prove anything by over-spending on a tool. Tojiro's are probably the best "house knives" that I've ever used in a pro-kitchen. Food doesn't taste any better because of the $$$ you've spent on your tools. Skills trump everything else.