Western chef’s knives or Japanese? Is this question interesting to you, too? Then let’s find out. What to choose. What is the best suitable for you?
Many people believe Japanese chef knives to be the greatest in the world. They are made using a combination of technology, wisdom, and centuries-old tradition to produce the ideal cutting tools for the kitchen. Japanese chef knives are becoming more and more popular among professional and home cooks alike, and they are a mainstay in the kitchens of all the top chefs in the restaurant business, even in Israel. We shall discuss the key distinctions between Japanese chef’s knives and their western counterparts in this article.
Compared to their European equivalents, Japanese chef knives are made of exceedingly hard steel. How long the blade will take to sharpen depends, in large part, on how difficult the task is. The sharpness will be kept for a longer period of time the harder the steel is. If I dig a little deeper, the Japanese steels average an HRC rating of 60–67 while the European steels are relatively soft and only average a value of 52–58. As an illustration, a Japanese knife with a comparatively low HRC rating (Japanese) of 60 is 46% harder than a German knife with a grade of HRC 56.
Cooks frequently use a stol (round steel bar) to straighten the edges of soft European knives since this characteristic causes the edges to bend while being used. This practice is completely unneeded with Japanese chef’s blades. Contrary to popular opinion, a tool only straightens a mild steel blade’s edge that has rounded and bent while cutting, not sharpens it.
So why do the European manufacturers make knives from soft steels?
Was this a mistake, or what? We can’t speak for them, of course, but we are aware that this is a choice rather than an error. Chef’s knives with greater give may perform less well, but they also hold up better to abuse from the user, such as being dropped on the floor, thrown in the sink, put in a drawer with other metal utensils, etc. The European knives are produced in enormous quantities and marketed to all types of customers around the world, including those who have no prior experience with knife maintenance. Consider how frequently you have witnessed a chef’s knife resting in a glass of water next to friends or family in the sink. It appears that in this situation, producing softer, more lasting blades and designing the product to appeal to the widest possible range of consumers is the best course of action for achieving maximum customer happiness. Of course, this is just conjecture; we have no interaction with European producers, and these statements do not speak for them. Consider European knives as a tough off-road vehicle that you may use to travel wherever without hesitation or fear.
Japanese chef knives are Formula 1 cars
Japanese chef knives, on the other hand, are like Formula 1 cars; they are designed to deliver maximum performance and are harsh toward “abusers.” They need to be used and maintained properly. Japanese chef knives were created for professionals, and those who understand how to treat them with the deference they deserve will be able to take advantage of an unmatched cutting experience. Does this imply that a Japanese chef’s knife is just as delicate as China? Of course not, as the following video illustrates. But it unquestionably needs cautious handling and regular maintenance.
When comparing Japanese and Western blades, it’s crucial to take into account the chef’s knife sharpening angle. Japanese chef’s knives are honed at a bevel of 12–15°, while western chef’s knives are normally sharpened at an angle of 20–25°. Due to this, Western blades become duller but also stronger and have more “flesh,” which helps combat the issue of blade bending. due to the mild steel they are constructed of. Japanese chef’s knives, on the other hand, have exceptionally sharp sharpening angles that result in thinner, sharper, but also more delicate blades. Western chef’s knives are comparable to an ax in strength, while Japanese chef’s knives are delicate and razor-sharp.
A Japanese chef’s knife’s blade is designed in a sandwich configuration, with hard steel wrapped in soft steel on both sides, as opposed to a Western chef’s knife’s blade, which is made of just one type of steel. Sharpening is facilitated by the soft steel’s function as a shock absorber for the hard steel.
Compared to western chef knives, Japanese chef knives are particularly lightweight. A 210 mm German chef’s knife will weigh between 250 and 300 grams, but a 210 mm Japanese chef’s knife will weigh between 120 and 220 grams. Someone who is accustomed to using a German chef’s knife may frequently claim that he prefers heavy chef’s knives because they allow him to cut with more force. On the other hand, Japanese chef knives don’t need to be used forcefully to cut; their thin profile effortlessly cuts through raw materials. Using a lightweight Japanese chef’s knife will keep your hand from getting tired after extended cuts.
The typical western grip and full bolster of a competent German chef’s knife add significantly to its substantial weight. A substantial barrier to sharpening.
Choosing right chef’s knife
You will always wonder where I should get the knives I am reading about. Okay these people are talking good and advising but what then? Others even make videos about these knives and tools. But many of them do not offer who can help them to get quality products. I will tell you this small secret where my fellow chef’s are getting their tools and thanking me for guiding them. Knife Depot will be happy to assist you. They will answer your questions if you have any. So, you go and get one.
Western and Japanese chef’s knives are very different from one another, and only you can decide which is better for you. We would be pleased if you looked through our chef’s knife catalog if you decided to purchase a high-quality Japanese chef’s knife.
A guide on choosing a chef’s knife is a must-read for anyone seeking a chef’s knife.
Important note: Although there are many inexpensive chef knives made in Japan, our post only mentions high-quality Japanese models. Japanese chef’s knives without any of the features mentioned in the article are also available for a few tens of shekels.