Three Best Chef Knives From Japan

This is not a Top Ten List. It will hopefully help you get a better understanding of the kitchen knife scene and offer some tips. Each knife is handmade by a different Japanese knifemaker They generally cost between $120 and $170. (Please do not gasp, they will last for up to 30 years.

Global 7-inch Santoku

Global revolutionized cooking with knives in the 1980s. A series of high performance knives were created that was on the cutting-edge of fashion, but still affordable. They are light, with a razor sharp edge and similar to traditional Japanese knives. But in terms of blade design they are closer to Western tradition than Japanese. This is why I call them Japanese Hybrids. They graft one tradition onto another.

A knife brand cannot be considered as modern as Global. The knives are pure steel from top to base, with the distinctive pebbled-steel handle. Global puts the perfect amount in the hollow handle to give it a balanced look. Global knives do not have forged blades. Instead, they are made from high quality steel that has had its temper and heat treated to achieve new levels.

This model, called the G-48 (for those who desire performance but want to be mobile), is ideal. With its short, straight santoku blade, you can still grab chopped celery. Global also sells Western-styled chef’s blades. G-2 and G-6 are good options.

I own this Santoku and regret to admit that I cherish the edge so much, I can’t bear any more chopping with it. However, I do save it for slicing. It works amazing!

Mac MTH-80 – Professional Series 8″ Chef Knife, with Dimples

MAC knives appear one of most important kitchen knife markets. With famous chefs like Charlie Trotter (and Thomas Keller) recommending them as the best knife, professionals seem to know a lot about them. Chances are, though, that they have never heard of these machines.

Global knives are Japanese designed and made. They aren’t as sleek as Global, but they’re likely to be more sharp than Global. They’re also not forged and highly machined, as Global.

The MTH-80 Professional MACs main product line is the MTH-80 Professional. It’s the most well-known, because it offers maximum sharpness for your dollar. The unique combination of the super-thin, welded-on blade with additional weight makes it feel more German-style. Gourmet Mag said that a MAC blade is “the different between a small car and a racecar.” Take one for a spin!

( Notice: You should not confuse the MTH80 PROFESSIONAL with the TH80 –Chef Series 8″ Chef’s Knife w/ Dimples, a lower priced model that costs $40 or more.

Shun Classic 8 inch Chef Knife

Global and Shun are among the most recognized Japanese brands in the U.S. Shun Classic, the brand’s flagship line, is very appealing and sharp. They’re manufactured at Seki City, one of the top knife-making hubs in the world (alongside Solingen Germany).

The blade’s beautiful, wavy shape is just the beginning. The edge is made up of 32 layers of softer steel, each with 16 layers. Rockwell 61 describes it as a hard metal. It has the ability to maintain a 16-degree edge for a very lengthy time.

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