When I got into sushi making the bane of my life was my knife crushing my perfect sushi rolls instead od cutting them. Sushi presents some unique problems when it comes to cutting that some knives just can’t cope with. It really is worth investing in the best sushi knife you can and keeping it in top condition.
What makes a sushi knife so special and what are the key differences with regular blades? In this article we’ll dig more into this question.
One common quality of these items is that they tend to have a longer blade to create better slices in one single stroke. They are relatively thin from edge to the spine of the knife, the reason for this being that the smaller the contact surface of the blade has to go through, let’s say for example a piece of salmon, the smoother and cleaner the cut will be as there will be less friction in each movement.
There is more than just this to have in mind before buying your first sushi knife. We’ll look into them before suggesting you with our curated selection so you have enough context to understand how to make an informed decision when it comes to sushi knives
Table of Contents
Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Sushi Knife
Usually steel hardness is a matter of balance. Too refined steel will lead to better overall sharpness but may introduce some mandatory maintenance if the blade is not stainless. If the blade is too soft it may be a bit harder to get those delicate and perfect slices across a salmon as the maximum sharpness that you could get out of these knives would be slightly inferior.
Because sushi knives’ main purpose is to slice ingredients that are not too tough, but not necessarily limited to fish, it is preferred to have a sharper edge. This comes at the cost that the blade will generally do great for its purpose but we wouldn’t recommend using a sushi knife for slicing things like potatoes as it may result in blade chipping if not careful. However it is unlikely to break when cutting fish and similar flesh without any hard materials.
This family of knives will get you the ability to come up with one long stroke to retain flesh juices and flavours while cutting.
In contrast with other knives like the Nakiri, here there is no real effort that goes through the flesh while using the blade and therefore sushi knives benefit from long variations as the longer the blade the bigger the horizontal surface you have to play with in one single stroke before having to recur to go back and forward in a saw kind of motion or starting a new stroke with the danger of ruining a slice by having an unfinished-raw and unprofessional looking cut.
It doesn’t need to be any more than 12 inches otherwise it might become unmanageable or uncomfortable to use with smaller pieces of flesh.
Profile of Tip of Blade
Usually when performing cuts with a certain angle with this kind of knife it will be enough to get beautiful slices with one continuous movement. However it may come also handy to be able to cut more delicate ingredients, for example seaweed, with the tip of the knife with great precision.
Having a sharp tip of blade may also have the added benefit of helping with separating fish bones from flesh. Therefore a great sharp tip on these knives will prove useful so you don’t have to switch knives to a utility knife to perform these smaller cuts.
Sushi Knives Reviews
Cangshan Sashimi Chef Knife
Having to slice salmon? Preparing turkey for Thanksgiving and want to have great slices? No problem, the Cangshan Sashimi Knife will do it smoothly in one pass out of the box as it is already Honbazuke-sharpen meaning it goes through a three step process to make sure that a razor-sharp blade is delivered as a result.
It is made of Japanese steel VG10 and will go as hard as 60-62 in the Rockwell scale which seems appropriate for this kind of use; real solid steel capable of being honed to a really high level to cut relatively soft flesh as fish.
I love the fact that it includes a beautiful dark walnut magnetic sheath so when I carry it around for cooking at friends parties I don’t have to worry about it cutting anything in the bag or breaking.
Its tip is really useful; I use it often to make small, precise cuts when I finish preparing sushi and it’s time to divide the meat into smaller pieces. They never get uncut even though seaweed did manage to get stuck in the cutting board with my other knives.
I’d suggest this knife to people who value high quality knives and are looking to add to their existing collection a slicing knife that will last them for many years down the road.
DALSTRONG Yanagiba Knife
What makes this knife unique is its pronounced tip point which is really sharp and useful to perform delicate work like removing skin for fish.
Because I’m usually on the move and I not only cook at home I find it really handy to have a proper sheath to carry it around and not worry about damaging it or the other things I’m having with me.
The one thing I’d like this knife to have is a longer blade. Even though 9.5 inches for a knife is a lot compared to a more traditional knife, like a chef or Guiotto knife, for a slicing knife I find it could allow me to be more flexible with my strokes with larger fish if it had a bit more of blade area to utilize when skinning flesh.
I used this knife a lot, not only to prepare meals that involve fish but also to cut meat and veggies in small thin slices because of its sharpness and I really like it.
If you happen to cook regularly with fish or slicing meat or soft vegetables you will definitely find this knife useful and won’t be able to remember what it was like to use a regular chef knife to slice salmon.
Lucky Cook Sashimi Sushi Knife
It may not be the sharpest knife of all as the quality of its steel is not of any superior steel patented brand however this proves to not be a limiting factor as it certainly gets the job done without effort. The handle feels very natural in hands being a wooden one.
Its tip has an aggressive tip which I really enjoy using for making small cuts to remove fish bones. I’d prefer it to be a little bit larger in length to have more blade surface for slicing fish but its length of 10 inches long is alright.
I’d suggest this knife to Japanese Knives enthusiast that are looking for a good first sushi knife to get a great deal for its price as it will give you amazing slicing results without any hussle.
Yoshihiro Yanagi Knife
The total length of the knife is 11.8 inches long, which proves ideal for not only sushi slicing but long fish or meat slicing cuts in one pass.
It is made of Japanese VG-10 steel, a really high quality material that complements sushi knives pretty well since they need to be able to be easily honed to come up with their best sharpness.
However since it has a Rockwell Rating of steel hardness around 62-63, one of the hardest knives within stainless knives and therefore it might require better care and maintenance to keep it healthy.
Harder steel may also mean that is more propense to chipping if treated without much care encountering hard bones while slicing.
I’d recommend this knife to you if you specialize in slicing soft flesh like salmon and other fishes or boneless meat and you’re already familiar with whetstones to hone its blade from time to time. It is an amazing kitchen reliable companion. To be honest the knife looks so well designed that I totally see it as a collection item as well.
Seki Gold Kotobuki Knife
Having that said it is an excellent knife as it will definitely slice fish like butter with any kind of fish you throw at it.
The Seki Gold Kotobuki Knife has a 240mm length, or 9.5 inches, which should be just fine for daily slicing tasks. However, with these kinds of knives it would be nice to have a bit more of length for bigger continuous strokes.
For its price it is a good choice to get into sushi knives if you don’t want to worry too much about the maintenance of it as it is stainless and with some care , like washing it and dry it right away after usage, and if you don’t regularly slice fish but want to add into your collection a good tool when you make sushi or other meals.
Having seen a plethora of knives we can reach to some thoughts alongside the comparison of these blades and how they stood against each other. It’s important to remark that you simply can’t go wrong with any of these choices as they are all great sushi knives. What it really matters when deciding at the end of the day is your personal preference over any of them over the others.
The Cangshan Sashimi Chef Knife is a serious fine choice of knife if you are willing to pay for the best quality. Even its sheath has a great quality and the craftsmanship can be seen all across the knife. It’s really long blade allows me to have uniform slices of turkey, fish or any soft meat as if I was cutting butter.
The fact that it has the longest blade of all knives in the list is no coincidence, this becomes really handy when wanting to do one continuous slice movement that would be harder to perform with a shorter blade and big flesh area.
A robust option can be the DALSTRONG Yanagiba Knife which has a sharp tip that can be used to reach small areas near bones. It has a more sober design but in the end it still has a great sharpness performance and also comes with a sheath. If you have to do lots of precision cuts as well as slicing this knife will get you covered with its aggressive and sharp tip.
For the first sashimi knife that is great value for its price the Lucky Cook Sashimi Sushi Knife seems like a valid alternative. It has a softer steel that won’t be able to give you the sharpest edge but it also means less maintenance for new comers.
If you just want some tool that gets the job done or don’t regularly slice fish but want to have a good tool when preparing occasional sushi or any other meal that may involve slicing, this could be an interesting bet.
What did you think of our curated list of sushi knives? Which one do you like the most and what use would you have for it? Please let us know down below in the comments section!