Best Sushi Knives
Choosing a high quality sushi knife might seem simple enough until you go out and see the high amount of options available. In this beginners guide to choosing sushi knives we will cover the different types, the various materials and review some of the best ones out there.
- Types of sushi knives
- The deba knife
- The yanagiba knife
- High carbon vs stainless steel
- The best Japanese sushi knives
- Dalstrong chef knife
- Yoshihiro Aonamiuchi blue steel #1
- Yoshihiro stainless steel sushi knife
- Yoshihiro Shiroko carbon steel deba knife
- Honmamonh Azumasyusaku deba knife
- How to take care of your knife
Types of sushi knives
Professional Japanese chefs have different types of sushi knives in their collection, with each one designed for completing a specific task. A beginner chef, like yourself, will not need such an extensive collection when first starting out.
The two types of sushi knives a beginner should start with is the Deba and Yanagiba knives. Here we will explain the function and characteristics of each.
The deba sushi knife
The primary function of a deba knife is to cut up and fillet an entire fish. The deba can be recognized by its shorter blade (4 to 6 inches in length) and it’s considerably wider and thicker than the yanagiba blade.
The yanagiba sashimi knife
Yanagiba knives are ideally suited for precision slicing which is essential in Japanese cuisine because presentation is everything. A yanagiba is easily recognizable by its much thinner and longer 8 to 9 inch blade.
Also, the blade is flat on one side while the other side runs at an angle. This is to ensure that food doesn’t stick to the blade and also helps with cutting delicate, soft ingredients.
High carbon or stainless steel?
When the time comes to buy a Japanese sushi knife you will have two options – high carbon steel or stainless steel. Each comes with its own pro’s and cons which we will discuss in the next section.
Sushi knives are traditionally made from high carbon steel because no matter the quality of a stainless steel version, it will not be able to compete with the durability, sharpness and ease of sharpening of a high carbon knife.
The only advantages a stainless steel sushi knife will have over a carbon steel one is that it will never rust and its extra hardness will help prevent it from chipping. This is something to take into consideration when choosing a sushi knife.
The best Japanese sushi knives
The price of sushi knives vary greatly. High-end knives used by top sushi chefs can easily cost thousands of dollars each but as a beginner the ones sitting at the $100 to $300 range will be more than ideal.
Dalstrong sushi chef knife
This shogun series sushi chef knife from Dalstrong with its razor sharp, carbon steel blade is perfectly balanced in the hand and comes with a lifetime guarantee against any defects.
About the blade: The 2.2mm thick yanagiba blade is made from premium carbon steel that has been nitrogen cooled. It has incredible resistance to corrosion, flexible, is razor-sharp and has been hand finished to a mirror polish. The blade consists of 66 folded layers of carbon steel and coated with a highly effective non-stick solvent.
About the handle: The handle has been carefully shaped to fit perfectly and comfortably in your hand. It’s made with G-10 military grade technology which basically means that it has lifelong durability.
This high quality Dalstrong sushi knife with lifetime guarantee weighs 0.54 lb and you can find the latest price at Amazon.com.
Yoshihiro Aonamiuchi blue steel #1 sushi knife
The Yoshihiro Aonamiuchi blue steel knife is truly unique and sits a little bit above the $300 beginner sushi knife price range but is really worth it.
The high carbon steel knife has been carefully handcrafted in Japan by master artisans by using ancient and traditional methods. An experienced chef will really appreciate this because it allows the blade to effortlessly slice through even the most sensitive of ingredients while doing the absolute minimum damage to cellular structure.
Get the latest price for this professional 300mm Japanese sushi knife with dragon ebony handle at Amazon.com.
Yoshihiro INOX AUS-10 stainless steel sushi knife
This beautiful and highly functional stainless steel sushi knife from Yoshihiro has been carefully handcrafted in Japan.
If edge retention is important to you, as it should be, then you will love this knife because it’s made from AUS-10 stainless steel with 1% carbon which ensures that your knife will remain razor sharp for much longer. Also, the blade has been ice hardened for extra durability.
The spine of the blade measures 2mm in thickness which makes it ultra-thin and has incredible stain-resistant abilities. This combined with the fact that the blade is stainless steel will ensure that it will never rust or stain.
A beautiful black pakkawood handle that fits comfortably and perfectly in your hand helps make it the perfect all round sushi knife.
Get the latest price at Amazon.com.
Yoshihiro Shiroko carbon steel deba sushi knife
This deba type, high carbon steel sushi knife is ideal for butchering and filleting fish as it cuts easily and effortlessly through fish head and bones.
The knife is powerful and you can feel it just by holding it. The 180mm long high carbon blade is accompanied by a beautiful light brown magnolia handle that fits comfortably in your hand.
Get the latest price from Amazon.com.
Honmamonh Azumasyusaku Deba sushi knife
This Honmamonh Azumasyusaku deba style knife has been handmade in Japan by highly skilled and experienced Tosa Craftsmen as per centuries of tradition.
The super sharp 180mm blade is made from Aogami steel and is double edged so it’s a perfect fit for both left and right hand chefs.
Get the latest price from Amazon.com.
How to take care of your knife
You have invested a considerable amount of money on a high quality sushi knife that has been made in Japan. It would therefore make sense to take good care of it so that the blade will remain razor sharp for longer and last a lifetime. Here we have laid out some good maintenance and care tips for your knife.
Never drop it: Whether the blade is made from high carbon or stainless steel – never drop it. Yes, these blades are exceptionally strong and durable but that doesn’t mean that it won’t chip when dropped.
Use each knife for its intended purpose: The two types of sushi knives mentioned on this page are the deba and yanagiba because they are the most important for chefs. Each of the two has been designed for very specific purposes and as a chef you should strictly use each for its purpose. Use the deba for butchering and filleting. More importantly, only use it on fish bones and no other types of bones. The yanagiba is intended for soft ingredients such as fish, vegetables etc. Never use any of the two on frozen food, bones other than fish bones or nuts.
Washing your knife: Preparing food is hard work and one might therefore be tempted to throw everything in the dishwasher at the end of the day. This is perfectly fine but not when it comes to your sushi knives. They should instead be carefully washed by hand.
Keep the blade dry: Your knife may be stainless steel, rust and corrosion resistant but you should still keep it dry at all times. This is especially important if using it on acidic food items. Carefully wipe the blade dry with a cloth after getting it wet.
Always use the sheath: Every knife mentioned on this list comes with a sheath to protect the blade. When not in use always keep it clean inside the sheath. This will ensure that it stays protected when not in use.
Oil the blade: Oiling your blade from time to time helps preserve it and keeps it looking new for longer. You can use this oil here.
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