If you’re looking for a trusty blade, sometimes it pays to look overseas. And while America produces some fine knives, some countries have been perfecting the art of the blade for centuries. A proper chefs knife is the jack of all trades in kitchen cutlery. This handy knife is a reliable multi-purpose tool that can help tackle almost any food prepping task. From chopping, to slicing, to mincing, there is very little that a chefs knife can’t cut.
When shopping for the best foreign chefs knives, theres a lot to consider. Price, material, and size are just a few of the aspects to evaluate before pulling the trigger. Certain countries are also known for their cutlery, and it can be appealing to own a well-crafted, foreign blade. Here are the countries that are known to produce the best foreign chefs knives, and are the top places to know before making the plunge on a new chefs knife purchase.
German craftsmanship is infamous for being immaculate and well designed, and their blades are no exception. German blades are generally perfectly balanced, razor sharp, and affordable for their level of craft and design.
German knives are sharpened on both sides of the blade, meaning that they are finely tuned and well balanced. The middle of a German blade is the sharpest point, so it makes slicing and cutting a breeze.
Proper balance is also a key feature of German blades. Their knives are designed to fit neatly in the user’s hands. These knives tend to be a bit heavier, so if you have small hands they could prove to be cumbersome. But the heaviness of the handle helps to provide supreme balance when cutting. These heavy blades are durable and precise, key features when used every day. You won’t have to worry about damaging the blade, and they’re well suited for heavy duty tasks and prep work.
Again, keep in mind that since German blades tend to be a bit bulkier and heavier than other chef knives, they may not be for everybody.
If you’re set on owning a German chefs knife, brands like Wusthof and Zwilling J.A. Henckles and Messermeister make impressively high quality knives that won’t break the bank. The best part? Not only are they affordable, but incredibly durable. A well maintained German chefs knife is sure to last a lifetime.
The acclaim that Japanese knives get is well deserved. Their foreign chefs knives have been admired for centuries, and for excellent reason. Strip away the mystique and legend, and you’re left with a seriously impressive product that has a place in any kitchen. Japan has a bevy of blades that fit all different purposes, but it’s the Gyuto (their equivalent of a chefs knife) that has really caught our eye.
Gyoto’s are usually around 8 inches long, like most standard chefs knives, and are made made from steel – either carbon based or stainless. These knives can be pricy, but are an investment worth making given the durability, quality, and versatility. Some Japanese blades are “cladded”, or have the steel wrapped in other metals like stainless steel. This makes the knives more durable, and can lend a sharper edge to the blade as well.
While traditionally Japanese knives are sharpened on one side, these days you can find them sharpened with duel edges, for superior balance when using the middle of the middle of the blade.
Be prepared to spend upwards of $150 on a trusty blade, with some carrying price tags into the mid to high hundreds.
Japanese knives tend to be made with a wooden handle, which aside from looking great, get less slippery when wet. Their designs can also be pretty different from Western blades; Damascus steel and different shapes of the blade can all be aesthetically appealing options that also provide great use in the kitchen.
If you’re in the market for a Japanese chefs knife, check out Miyabi and Shun for top of the line products! And the santoku, a similar every day blade akin to a chefs knife, isn’t a bad bet for the kitchen either.
A bit different in design from most Eastern blades, the Chinese chefs knife resembles a cleaver more than a traditional looking chefs knife, but don’t let the design fool you. These blades are light weight and supremely easy to use and prep with. These knives are favored in the restaurant industry because they can handle large volumes of chopping and prep work effortless. They’ve recently found their way into the home kitchen.
While the blades of the Chinese Cleaver is extremely sharp, the top edge of the knife has a blunter design, and can be used to tenderize and pound meat. It’s a true multi-purpose kitchen utensil. The wide surface area and balance of the knife also makes it useful move vegetables from the cutting board to the pan, and is also great for crushing garlic!
The knives are typically between 7-8 inches long, light weight and balanced.
Chinese Cleavers are typically made from steel – both carbon and stainless. The wide and thin blade on these knives are versatile, but may not be ideal for handling heavy projects, as the thin nature of the blades can make them prone to chips or dents. But when it comes to slicing meat and veggies – nothing beats the Chinese Cleaver.