Sunday, May 23, 2010

Japanese Chef's Knives - Oh My, Which One?


Here's my dilemma: I'm looking for a new 8" chef's knife and I can't decide which one to get.

I've had my current knife, the Shun Steel scalloped 8" chef's knife that I simply adore for less than a year. I had bought it off Amazon.com last year (on sale for less than $90) and have been using it for work ever since. I love my Shun for its light weight, elegant lines and sharpness when compared to my 10" Wushtof Classic, which I got from culinary school. Like most high-end Shun knives, this one's blade is made from VG-10 "super" stainless steel (composing of carbon, chromium, cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, silicon and vanadium compounds), which ensures that it holds its sharp edge longer. Moreover, the Damascus look (the wavy patterns) on the Shun's blade is quite unique and attractive as well.


One fateful day a couple of months ago, my Shun knife inexplicably fell from the top of a table while I was working and the sharp edge got dinged pretty severely. My heart sank when I saw it. I can't believe that I was so careless with my favorite knife. Although it's been somewhat damaged, the knife somehow still cuts remarkably well, considering the jaggedness of one part of the cutting edge (see the picture below).

So, back to my dilemma. I'm now in the market for a new chef's knife and although I like the Shun knives, I'm looking for something new. I love the Japanese blades and for now, I'm going to stick to them. Reading various reviews and forum comments, I've narrowed down my search to three 210mm (8.25") chef's knife choices (images taken from http://www.japanesechefsknife.com):

First, the highly-rated Misono UX10 Gyuto (Japanese version of Chef's) knife:

Second, the Hattori HD series Gyuto:

And finally, the Ryusen Blazen series Gyuto:

The prices of each knife varies but by not much, with the Blazen priced at $185 and both the Misono and Hattori in the $150-$160 range. Of all three, the Misono UX10 has received the most acclaim and the best reviews. I'm leaning towards the UX10 but the Hattori gets high marks for its attractive Damascus look and hand-engraved Hattori name!

Anyone out there with any opinions on each of these knives? I would love some feedback from anyone who have had the pleasure of using any of them.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's an easy fix on a 500 grit stone. It'll probably take 10-15 minutes to fix the dings and chips, another 10-15 minutes on a 1000 and 6000 grit stone to get the edge to a sharper-than-new state, 5 minutes more on a strop or newspaper if you're nuts about sharp things.

Hock said...

Thanks for the feedback. I eventually got it fixed. It cuts like new again!