What to Look for in a Chinese Chef Knife

Every kitchen needs a multi-purpose knife beside the blades made for specific tasks. The Chinese chef knife is a versatile blade that enables chefs and home cooks to perform various cutting jobs in the kitchen. It is also called the Chinese cleaver and comes in various materials and blade lengths. The knife works efficiently in chopping, slicing, mincing, and scooping foods.

It has a rectangular blade, making it different from the western style chef knife. It is used for cutting various ingredients, including meats, vegetables, poultry, herbs, and fish. If you already have a western chef’s knife, consider the Chinese cleaver for a change and enjoy the different feel and performance it offers in the kitchen.

What to Look for in a Chinese Cleaver

The market has a wide range of brands to consider purchasing, and they differ in quality and construction. Here are aspects to keep in mind when looking for the best Chinese chef knife.

  • Material: a high-quality Chinese chef knife consists of premium materials that foster durability, superior performance, and easy care. The handle and blade should be made from quality material. The Chinese cleaver has a wooden handle that enhances the visual appeal of the knife and for ergonomics. The best blade material is carbon stainless steel. It is durable and rust-resistant, ensuring long-term use, hygienic food preparation, and easy maintenance.
  • Design: A full-tang Chinese cleaver enhances knife longevity. The blade material runs all the way to the handle, a design that prevents the knife from breaking or dislodging. The construction also prevents the accumulation of food particles between the handle and the blade. Moreover, a straight knife spine gives you precise, clean cuts, and a rounded blade enables rock-chopping in the kitchen.  
  • Balance: The best Chinese chef knife is well-balanced. It feels great in the hand, and the weight is distributed properly to ensure comfort for users. A balanced knife also prevents fatigue, especially when cutting foods for long.
  • Handle: The handle on a knife is as important as the blade. A quality Chinese cleaver has a comfortable handle with an excellent grip to ensure safety in the kitchen. A well-made handle and blade give home cooks and professional chefs an easy time in the kitchen preparing various ingredients.

Chinese chef knife

What Is a Chinese Cleaver?

A Chinese cleaver is a large knife with a rectangular blade and a wooden handle. It is also called a Chinese chef knife. It differs from the western style chef knife in a few ways. For example, it is heavier and has a squared-off blade, while a western chef knife has a pointed tip. The market has two types of Chinese cleavers meat and vegetable cleavers. The meat cleaver is thicker and heavier than a vegetable cleaver and is ideal for hard bones. On the other hand, a Chinese vegetable cleaver is thinner and designed for delicate cutting tasks.

What Are Chinese Cleavers Good for?

Chinese cleavers are best for various jobs in the kitchen. You can use them to chop and slice meat, fish, and vegetables. They also do a great job crushing and mincing herbs for those delicious dishes that awaken your taste buds. The cleavers are strong and can work on both tough and smooth foods. Use it to carve chicken, fillet fish, and crush herbs.

If you need to pound garlic cloves or tenderize meat, the Chinese cleaver will get the job done. You can also use it to scoop or scrape ingredients. Chop vegetables, cut large bones, and slice different foods with the rectangular, sharp blade.

How Do You Sharpen a Chinese Cleaver?

You can sharpen a Chinese cleaver using a whetstone. Sharpening your knives ensures they are in good working condition at all times. A dull knife is a hazard in the kitchen. It can slip off ingredients, and you may cut your fingers. It affects precision and does not give you clean cuts of foods. A whetstone is a better option for sharpening a Chinese cleaver than an electric sharpener, which removes more metal from the blade, affecting knife longevity.

Whetstones come in different grit standards to ensure proper sharpening for dull blades and slightly sharp knives. You should also use a honing rod after sharpening your knives to polish the edge. You can also hone your cleaver before every use to give it a sharper edge for cutting various foods.

Chinese Chef Knives to Consider Buying

The market has a variety of Chinese chef knives to consider purchasing. Here are some of the best Chinese cleavers to consider for your kitchen.

Shun Kai Seki Magoroku Chinese Chopper Knife 17.5cm

Shun Kai Seki 17.5cm Chinese Chopper Knife is an elegant blade with a lovely riveted handle. The versatile knife does a great job slicing, mincing, chopping, and scooping foods. You can also use it to pound ingredients, but it is not made for hacking large bones. The 2.5mm blade is made from stainless steel, offering rust resistance, while the handle is rosewood.

Use the knife to cut vegetables, slice thin strips of meat, and mince herbs. The polished edge provides superior sharpness that cuts smoothly and quickly through foods. Additionally, the rivets on the handle foster the knife's longevity and add elegance to its overall design.

Shun Kai Seki Magoroku Chinese Chopper Knife 17.5cm

Shun Kai Seki Magoroku Chinese Slicing Knife 17.5cm

Shun Kai Seki Chinese Slicing Knife has a blade with an innovative blade design. The previous knife has a plain blade. The wooden handle is also darker, giving the knife a more rustic look. The slicing knife is a valuable addition to your knife collection. It is super sharp and well-balanced, with a riveted handle for extra durability.

This Shun Kai blade is mainly a vegetable knife designed for chopping and can be used for slicing foods but not large bones. Use it to chop, pound, and mince foods for different meals.  The blade is made from stainless steel and provides extreme precision and high resistance.

As you buy a Chinese chef knife for various cutting tasks, a sushi knife would also be a good addition to your knife block. It makes it easy to prepare ingredients, giving you the precision, you need in the kitchen. Sushi knives to consider purchasing include these.

Shun Kai Seki Magoroku Chinese Slicing Knife 17.5cm

F Dick 1778 Series Plumwood Chinese Chef Knife 18cm

The F Dick Plumwood 18cm Chinese Chef Knife is a lovely blade for slicing, chopping, and mincing foods. It is a great knife for cutting vegetables and slicing foods in the kitchen, fostering efficiency and convenience. It has a perfect balance and a razor-sharp edge to ensure precise cutting of poultry, herbs, vegetables, and fruits, among other ingredients. It features a stunning design with a plum wood handle that matches elegantly with the blade.

The knife is ergonomic and fits comfortably in the hand. The handle also has rivets for durability. The blade is extremely hard and made with high-alloy carbon steel. It also offers flexibility, supporting various cutting tasks, and its sharpness lasts. The knife would be a valuable addition to your kitchen. It is high-quality, well-made, and sharp to give you an easy time when preparing meals.

F DICK 1778 Series Plumwood Chinese Chef Knife 18cm

Victorinox Fibrox Chinese Chef Knife 18cm

Victorinox offers the multi-purpose 18cm Chinese chef knife to try out. The wide blade comes in handy when you need to pound o scoop ingredients. Whether it is chopping, slicing, or mincing foods, this knife ensures you perform these tasks effectively. It has a fibrox handle that provides a proper grip when cutting different foods. It has a straight edge and offers perfect balance, fostering comfort and preventing fatigue.

The knife is dishwasher-safe and made from high-quality materials that ensure longevity. Use it to cut fish, herbs, steak, vegetables, and fruits as you prepare various meals.  Victorinox is a popular brand that provides premium knives for chefs and home-cooking enthusiasts.

The 18cm Chinese chef knife is a blade to consider having in your kitchen in addition to the western-style chef knife. It is light in the hand and cuts easily through foods. 

Victorinox Fibrox Chinese Chef Knife 18cm

How Do I Use a Chinese Cleaver?

A Chinese cleaver is a knife to consider having in your kitchen. It is a multi-purpose blade for various cutting tasks. You can use it for chopping, slicing, pounding, mincing, and carving foods. It can perform both delicate and tough cutting tasks, fostering convenience in the kitchen. The knife’s belly, heel, and front are used for different jobs, preventing the need to use other types of knives. However, a Chinese chef knife does not cut through bread as smoothly as a bread knife.

Ensure your Chinese chef knife gets proper care. Sharpening and honing the blade is one way to keep it in proper working shape. You should hand-wash the knife since dishwasher heat, and moisture can dull the blade and damage the wood handle. Dry the knife immediately and allow it to air dry before storage. Use the Chinese cleaver on a wood, rubber, or plastic cutting board to protect the edge from damage.  

Knife Storage

After cleaning your Chinese cleaver and wiping it dry, proper storage is the next thing to do. You can use a kitchen block or a magnetic strip to keep your knives.  Brands provide high-quality knife blocks, which provide safe spaces to keep your blades. Knife blocks can carry several knives, saving countertop space. Magnetic strips do not take up countertop space. Since they are mounted somewhere on your kitchen wall.

They are helpful when you have limited countertop space to fit a knife block. The strips provide quick access to your blades, saving time in the kitchen. You can also use in-drawer organizers if you need knives away from sight. The organizers ensure that the blades are not in contact, preventing scratches and dulling of blades.

Storing knives properly promotes safety in the kitchen. You do not want sharp blades lying around on the countertop. In-drawer organizers are great if a knife block or magnetic strip does not suit you. Knife blocks and magnetic strips are also great for display purposes. Show off your taste and expertise in kitchen knives. The Chinese chef knife is a unique blade to consider for your knife collection. You shift between a western style chef knife and a Chinese cleaver for a change.

Other Knife Types Your Kitchen May Need

The Chinese chef knife is a versatile blade that can perform various tasks in the kitchen. Whether you need to chop, slice, mince, carve, or pound ingredients, the Chinese cleaver will do it for you. Nonetheless, it does not hurt to have other knife types after investing in a high-quality Chinese chef knife. Here are additional blades chefs utilize, and you might need them, especially if you love preparing different meals at home.

  • Utility Knife: it is shorter and smaller than a chef knife and is used for cutting smaller foods and vegetables. It is more flexible and also ideal for precise cutting. When preparing various ingredients, a Chinese knife can do the major tasks and leave the smaller foods to the utility knife.
  • Paring Knife: this is designed for slicing and chopping fruits and vegetables. It gives you an easy time peeling, trimming, and removing seeds from vegetables and fruits. The knife is small, allowing easy maneuvering around fruits and vegetables.
  • Bread knife: the serrated edge on a bread knife cuts easily through bread and softer foods like tomatoes without mashing them. It has a long blade that cuts through bread easily, leaving you with clean, neat slices.
  • Carving knife: it is used for carving poultry, large roasts, and filleting large fish. It has a long blade that cuts foods into slices in one motion, fostering efficiency in the kitchen. Easily cut through roast, fish, and poultry and present meals elegantly for family and guests.  

Closing Thoughts

A Chinese chef knife is a blade to consider having in your kitchen. It provides a different cutting experience from the western chef knife. It features a rectangular blade and does a good job chopping, slicing, pounding, and mincing different ingredients. Ensure you buy a high-quality Chinese cleaver made from durable, rust-resistant material. It is also well-balanced and has a comfortable handle that provides a good grip.

Remember to hand-wash your Chinese chef knife and dry it properly before storage. You can use a knife block, a magnetic strip, or an in-drawer organizer to keep your knives safely. Sharpening and honing your Chinese cleaver is also essential to ensure top performance in the kitchen.  

Also Read: Best Kitchen Knife Sets: Knives that Enhance the Kitchen Experience

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