5 Of The Best Sushi Knife For The Discriminating Chef
Many make the mistake of using a standard chef’s knife to slice their valuable and often expensive sashimi-grade fish. Don’t be one to risk destroying that beautiful fish by using your kitchen knife! Get the best sushi knife, and you’ll be making excellent sushi in no time!
You might be wondering then, what makes an excellent sashimi or sushi knife and how is it different from regular knives? What do I need to know about using these knives?
We’ll address these questions and, more importantly, we’ve listed the five best sushi knives for the most delectable sashimis, nigiri, and makis!
*Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
The Guide to The Best Sushi Knife
A Look Into Sushi
The preparation of Sushi in Japanese cuisine goes back hundreds of years and is a much-loved food the world over. Sushi’s popularity may even rival that of fast food! However, in stark contrast to the big chain fast food that we’re used to, chefs would prepare sushi with decidedly more love and deep refinement.
Sushi vs. Sashimi
Many often confuse sushi with sashimi and may use these two terms interchangeably, but this is a common misconception.
First of all, sashimi refers to the raw meat or fish that chef’s slice into thin pieces. They may then incorporate sashimi in with other dishes, like sushi, or on its own with a side of Japanese soy sauce and wasabi.
On the other hand, the term “sushi” refers to the preparation of food primarily with vinegared rice, wherein chefs combine with other ingredients such as sashimi, seaweed, and others. You can compare the “sushi” term to that of “pasta,” both of which may refer to a variety of different dishes and ingredients.
Two of the most popular Japanese dishes that chefs prepare are Maki and Nigiri. You may know Maki as the round rolls of vinegared rice and seaweed nestling vegetables, sashimi, and fruits in its center.
Meanwhile, Nigiri is a simpler dish where sashimi slices sit atop a bed of hand-shaped vinegared rice. You’ll see both these varieties in the picture above where the Maki’s are on the left and the Nigiri on the right.
Before jumping the gun and getting the next best sushi knife, it would be wise to evaluate the type of sushi knife that will address your needs. The metal or material making up the knife’s blade is another important factor to consider.
Consequently, we’ve included below the different types of sushi knives as well as the common blade materials.
Traditional Types of Sushi Knives
Naturally, with any process, sushi-making commences in several steps and stages which require the use of different knives. Typically, sushi chefs would utilize three traditional sushi knives in the sushi-making process.
The traditional Yanagiba knife is long and slender. However, its most distinct feature is its single-bevel blade as opposed to regular knives with dual-bevel blades. This design makes Yanagiba knives extremely thin and sharp, perfect for making sashimi with accuracy and precision.
An important tip when using Yanagiba Knives:
Yanagiba knives require a lot of care and maintenance due to their single-bevel construction, extremely thin and sharp edges. Also, unlike regular knives, they are not meant for the typical push/pull kind of slicing. On the contrary, when slicing with a Yanagiba, you should perform the slice in one drawing motion.
Start slicing motion with the base of the blade nearest your hand, and then pull back to slice through the meat.
The Deba knife looks and works somewhere between a meat cleaver and a chef’s knife. Although Deba knives are also ideal for making sashimi, Chefs often utilize this tool for heavy-duty tasks such as, filleting large fish and meat, deboning, and preparing vegetables which make it an excellent all-purpose sushi knife.
Finally, we have the Usuba knife whose primary purpose is the precise and delicate slicing, cutting, chopping, and peeling of vegetables that chef’s prepare for making Makis, as well as vegetable sides and garnishes.
Popular Sushi Knife Blade Materials
1. Stainless Steel
- More flexible
- Resistant to stains as well as rust
- Low maintenance.
- Loses edge quickly
- Stainless steel blades are less sharp than high-carbon ones.
- Difficult to sharpen
2. High Carbon Steel
- Durable material
- Superior sharpness as well as edge retention
- Ideal for slicing sashimi
- Improved slicing precision
- Prone to rust, chipping, and also shattering
- High maintenance
Our Reviews Of The Top 5
Finally, we have the Tatara Japanese professional Chef knife, which arguably may be the best-looking Damascus blade on our list! Its looks, however, is just a minute factor contributing to the grand nature of this all-purpose 8-inch blade.
First of all, the blade has a VG-10 steel core with an HRC 62 nestled between 67 layers of Damascus steel
Although technically a gyuto knife, the Tatara Japanese Chef’s Knife is razor sharp, keeps that edge, and features a G-10 handle that may just be the most comfortable in our hands when we compare it to the other knives on this list!
With it extremely sharp VG-10 blade and ergonomic handle, the Chef Knife will not tire you out despite hours of use! Just remember to treat it with care!
- Dangerously sharp blade perfect for sushi, sashimi, vegetables, and meat
- Stunning VG-10 Damascus Blade
- High HRC rating
- Full-tang, triple-riveted handle makes for a very sturdy handle
- Rust resistant
- Handle isn’t as refined as the other knives on this list
Starting our list of our top sushi knives is also our most valuable pick for the best Yanagiba knife: the Yoshihiro Shiroko. Completely handcrafted, this exceptional professional blade is perfect for the sushi enthusiast.
With the Yoshihiro Shiroko, you’ll get a 9.5 inch High Carbon Steel Blade with HRC 62-63, and the traditional single-beveled edge. These features make the knife remarkably hard, extremely sharp, and will keep its edge for a long time if you use it correctly.
So, always remember the one-slice-motion technique to keep that edge. Ultimately, we found slicing with this knife both amazingly smooth and enjoyable.
After the blade, you’ll meet the handcrafted Rosewood D-shaped handle which was both a joy to hold and behold.
Finally, with this knife purchase, you’ll also get a Magnolia Wood knife sheath, blade oil, and rust eraser.
If this is fit for professional sushi chefs, it sure will be perfect for you.
- With proper care, this will be the only sushi knife you’ll ever need.
- Incredible sharpness as well as excellent edge retention
- High HRC rating
- Balanced weight
- Beautiful wood handle
- Requires that you know proper slicing techniques.
- Its high hardness rating makes it weak against impacts
- High maintenance, such as sharpening on quality whetstones, regular oiling, and thorough drying. Otherwise, it will corrode quite quickly.
The TUO Cutlery Professional Yanagiba Sushi Knife is, arguably, the most beautiful traditional Yanagiba on this list.
We’d call, first, to your attention the exotic ebony sandalwood handle that is very comfortable to use and still felt great in our hands after extended use! Its beauty, however, is largely from its entrancing blade.
The 10.5-inch single-bevel blade is truly a head turned with its pattern-welded design involving 34 layers of beautiful Damascus steel which houses the VG10 Japanese Stainless steel.
With its Damascus steel layers, not only will you get a unique-looking blade, but you’ll also enjoy its resistance to stains, wear, and corrosion! Meanwhile, the VG10 steel core boasts an HRC 60-62 which gives you an ultra-sharp edge!
If slicing with the Sagana blade was like slicing through butter, then the TUO Cutlery knife cuts through fish like it was Jello!
- Ultra-sharp blade as well as top-notch edge retention
- Resists stains and corrosion
- Beautiful Damascus steel patterns that are unique to each knife
- Comfortable wood handle even during prolonged use!
- High HRC rating
- Although comfortable, the handle felt flimsy
First on our all-purpose Sushi knives is the Hiroshi Nakamoto Premium 6.5-inch Deba knife.
The makers of this sushi blade meticulously forge, sharpen, and assemble their product resulting in Damascus steel enveloping the core Ultra High Carbon Steel blade, a design that’s very similar to the TUO Cutlery Professional Yanagiba Sushi Knife with its layers of polished Damascus steel.
However, unlike the majority of Damascus steel knives available on the market, the knife from Hiroshi Nakamoto features a decidedly understated and subdued look.
This design will most likely appeal to those who appreciate the beauty of pattern-welded but hesitate to get anything too ostentatious.
Finally, we have the ultra-light rounded wood handle with the tan colors and wood staining that perfectly complements the silver-gray color of the blade
- Sharp edge ideal for all-purpose sushi tasks and is sufficient for slicing sashimi
- Understated pattern-welded design
- The handle looks and feels flimsy, and also can be slippery when wet
- Blade-heavy and somewhat unbalanced
- Blade dulls quickly after some use
Cutting in as the most budget-friendly traditional Yanigiba knife on our list is the Sushi knife from Sagana Kitchenware. This 8-inch stainless steel single-side beveled blade will be perfect for those who want to recreate the sushi and sashimi experience at home without breaking the bank!
The blade will naturally not hold its edge like our high carbon steel knives, but this is nothing a good whetstone can’t fix. However, out of the box, its edge was incredible, even terrifyingly, sharp. Consequently, slicing fillets felt like cutting through butter.
Additionally, its authentic rosewood handle makes the Sagana sushi knife a great bargain!
- Resists corrosion
- Remarkably sharp out of the box
- Ergonomic wood handle
- Quickest to lose edge on this list
- Slicing fish isn’t a smooth as other knives
- Again, it’s blade is the least sharp on this list but beginners may hardly notice
There you go! That’s our list of the best sushi knives! If you’re looking to add a dedicated sushi knife to your kitchen repertoire, then look no further than the entrancing Yoshihiro Shiroko Yanagabi Knife. It’ll cut through all your fillets in one swift motion.
Then again, if you’re looking to recreate the entire sushi-making process, the Tatara Japanese Professional Chef Knife with its amazing 8-inch VG10 Damascus Blade will be your best bet!
One thing to keep in mind with sushi knives, though. Take great care and be aware of your fingers! Some of these knives are so sharp that you won’t feel it initially breaking the skin!