You do not need a specialized tool to cut and slice raw fish for sushi, especially if you only do it for yourself or your family. But then, if you want to come up with a beautiful dish and a nice presentation, you will certainly need a bit of practice. Moreover, finding the best sushi knife on the market will make your job easier. Such knives are specifically developed for fine cuts and will make the difference in the final result.
Choosing the best knife could be a challenge. If you bother to do your homework, you will find plenty of specialized knives that could be used to make sushi. Japanese chefs tend to rely on about 20 of them, with deba, usuba, Yanagi, santoku, and nakiri being the most popular options on the market. Again, sushi comes in more forms, while ingredients can vary widely. This is the main reason why you can find so many specialized knives.
Despite the confusing style of these knives, there are a few things to pay attention to. Moreover, it is important to consider others’ recommendations and reviews too. You want a product from a reputable manufacturer with a bunch of well-built knives. At the same time, you want a product with lots of positive reviews. Chances are what works for other people that may work for you as well.
2020’s 5 Best Sushi Knives
Profile and design – Shun’s best sushi knife comes with a very narrow profile. It has a comfortable handle, as well as a long blade for all kinds of applications. It is excellent for sushi, but it works for other types of meats too, such as poultry. It is a Yanagi type of sushi knife – quite common among Japanese chefs.
Blade – The nine-inch blade is based on VG-MAX stainless steel clad. It has not less than 68 layers of Damascus stainless steel. In other words, it looks amazing. However, it is the performance that makes the difference. Not only is it razor-sharp, but it will also retain its edge for ages, requiring little to no maintenance.
Sharpness – The blade is hand sharpened, just like most knives from Shun. It is sharpened at 16 degrees, which is way below average. In other words, the knife is extremely sharp and can cut through meat with no issues whatsoever. This way, you will retain the flavors and juices inside the meat.
Handle – The handle is just as important in a knife. You want a comfortable experience and fewer risks to injure yourself. The pakka wood handle is built to last. It is made from hardwood and mixed with resin. It will resist moisture and water damage. Plus, it feels comfortable and less likely to slip out of your hand.
Efficiency – The blade efficiency is not given by the material and sharpness only. Instead, it is also enhanced with hollow ground indentations. Their role is pretty simple – they help to cut through meat without having it stick to the blade. Your cuts will be finer and better looking when preparing a dish.
- Comes with indentations to prevent the meat from sticking to the blade
- Durable and nonslip pakka wood handle
- Extra sharp, so be careful when handling it
- Can be used for other types of meat and not just fish
- Cannot be cleaned in a dishwasher
Blade – Yoshihiro does not fool around when it comes to quality standards. From this point of view, the blade is made of Japanese white high carbon steel 2. The HRC is set at 63. In other words, this knife is extremely sharp out of the box. Not only will it maintain its sharpness, but it will also get it back if it ever requires sharpening – especially if you do it with a whetstone.
Appearance and style – Although performance is the first thing you need to be concerned about, this knife also brings in an exquisite appearance. It comes in a traditional black forged style that feels classic, yet modern. It looks elegant. Plus, this type of manufacturing procedure does not negatively affect performance.
Comfortable handle – The handle is part of the game and requires a bit of comfort. Otherwise, you will experience discomfort and pain in the palm, by the thumb. All in all, the handle is made of rosewood. It is handcrafted and comes with a double bolster for extra balance. It is less likely to slip out of your hand, even if it is wet.
Sizing and usability – The blade measures 11.8 inches in length. It is a bit longer than other sushi knives, but the size makes it suitable for other types of meats as well. The handle measures 9.2 inches. Given the materials, the knife feels extremely stable in your hand, but it is also lightweight and easy to use.
Package and maintenance – Yoshihiro has thought about everything. Apart from the actual knife, you will also get a professional sheath. It is made of magnolia wood and it is specifically built for this knife. It will fit like a glove. Knife oil is also included in the package, as well as a rust eraser. Furthermore, the knife must be washed manually and never in a dishwasher.
- Comes with a sheath and a few other items for maintenance
- Elegant and traditional blade design
- Comfortable nonslip handle
- Well balanced when in use
- Proper care is mandatory to prevent oxidation
Capabilities and type – Nego might have designed the best sushi knife if you are interested in a specialized tool. This unit is a sashimi knife. In other words, it is specifically built to allow cutting thin slices of raw fish. If you are after a tool specifically built for sushi, this could be the ideal solution to your needs. It could be used for other types of meat as well.
Sizing and package – The blade measures 8.5 inches. You could find the same knife in a smaller size too – eight inches. The handle measures 6.8 inches. It is well balanced. Other than that, you will get a full package. There is a small sheath included in the package – it fits like a glove. Other than that, you have a mini sharpener for emergencies.
Sharpness – The knife is razor sharp out of the box. Be careful as you take it out. It can be used straight away – no sharpening required whatsoever. The blade is made of German high carbon stainless steel. Not only can it get extremely sharp, but it will also retain its sharpness in the long run. Being so sharp, you can slice and fillet meat without any pressure at all.
Handle – You have a full tang design, as well as a protective bolster. The knife is slightly thinner than the blade, so you have a guard as well. It is made of solid wood. It features a nonslip surface. It is also comfortable, so you can forget about numbness. Given the size, it feels alright for both small and large hands.
Versatility – The knife is extremely versatile. Given its profile and design, it makes an excellent choice for sushi. However, it is ideal for all kinds of tasks in your kitchen too – mincing, dicing, slicing, chopping, cutting, and filleting. Try to stick to soft foods and never use it on bones. As for maintenance, do it manually and never in a dishwasher.
- Can be used for a wide variety of kitchen activities and foods
- The nonslip handle has a guard and feels comfortable
- The blade is extremely sharp and will maintain its sharpness overtime
- Comes in a full package, with a sheath and a mini sharpener
- The sharpener is not professional, but still alright for emergency situations
Dalstrong Yanagiba Phantom Series
Uses – Dalstrong’s best sushi knife is specifically built for this purpose. You can find it in professional kitchens, but it is just as common in residential applications. It is particularly designed to cut raw fish into thin and straight fillets. From this point of view, it is also referred to as a sashimi knife. It is a multipurpose knife, meaning you can use it for other types of meats as well.
Performance – There is nothing to complain about in terms of performance. The unit is elegant and features an amazing balance as you hold it. It is razor-sharp, meaning you will not have to put too much pressure on the meat. In other words, less pressure will retain the flavors, as well as all the juices.
Blade – The blade is flawless. It is honed at 13 to 15 degrees, so it is extremely sharp. It is then nitrogen cooled for its sharpness to resist over time. The same process also increases its flexibility, as well as its resistance to corrosion. Edge retention is given by the material as well – Japanese AUS 8 steel at 58 Rockwell hardness.
Comfortable handle – If you are used to feeling discomfort in the palm by the thumb, you can forget about it. The handle is made of pakka wood – it is also handed polished and laminated for durability and good looks. The D shaped handle will fit perfectly. There is also a handguard for protection. All in all, the blade measures 9.5 inches, while the handle is eight inches in length.
Maintenance and package – In terms of maintenance, make sure you clean the knife after each use. Rinse it with a bit of soapy water. Never throw it in a dishwasher. The low sharpening angle can get dull. The package includes a sheath for storage too. It fits perfectly, but make sure the knife is dry before putting it away.
- Perfect balance ensures great stability when in use
- Durable handle and excellent edge retention
- Low sharpening angle, so it is extremely sharp
- Good looking design and style
- The D shaped handle and orientation makes it more suitable for right-handed users
Yoshihiro VGYA240SH Hongasumi
Great looks – Yoshihiro is no stranger to sushi specialized knives. This model is a hongasumi knife. The name does not refer too much to its capabilities, but its appearance. Practically, the pattern has a beautiful mist obtained by forging steel and iron. Yoshihiro has proven once again that attention to small details is one of the reasons behind its popularity.
Blade design – The blade is made of VG high carbon steel – HRC 62 to 63. The sharpness is out of this world, so be careful when you unpack it. It will maintain its sharpness over time, but just like any other knife, it can go dull. Sharpening it with a whetstone will bring the razor sharpness back, so there is nothing to worry about.
Size and build – The blade is single edges. You also have a bit of a guard. Anyway, it measures 9.5 inches. The handle, on the other hand, is 5.5 inches long, ensuring a perfect balance. The front is flat – shinogi style, but you also have a concave part – urasuki style – and a flat rim – uraoshi style – at the back.
Comfortable handle – Balance plays a significant role in dealing with comfort, but the handle is not to be overlooked either. It is simply built, yet elegant and attractive. It is made of Japanese rosewood. It is also handcrafted for quality. The double ebony bolster adds to the balance, build quality and durability.
Maintenance and cleaning – This knife is not mass-produced and it requires proper care. Otherwise, it could oxidize. Proper care involves never throwing it into a dishwasher. Instead, cleaning it manually with water and soap. Let it try before storing it away. It comes with its sheath, which is great for storage.
- Comes with a perfectly matching glove
- Durable blade design to retain sharpness
- Razor-sharp out of the box
- Perfect balance and comfortable to use
- The knife is suitable for right-handed users, but you can find an alternative if you are left-handed
Frequently Asked Questions on Sushi Knives
Unless you are a professional chef, you will inevitably come up with a few questions while trying to decide on the best sushi knife.
What kind of knife can I use for sushi?
There are more types of sushi knives out there. Normally, they are multifaceted. However, you can also find more specialized items, such as the sashimi knife, which is particularly created to cut fish.
What are sushi knives made of?
While this is not a general rule, plenty of sushi knives are based on high carbon steel, which is different from stainless steel. In other words, it does not have too much protection against rust, hence the required maintenance and care. But at the same time, it can attain a way sharper edge, which is mandatory when making sushi.
What is a Yanagida knife?
Yanagiba refers to a willow leaf blade. To help you understand, this knife is excellent at cutting raw fish fillets. It can provide super thin slices – perfectly straight cuts. These slices are known as sashimi, so this knife is often known as a sashimi knife as well. On the other hand, Yanagida knives are just as handy at trimming meat fillets.
What is a Santoku knife?
Santoku knives can provide extremely thin slices. You can use them to cut seafood, fruits, vegetables, meat, and so on. Just make sure the foods are soft. Such fine cuts are quite common in Japanese dishes. The wide blade also allows scooping food off a cutting board without too many issues. Given its characteristics, the santoku knife is quite common when making sushi.
Do I need a sushi knife?
You can prepare sushi with pretty much any type of knife out there. However, using a specialized sushi knife will provide thinner slices of fish, as well as finer and straighter cuts. This type of precision may not be needed if you make sushi for yourself or your family only. However, it is mandatory if you want to come up with a beautiful presentation.
As a short conclusion, sushi knives are quite diversified. There are more options out there that can match your personal needs. Choosing the best sushi knife depends on your level of experience, as well as your expectations. Just like any other type of knife, the sushi knife takes time to get used to. However, any of the above-mentioned options could provide an excellent experience.