A good sushi knife is a very nice implement to have in your kitchen if you prepare sushi at home on a regular basis. If you are a sushi chef, then it is a required item and probably the most important tool in your toolbox.
Before going out and purchasing your knife however, you should educate yourself on the main types and styles that are available – and choose the one that best fits your needs and budget.I strongly suggest you to visit Japanese Chef Knives to learn more about this.
The Two Main Types of Japanese Sushi Knives
There are two main groups of Japanese sushi knives and they are divided based on how they are honed. A traditional Japanese sushi knife is honed on one side and a Japanese western-style sushi knife is honed on both sides (double-edged) and is based on western knife design but with a Japanese influence.
This influence mainly refers to the fact that instead of being ground 50:50 (or like a “V”) typical of standard western knives, they are ground to a thinner asymmetrical edge with ratio’s like 70:30, 60:40 and 90:10.
By creating a steeper angle on the front face blade edge than on the back side, a thinner cutting edge is created which gets closer to the sharpness of the traditional single-edge sushi knife design.
The 3 Main Styles of Japanese Sushi Knives
Traditionally, a sushi chef will have at least the following 3 styles of knives.
1. Yanagiba. This is the long slender knife you see most often being used by a sushi chef. It is designed and used mainly to slice up raw blocks of fish and fish fillets for sushi and sashimi. Out of all 3 of the knives, this is probably the one most at home sushi chefs could most benefit from.
2. Usuba. The usuba knife is a Japanese-style vegetable knife with a thin, straight blade edge that is ideal for making very thin vegetable cuts. The usuba is further broken down into 2 types. The kataba, which is honed only on one side and is capable of making the thinnest cuts and the ryoba, which has a double-edged blade that cannot make as thin a cut, but is easier to make straight cuts with.
3. Deba. The deba is a small, curved Japanese carving knife that is designed to remove the heads from and then fillet the fish. It could almost be best described as a cross between a meat cleaver and a chefs knife. This sushi knife is not really a required item for a home sushi chef. It is mainly used by professional sushi chefs who spend a part of their long day preparing whole fish for sushi.
There are other styles available but these are the main ones. Other things that should be considered is the type of steel, how to use and how to sharpen your knife.