So, which sashimi(sushi) knife is the best?

Many people asked what to look for when buying a (sashimi) knife, and here are some of the tips I give to them.

About Sashimi Knife

Many people in the US think it's "Sushi Knife" and I am assuming that it because the knife is used by sushi chefs. The fact is that here is no such thing as “Sushi” knife. Instead, it's Sashimi Knife called "Yanagi Ba" in Japanese, or a willow leaf blade.

There are a couple of features that make them different from western knives. They are single bevel, and it's long and narrow shape.

The reason for the single bevel is so that you can make a straight incision when you cut fish for sashimi.

Why straight edge on the fish? The reason is to have as a flat surface as possible to maximize the contact with your tongue, for the maximum flavor.

The reason for the blade being long is to slice the fish with one stroke, and the narrow shape reduced the friction for smooth cuts.

1.It’s about how you sharpen it

2.If it feels great in your hand, that’s the knife for you

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1.It’s about how you sharpen it

No matter how sharp the knife is, eventually, it will get dull, and you must sharpen it. The best sushi chef I ever worked with, was using $15 chef knife he bought at restaurant supply store. His knives were so sharp that he fillet the whole halibut in less than three minutes. That was because he knew how to sharpen them.

Many people tend to go for the make, and type of steel its used, thinking the more expensive, the better the knife is. The fact is it's not always the case.

2.If it feels great in your hand, that’s the knife for you

There is no such thing as “The best (sashimi) knife.”

However, there is “The best knife for you.”

Finding the best knife for you is like find your life partner: If it feels right to you, then, that is the right partner for you. So, I recommend holding the knife and see how it feels in your hand. Feel the balance, weight and definitely see how it feels when you cut ingredients. Hold as many knives as you can. Just like your life partner, the process of finding “the right one” will take time, and it’s likely that there is only “one” knife for you. You may also end up buying several knives before you reach the “right one.”

That being said, I can recommend the following knives

Miyabi Birchwood, Slicer

This is the one I use because it’s nice looking knife. It’s lot lighter in weight compared to traditional Yanagi-ba. It’s made in Japan and sold by J.A. Henkel. The pattern comes from the fording technique, where they keep folding the steel to have over 100 layers. The Birchwood handle has a very nice feel and I like that.

Miyabi Kaizen Yanagi-Ba

We used this knife for our sashimi class. It’s a lot heavier than Birchwood slicer and a good fit for those who prefer weight. One of the reasons why Yanagiba is heavy is, I think, is it’s easier to slice sashimi because you can use the weight of the knife to slice fish, instead of using your force. Less force, the better tasting sashimi.

Tsukiji Masamoto

Founded in 1855, started to supply sashimi and Japanese knives around Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. One of the most popular and used Sashimi knife in Japan and the world.

They do have Yanagi-ba ranging from $270 ~$2000 plus, so for a beginner, here are some of my recommendations.

You would want at least 270mm length. I find 240mm to be too short when making sashimi