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Thread: Knives for tiny kitchens?

  1. #1
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    Knives for tiny kitchens?

    While there are elements of a "what knife should I get?" post in this thread, I am really more interested in what people would choose for themselves under the circumstances that apply to me. Part of that is because I'm still slowly exploring and expanding my cooking repertoire and haven't established a fixed set of usage criteria.

    Anyway, I've got this pretty tiny kitchen. 2.3x1.7m total including counter and refrigerator, counter offers about 60x70cm of total workspace if there's no rice cooker or anything else on it. Cutting board is 33x26cm.

    I cook for 2-3 people, maybe 4 at most. Rarely deal with meat or fish (not vegetarian, but my cooking leans that way), and would call my style Chinese with SE Asian influences (probably appropriate since I live in Taiwan and have a Vietnamese/Indonesian/Thai grocery store around the corner).

    Ignoring my cooking preferences (substituting with whatever you like), but considering my cooking environment, what kind of knives would you personally use? Would you insist on a 270+ gyuto or would you try to scale things down? Would you use specialized knives or try to find an all-in-one solution like a mini gyuto, tall petty, or santoku; or perhaps a cleaver/petty combo?

    I frequently read that knife xyz might be good in confined spaces, but I wonder how many folks here would actually use xzy in such spaces.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    I have a tiny kitchen in my apartment and space is at a premium, especially when I'm not using the knife. I use a 190mm Gyuto, a small 140mm Petty, a 75mm paring and a 165mm Nakiri, generally only using two knives per meal. In my kitchen anything larger isn't needed for preparing veggies/fruits and meat for one or two and it would take up too much space/be in the way when not in use.

  3. #3
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    man, if i lived in Taipei..i would close my kitchen.. haha.

    i love the cooking over there. my wife is taiwanese. she took me back and we ate and ate. the simplest food is so good. lucky dude!

    i have a small kitchen too..by american standards. for me, it is about storage. magnet bar only. my counter space is at a premium. nothing comes thru the door, unless it can do more than one chore. (well, the fire extinguisher gets an exemption)

  4. #4
    I used a board about that size for years in smaller kitchens, with a small cleaver 175mm x 83mm and an 80mm paring knife. That was before I got into knives much, so it was just a cheap stainless cleaver and the paring knife I got from my folks. Nowadays, I'd probably opt for a CCK 1303 cleaver (or something around that size), and a 120mm petty for that space. And I'd probably throw in a cheap Victorinox paring knife, too, for in-hand stuff and for guests to use. And store them on a magnet bar or something like half a magnet bar.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Frater_Decus's Avatar
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    I'd go with a 165mm nakiri bochō & an 80 to 150mm paring/utility/petty knife. If slicing meat was involved, I'd switch to a 210 gyuto instead of the nakiri.
    Vestigia nulla retrorsum.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
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    I have a small kitchen and use a Takeda Banno Bunka and a 4 inch paring knife almost exclusively. I use a 270 chef knife to cut pizza and watermelon.
    'I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying.' Woody Allen

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mucho Bocho's Avatar
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    Chuckles, Have you thinned your T Bunka? I love mine to but feel that its kinds thick behind the edge when cutting vegetables. I use this knife almost exclusively for butchering primals.
    One thing you can give and still keep...is your word.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
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    I haven't thinned mine much. And it does get its convexing done real quick. It is thicker than the Takeda Nakiri i have used. I like it on the small veggies I cut for preschool lunches and it cuts the crust off of cinnamon toast like a champ. To be honest I think if it cut much better my wife would stop using it. She already doesn't like it when I sharpen it.

    She is a pro and out of the seven or eight knives of this size I have forced her to try the takeda is the only one she has preferred to a grand prix santoku. This includes a fowler, 2 carters, a blazen, and a suisin.
    'I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying.' Woody Allen

  9. #9
    Senior Member Lucretia's Avatar
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    I have a small kitchen. When I use my 20 x 30 cm board, I prefer my 165mm santoku. For my larger boards (30 x 46cm) the 180 gyutos come out. Depending on the santoku, you get a decent length of flat blade and a usable point. Plus the height is useful for transferring food.
    Now is not the time to bother me. And it's always now. Wiley Miller

  10. #10
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
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    This is fun! If I had to have three or so space conscious knives, I'd choose:

    A killer nakiri (stainless)

    A 210 gyuto

    A parer

    And a 150 petty

    *** Good call, Lucretia! My 180 Shige Santoku could take the place of both the nakiri and 210 gyuto. ***
    09/06

    Take a look around at: www.sharpandshinyshop.com

    Email me at: tmclean@sharpandshinyshop.com

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