Need Recommendation: Buy Knife set while in Japan
So my wife and I are going to Japan in February (2 weeks, will start in Tokyo). We want to do a few things: Take a knife using class (if you have recommendations please let us know), take a samurai sword class.
On every trip we make we like to buy a really nice gift. In this case, we want to buy a very nice Japanese knife set for cooking (4-7 knives). We are thinking to spend about $1,000 - and want to make sure we get the best bang for the buck.
So some questions:
1) Can we get really nice sets for this amount?
2) What companies should we look for?
3) What should we look for?
4) I have no idea, so please feel free to give any advice you are willing to give so we buy a good set
Before you jump into buying a 'set', please tell us what knife you would use. I always find there are knives on sets that you will never use. More cost effective to buy what you would use instead
$1000 would even buy you a very practical hon-kasumi set, or a honyaki chef knife, if you bought it in the US
The really "traditional" japanese set, if I am not mistaken, would be Usuba, Yanagiba, one or multiple sizes of Deba, maybe a small Bannou for paring - and only optimal to a pescetarian, since it is rooted in a period of history where the japanese diet was pescetarian mostly
A "modern" set well suited for western cuisine would be Gyuto, Petty, Nakiri (or Santoku - but if you have a Gyuto, it can do all the Santoku tasks that a Nakiri is unsuited for), Sujihiki. Maybe with some additions from the traditional set
You would want to spend more on your "main" knife and get a better quality than with these you use less.
In some cases, you will want both a stainless and a non-stainless version of the same blade shape.
Mind sharpening supplies ($100 would get you usable equipment at US prices, $10 will not!) *and get instruction on sharpening from the sellers if you can*
- 10" or 12" knife (Chefs knife)
- Boning Knife
- Meat slicing knife (hallow edge?) - used for slicing meat on angles (e.g., flank or skirt steak)
- Pairing knife
- Maybe a bread knife
We are fairly open to suggestions - as we are true novices here.
Essentially, we have a dozen wusthoff knives of various sizes. We would love to get rid of all of them, and go down to a really good setup. My wife and I cook a lot, and we cook all kinds of foods (lots of fish, chicken, and some meat).
So yes, you are right - "set" was probably the wrong word to use
Why do you say if bought in the US? Are prices better in the US? It's very well possible...when we were in Switzerland - the nice switch watches were more expensive then what I could pay in the US (for the exact same watch)
Originally Posted by LifeByA1000Cuts
Why stainless vs non-stainless?
Originally Posted by LifeByA1000Cuts
I will google the names above...it's all Greek to me
No, I meant "no idea what it would cost you in Japan (probably very different if you were shopping in Tokyo, Seki or Tosa , but judging by dollar prices. And even by these, yes you can build a bloody nice set ".
BTW, rumor has that there are many kitchen kit stores in an area called kappabashi (never been there so...)
10" or 12" knife (Chefs knife) <<--called a Gyuto. Mind that these are like french not like german chef knives in shape. And often not optimized for rocking cuts. There is a super heavy version called a Yo-Deba (not entirely unlike a lobster splitter I guess
Boning Knife <<-- called Garasuki or Honesuki (different types)
Meat slicing knife (hallow edge?) - used for slicing meat on angles (e.g., flank or skirt steak) <<--called Sujihiki. Is not hollow ground, also does not have kullen usually.
Pairing knife <<-- The really small parers seem to be uncommon. You'd commonly find a Petty ( a medium sized knife, shaped gyuto- or sometimes somewhat sujihiki-like depending on maker), small Bannou (I like them as hand peelers actually), or Kawamuki (which I can never imagine as a parer, tend to use them as a mini-ryoba-usuba )
Maybe a bread knife <<--- called a Pankiri. do not overspend on something fine there, there is hardly a "best" bread knife.
You don't cook any fish (I don't)? The japanese are known to be excellent at fish knives (which I don't know much detail about )
The non-stainless (or non-stainless stainless-clad) type gives you a wicked sharp (and easy to maintain sharp!) and thin edge for a decent price.
The stainless type might be needed when handling ultra-acidic ingredients (pickles, limes...), or for tasks where a knife is left on a board and periodically used in-between other stuff... Buying a stainless that is equal in performance to non-stainless and not more expensive is a science in itself
I was in Tokyo a couple of years ago and was counseled at my hotel about a very particular area of Tokyo (I dont remember where it is unfortunately) that is solely devoted to shops intended for restaurant owners and cooks...
There, in that particular KU, there was supposedly the best knife shop in Tokyo (or one of the most well-known) and I did buy a couple of beautiful knifes there. The walls were covered with knifes more beautiful one than the other and the prices ranged from very afordable (cheaper than here in canada) to several thousands of dollars (behind glass)... Sorry I cannot recall the exact shop but I do recommand a visit in this area!!
Might have been kappabashi...
YES! exactly, that was the general area:
Difficult to forget that!
You will find directions on how to get there: follow this link : here
I think that the shop was Kamata Hakensha, see this video
Here is some info about the shop: follow this link : infos
I wish I could go back there, it was really the Ali Baba of knifes!!!