Chan Chi Kee vs Leung Tim (a two-part comparison)

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cotedupy

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In the first we'll look at dimensions, grind and initial impressions. In the second (which I'll do later when I've sharpened them properly) my thoughts on how they perform. Apologies as ever for the picture quality, or lack thereof.

I was in a Chinese kitchenware shop in Melbourne the other day and noticed they had some CCK behind the counter, including my favourite size: 1302. I've been looking for one for a while and the price, $90 AUS, seemed pretty decent. Though the equivalent Leung Tim Mulberry Chopper #2 is a little cheaper at $67 AUS. Here are our two knives, as you can see - with fancy new handles.

CCK:
IMG_3558.jpg


Leung Tim:
IMG_3559.jpg


Now these are the same model from two of the best Chinese brands, so we'd expect them to be pretty similar, which they are, but there are some small differences. It may not be apparent in those pics, but the Leung tim Has a tiny amount more curve to the belly, and the CCK seems marginally lighter and thinner. Though when we put them on the scales they're almost identical:

CCK:
IMG_3486.jpg


Leung Tim (this is the same model, but not my normal one. It was kindly given to me by another member for a bit of restoration, after he tried to remove the lacquer and it slightly affected the KU, and then decided it probably wasn't for him anyway):
IMG_3488.jpg


When we look more closely at them the reasons for this become apparent. Firstly - though both are 96mm tall, the Leung Tim is slightly longer at 212mm compared to 209mm for the CCK. And secondly - the weight distribution is slightly different. The CCK has a marginally thicker tang and a more aggressive early taper, the Leung Tim has a more even taper and weight distribution. We'll look later at whether this affects them in use.

CCK:
IMG_3509.jpg


Leung Tim:
IMG_3510.jpg


And finally for Part 1, lets look at the grinds. I've looked at a fair few caidao in my time; grinds are not particularly consistent tbh, and I doubt either of these was really intentional. So this is just a comparison of my own two, others *will* be different. The Leung Tim has something I've seen often on their knives, which is a grind that might favour food release for a right hander, the outside face is more convex with the inside almost straight. The CCK is all over the place, both sides appear to have slight 's-grinds' (I think that's the correct term), but in different places.

CCK:
IMG_3513.jpeg


Leung Tim:
IMG_3515.jpeg


Part 2 to follow later today / tomorrow, when sharpened and used.
 
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KingShapton

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You succeeded in Part 1 very well, thank you for the comparison.

I'm already looking forward to Part 2.
 

cotedupy

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Part II...

Here's this evening's sharpening lineup, though I will be using just the two in the middle for this. Which are: a Norton Combi at about 140/500 grit ish and my trusty King Deluxe 1.2k, with most of the work being done on the former.

IMG-3562.jpg


I'm not going to be doing proper thinning, or anything fancy sharpening-wise, just re-setting the edge at an angle I prefer. Something like this (CCK).

IMG-3582.JPG


I figure life is probably a bit too short to try to make a caidao completely perfect straight off the bat, I like to let them get there gradually as I use them over time. I sharpened both of them at the same angle, which works nicely for me on this size caidao, and I originally tried largely for convenience - it's the width of my thumb at the spine (how handy is that eh!).

IMG-3585.JPG


The CCK is more difficult to sharpen; I can get a burr quite easily, but they seem to form and flip at different points along the edge at different rates, which makes deburring difficult. Perhaps something to do with the slightly weird grind? Anyhow, the thinness of the CCK wins out in the end, and after about 10 mins we have it pretty sharp. Not the cleanest cut through kitchen towel, but not bad.

IMG-3584.jpg


The Leung Tim is a bit nicer to sharpen; more even, and consequently takes a few minutes less. It's also a bit sharper, this goes very cleanly through.

IMG-3590.JPG


Now lets's get geeky... in part one I mentioned that the Leung Tim had an asymmetric grind, with more convexity on the outside blade face if you're right handed. And I've just sharpened both sides in the same way, which is going to give us an asymmetric edge too, with the outside at a more acute angle than the inside (does this make sense?!).

This is pretty tricky to capture on my phone, but I've tried to exaggerate it a bit in the pic below to show what I mean. This is *not* a normal choil shot; it's taken from what would be the 'tip' end of the knife, so the more convex outside of the blade is on the right (I know it doesn't look like that, but I promise it is!).

IMG-3586.JPG


Anyhow... on to food. I didn't really have many of the things people usually use, but found the following in the fridge; a very old tomato, a carrot, a spring onion.

IMG-3591.JPG


Both are pretty good on our slightly mouldy tomato tbh. Though the Leung Tim is better, the CCK is not quite gliding through the skin on smaller bits.

The carrot's a bit old too, so probably doesn't show anything that people normally use carrots to prove (what is that btw? I've never really understood). The food release of the CCK is better on this than the Leung Tim.

No accordion cuts on the scallion either, which I find a problem sometimes with caidao, especially as I use them a lot in my cooking. Again though - better release on the CCK.

...................

That's about it for my comparison. Obviously I haven't looked at edge retention yet, but I imagine they're probably made from almost identical steel, so it'll be quite similar, and more just a reflection of how well (or badly) I've sharpened them. They're very similar knives overall; f&f on them is very comparable too. I've just tried to find tiny differences to make this interesting - I like them both a lot. But obviously anyone who's bothered reading this far is going to want to know which I prefer...

The Leung Tim by a whisker, but I can't really describe why.
 
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cotedupy

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Have you visited Leung Tim store here in Sydney? They have a store here run by the son. I go there to buy kitchen tools every so often as they are down the road from my place
Yep... I actually got this one by calling them up and they sent over to SA, but I have visited too (and bought a couple of other cleavers). Lovely people :) - I've mostly spoken with Monica.
 

Noodle Soup

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Have you visited Leung Tim store here in Sydney? They have a store here run by the son. I go there to buy kitchen tools every so often as they are down the road from my place
I hunted up their shop in Hong Kong a couple of years ago. Kind of out of the way but interesting. The hard part was finding a cab willing to take me back to the part of town my hotel was in. Not as many English speaking cab drivers as I expected and my Cantonese is non existent
 

ynot1985

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I hunted up their shop in Hong Kong a couple of years ago. Kind of out of the way but interesting. The hard part was finding a cab willing to take me back to the part of town my hotel was in. Not as many English speaking cab drivers as I expected and my Cantonese is non existent
where was your hotel that no one wanted to go to?
 

jeff_hK7

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Yep... I actually got this one by calling them up and they sent over to SA, but I have visited too (and bought a couple of other cleavers). Lovely people :) - I've mostly spoken with Monica.
I've been to their Sydney shop too. Great range of choppers and gadgets.
I chop lots of chicken necks. Would you get a super heavy one (approx 6mm at choil) that can also be used for lobster or a bone chopper that is lighter weight, but still good for bones (approx 3mm at choil)? Also would you recommend the models with wooden handle or steel?
Thanks.
 

jeff_hK7

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In the first we'll look at dimensions, grind and initial impressions. In the second (which I'll do later when I've sharpened them properly) my thoughts on how they perform. Apologies as ever for the picture quality, or lack thereof.

I was in a Chinese kitchenware shop in Melbourne the other day and noticed they had some CCK behind the counter, including my favourite size: 1302. I've been looking for one for a while and the price, $90 AUS, seemed pretty decent. Though the equivalent Leung Tim Mulberry Chopper #2 is a little cheaper at $67 AUS. Here are our two knives, as you can see - with fancy new handles.

CCK:
View attachment 122214

Leung Tim:
View attachment 122215

Now these are the same model from two of the best Chinese brands, so we'd expect them to be pretty similar, which they are, but there are some small differences. It may not be apparent in those pics, but the Leung tim Has a tiny amount more curve to the belly, and the CCK seems marginally lighter and thinner. Though when we put them on the scales they're almost identical:

CCK:
View attachment 122217

Leung Tim (this is the same model, but not my normal one. It was kindly given to me by another member for a bit of restoration, after he tried to remove the lacquer and it slightly affected the KU, and then decided it probably wasn't for him anyway):
View attachment 122211

When we look more closely at them the reasons for this become apparent. Firstly - though both are 96mm tall, the Leung Tim is slightly longer at 212mm compared to 209mm for the CCK. And secondly - the weight distribution is slightly different. The CCK has a marginally thicker tang and a more aggressive early taper, the Leung Tim has a more even taper and weight distribution. We'll look later at whether this affects them in use.

CCK:
View attachment 122212

Leung Tim:
View attachment 122213

And finally for Part 1, lets look at the grinds. I've looked at a fair few caidao in my time; grinds are not particularly consistent tbh, and I doubt either of these was really intentional. So this is just a comparison of my own two, others *will* be different. The Leung Tim has something I've seen often on their knives, which is a grind that might favour food release for a right hander, the outside face is more convex with the inside almost straight. The CCK is all over the place, both sides appear to have slight 's-grinds' (I think that's the correct term), but in different places.

CCK:
View attachment 122220

Leung Tim:
View attachment 122221

Part 2 to follow later today / tomorrow, when sharpened and used.
Thanks for doing this review. Can you please let us know who sells the CCK in Melbourne?

Which models would you recommend for chopping lots of chicken necks please? Edge retention is high priority for me.
Thanks.
 

JimMaple98

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Thanks for doing this review. Can you please let us know who sells the CCK in Melbourne?

Which models would you recommend for chopping lots of chicken necks please? Edge retention is high priority for me.
Thanks.
Chefland in Richmond sells then, I got a 1912 for $95 AUD off them two days ago, lovely people
 

demcav

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Thank you for this comparison, I enjoyed reading it. I have been using a CCK for a few months -- it's the KF1812 all-stainless. It has won me over to using a Chinese cleaver for many cutting tasks in the kitchen -- so much so that I am currently having one custom-made in 52100 based on my CCK, but with a wood handle. So, your post is especially timely. 👍
 

BillHanna

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I’m super happy with my KF1303. It was sharper than I expected out of box. I’ve been alternating between it and a Milan Gravier.
 

cotedupy

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Thanks so much. Truly appreciated.
This is where I got mine too. They're behind the counter, and yes - very nice people, though might take a little bit of convincing to let you look at them, initially I just got: 'Oh they're expensive knives, for chefs.' After a little bit of persuading I convinced them that I did actually want to buy one. At which point she decided: 'Oh you must be a chef then.' I just ran with it ;)

This range of slicing knives might possibly be a bit thin for a lot of chicken bones. A kau kong might be an idea. Though they're a bit low on CCK stock, so may not have them (more stock coming next month apparently).

Or for something particularly badass... I went back a couple of days later and got a CCK 'Rhino'. I haven't used much yet, but it's is hefty enough for chickens, probably pork bones too. But thin / sharp enough for slicing:

IMG_3401.jpg
 

cotedupy

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Some last thoughts on this, having now used them both a fair bit...

As I thought - the edge retention on these is basically the same, and it's pretty good for what I assume isn't the poshest steel. I'd re-iterate that these are very similar knives, and I really like both. But they feel slightly different in use, and it's because I think of the weight distribution.

The early aggressive taper on the CCK, which they're known for, pulls the weight back and it makes the knife feel more nimble than the LT, even thought they're identical weights. The CCK is excellent as an out-and-out slicer; for fast, fine vegetable cutting it's superb, and great fun to use. The LT is very good for this too, but it's not quite as agile, not quite as quick. But when you start going through heavier stuff, the weight in the blade of the LT comes to the fore, it is smidgen more all-purpose than the CCK.

If we want to semantically split hairs (and infinitives ;)) then then the CCK might lean more toward a being a 'sangdao' or 'piandao'. It's certainly what I would recommend it for someone accustomed to Japanese knives who wanted to try a Chinese cleaver, as I can see the taper and weight distribution making it feel less alien.

I am not a chef, and I've never been taught anything - when I started using caidao I was coming off a very low base in terms of traditional knife skills. And they're now largely what I use when cooking. I think the reason I said I preferred the LT by a whisker is that for me - it's just slightly more what a caidao should be.
 

KingShapton

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I am not a chef, and I've never been taught anything - when I started using caidao I was coming off a very low base in terms of traditional knife skills. And they're now largely what I use when cooking. I think the reason I said I preferred the LT by a whisker is that for me - it's just slightly more what a caidao should be.
Excellent described.
 
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