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My knife block runneth over. So much so that I actually have two knife blocks in my kitchen to contain my various blades. Recently I told myself I was done growing my collection—any other knife I’d add would just be superfluous. That has long been my attitude toward getting a nakiri blade. There was no need to get a knife designed for cutting vegetables if I could just use my chef’s knives for those applications. But in the last year, I’d regularly see a chef I follow on Instagram using his stubby-nosed blade and I finally asked: “Do I actually need to have one of these?” He came back with an unequivocal, “Yes.”
Now that I have one, specifically a Shun Hikari 6.5″ Nakiri, I see how right he was. Unlike my chef’s knives, the nakiri has very little curve to the blade, so that when I slice down, most of the edge meets the board, ensuring a quick, clean cut. So as I plowed through onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts and all manner of vegetables sliced, diced and julienned, I was able to work with more precision.
I especially love the Shun because it’s razor sharp right out of the box and through a lot of prep, it has held its edge well and the knife feels remarkably balanced in my hand. It didn’t hurt either that it’s a good looking knife, featuring an etched design on the blade reminiscent of Damascus knives and a handsome pale birch handle. It’s a great melding of form and function.