If you’re a well-versed home cook, you’ve likely heard of a Chinese vegetable cleaver before. Perhaps, you even have one in your cutlery drawer. But you may not be as familiar with the nakiri bōchō. This lightweight knife is one of Japan’s oldest blades and is a beloved staple in most Japanese kitchens. Just like its Chinese counterpart, the knife is extremely efficient at chopping, slicing, dicing and mincing veggies and fruits.
Nakiri knives typically measure between 6 to 7 inches and sport a double bevel edged blade that’s thin, straight and rectangular. This allows them to easily slice through produce without the need for a horizontal pull or push. As with most knives, high-carbon steel is the material of choice as it promises exceptional sharpness, strength and durability, as well as lasting edge retention.
Ready to invest in your very own nakiri knife? We’ve curated a quartet of the best blades available on Amazon to add to your kitchen arsenal.
1. DALSTRONG 6-Inch Nakiri Knife
Dalstrong by name, Dal-very-strong by reputation. The Japanese brand is known the world over for its high-quality knives, like this 6-inch nakiri bōchō. Mercilessly sharp, the full-tang blade was forged from a single piece of high-carbon Japanese steel and then nitrogen cooled for added strength. It boasts a lofty 58+ Rockwell hardness which means it’ll hold its scalpel-like edge for far longer than many other knives. The blade has also been carefully tapered so it can make swift and precise cuts with minimal drag. The traditional hand-polished pakkawood handle supports a professional pinch grip, with thumb and index finger on the blade, for safe and comfortable cutting.
2. Mercer Nakiri Vegetable Knife
Mercer’s take on this essential knife is forged from one piece of high-carbon German steel to offer maximum durability and stability, as well as long-lasting sharpness. The blade has been honed to a 15-degree edge for increased efficiency when slicing and dicing. It’s also been triple-riveted to give precise control even when you’re tackling something difficult like a pumpkin or pineapple. The ergonomically designed Derlin plastic handle fits comfortably hand, while the rounded spine ensures a comfortable grip and less fatigue.
3. TUO 7-Inch Nakiri Knife
This version combines ancient Japanese sword making techniques, like the 3-step Honbazuke method, with the latest in breakthrough technologies, such as nitrogen cryogenic tempering and vacuum heat-treatments. The end result? A phenomenally sharp full-tang blade—it’s 14 to 16 degrees per side—that is at once flexible and tough-as-nails. Forged from high-carbon German stainless steel, it’s also resistant to rust, corrosion and stains. The luxe pakkawood handle has an attractive satin finish and has been ergonomically designed to accommodate an ambidextrous hold. This means both right- and left-handed cooks can slice to their heart’s content without any discomfort.
4. Imarku 7-Inch Nakiri Knife
The perfect mix of traditional Japanese design and state-of-the-art tech, this 7-inch cleaver nakiri knife is both pretty and practical. It features a traditional tsuchime (hammered) finish that prevents food from sticking to the blade and reduces the knife drag while in use. The blade is made from high-carbon German stainless steel and comes with a Rockwell Hardness Scale of 57, which means it should hold up to a lifetime of daily use. The knife weighs a svelte 8.8 oz and can be effortlessly maneuvered through fruit and vegetables. It’s fitted with a classic black handle and will make an elegant addition to any kitchen.