The right tools can help any chef, whether they’re a seasoned professional or a casual beginner, up their game. This is especially true when preparing something like sushi, where presentation is just as important as taste. That’s why you’re going to want a proper sushi knife.
Of course, sushi isn’t cooked, so the ingredients you use and the way they’re prepared and presented is of the utmost importance. Among seasoned vets, the knife of choice for slicing raw fish is the yanagi. Long and thin like the willow branch it’s named for, the traditional knife features a non-stick blade with a sharp edge designed to slice fish in a single stroke. The resulting cut is super smooth, enhancing both the aesthetic and flavor of the fish.
There’s no room for error when making sushi, so you’ll want the best yanagi available. Here are four options that will ensure all your creations make the cut.
1. Dalstrong Shogun Series S Yanagi-ba Knife
Dalstrong’s yanagi is proof that style and substance can indeed coexist. The first thing you’ll notice about the knife its bold yet graceful aesthetic. Along with a traditional octagon-shaped handle made from military-grade G-10 Garolite and red rosewood, the 10.5-inch blade is adorned with a striking “Metal Storm” pattern that helps maximize slicing efficiency. While that would already be enough for some, that “ruthlessly” sharp blade, which is made from 67 layers of premium high-carbon stainless steel, has also been hand-finished using traditional methods and cooled nitrogen to ensure hardness and corrosion resistance.
Pros: A high-quality sushi knife that won’t break the bank.
Cons: Its eye-catching details may be too fussy for some.
2. Global G Series Yanagi Knife
Global G Series’s extra-long knife is for the serious sushi chef. An ultra-modern yanagi, its 12-inch blade was designed for one thing and one thing only: slicing fish as cleanly as possible. It’s crafted in Niigata, Japan using Cromova 18 stainless steel, a combination of chromium, molybdenum and vanadium that holds its ultra-sharp edge for longer than others and resists staining. It also features a weighed, hollow handle that gives you all the control you’ll need for even the most delicate slices.
Pros: A durable sushi knife that’s incredibly precise.
Cons: Modern aesthetic looks anything but traditional.
3. Keemake Yanagi-ba Knife
If you’re interested in a sushi knife, but not particularly enthused about putting down a ton of cash for one, then Keemake’s yanagi is exactly what you’re looking for. With a blade measuring 10.5 inches, the company’s no-frills knife isn’t the most stylish, but it more than gets the job done. Its core is made from two-ply, VG10 steel, which provides a clean cut every time, whether you’re slicing or filleting fish. Plus, its blade is easy to resharpen, so it should be long-lasting as well.
Pros: A no-frills option for chefs looking for a cleaner cut.
Cons: An introductory knife that’s best suited for beginners.
4. Yoshihiro Hongasumi Yanagi Knife
Yoshihiro’s Hongasumi yanagi is an all-but-guaranteed way to quickly level up your sushi game. The knife features an 11.8-inch, single-edge blade made from VG stainless steel that measures a 62-63 on the Rockwell scale. Ultra-sharp out of the box, the knife comes with a protective sheath and is easy to sharpen, meaning you’ll barely have to apply any pressure to cut through fish, even years after initial purchase. Adding to the knife’s allure is an elegant and tasteful look that any fan of Japanese cuisine will love.
Pros: A gorgeous, professional-quality addition to any chef’s knife set.
Cons: Not recommended for beginners.