Food - Drink
The Japanese Knife That's Designed To Cut Vegetables
BY WENDY LEIGH
Few kitchen tools are more impressive, important, and varied than knives. Some of the best knives in the world come from Japan, where knives specifically made for certain tasks are highly revered for precision and high quality, and perhaps the best vegetable knife you can buy comes from this country as well.
The acclaimed usuba (Japanese for “thin blade”) features a razor-sharp edge on one side, which thinly and quickly slices vegetables and fruits without giving them too much contact with the steel. This helps the produce stay fresh and appealing, due to a decreased discoloration and flavor damage caused by oxidation.
The traditional usuba knife also stands out for its rectangular shape, boxy square tip, extra length, and middle section that allows cutting techniques such as katsuramuki rotary peeling. Two types of usuba knives are available: the traditional Kanto version with the square tip, and the Kansai style with a pointed tip for precision.
The similar-looking nakiri knife is in the same family as the usuba, but the nakiri has a double bevel and is made exclusively for chopping. Prices run high for most Japanese knives, due to their handmade small-batch production and high-end materials, but you can find usuba-style knives made more affordably in other countries.