Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Jan 31, 2008 06:04 AM

Is the expensive shun mandoline worth it [Moved from Site Talk board]

It should be the best considering the price about $365 but is it the best. I don't mind spending money if the result is worht the price. I have always used knives but so of the intricate cuts a mandoline can make are intriguing.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well I have one that was a gift and much less expensive. I don't use it that often. I'll first grab a knife, then maybe the food processor, and occassionally the madoline. The one that I have works perfectly well, I just don't find that I use it that much.

    1. Most mandolines come with a built-on pusher device made to hold food and push it through the blade while protecting the fingers (mandolines are very dangerous) . I've yet to see a pusher device that works well. The pusher on the Shun looks very elaborate and therefore expensive. Instead, buy a less expensive mandoline that has a sturdy blade and makes the intricate cuts you want. At the same time buy a protective glove (the kind used by butchers and oystersmen (about $25). Then toss the pusher and use the glove. Use it always. Sure, safe and fast.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GeezerGourmet

        Oh, what a great suggestion! I was going to ask if there was a generic pusher that works. I have a Matfer mandoline with a fiberglass frame. It's fine, cleans up easily, but the pusher is totally useless, so I use the tool much less than I could. Are you talking about the metal gloves or heavy leather? Does anyone know where to buy such gloves?

      2. I love the Japanese Benriner... you can get the big one for under $50.

        Watch the Food Net enough and you'll see it in use often on various shows.

        You can get it many places (check eBay!) ... but this is what it looks like:

        2 Replies
        1. re: Jennalynn

          I have and really like the Benriner slicer (actually I have two!) but they have limitations: its thickest slice is quite thin (off the top of my head it can't be more than 1/4") and you can't use them to make "lattice" cuts. The thicker "slicing" blades/inserts on European-style mandolines also lets you "cube" things. You can technically do that with a Benriner - with practice - but you get "dice" not "cubes."

          I wholeheartedly second the glove thing. The pushers are always awkward and even if you have good reflexes and coordination (like me? lol) all it takes is one slip. After using all kinds of tools all my life, I only recently managed to almost do serious damage to myself - it helps not to be in a rush and not to try to be talking on a phone you hold against your shoulder while you use it, but that's a longer story...

          As for the gloves, I found one quite a lot cheaper than kitchen supply places at a fishing tackle store - being sold as a "filleting glove." Might be worth checking online, too.

          1. re: Jennalynn

            I love the Benriner too! It's small, light, easy to use and CHEAP. It's the one professional chefs generally prefer. All of the restaurant kitchens I've worked in use the Benriner for all kinds of stuff. And the blade is easy to sharpen if you have a whetstone.

          2. Note that with each cutting stroke you'll be moving about a pound of cast aluminum back and forth along with the food you're cutting.

            The slide in and out blade change method, and the single twist knob for thickness are definitely a plus though, as is the width (about 5 inches) and the space under the unit where the food drops.

            Then again, a Benriner will cost about $300 less.

            4 Replies
            1. re: ThreeGigs

              I would say spend the $50 on the Benriner and see if you use a mandoline in your life that much. If you find it limiting but love playing the mandoline, sell it on eBay and buy the other!

              1. re: Jennalynn

                Heck, i would say spend $30 on the small Benriner and see if you use it that much...

                i have this one and quite like it, but still... i'll only pull it out of the cupboard once or twice a year...$365 would be a lot to spend on something used so infrequently.

              2. re: ThreeGigs

                I'd go with the Oxo Good Grips mandoline, it's excellent for not a lot of money. It has a removable reversible blade for waffle cuts or straight cuts, and adjustable cut thickness. I have one and like it a lot, but I still only haul it out rarely.

                1. re: Buckethead

                  Me too...I got mine as a Christmas gift but only use it if I have a lot of slicing to do (like scallopped potatoes or such). I dislike that it cannot be washed in the dishwasher, and cleaning around the blades gives me the willies. But I do love it when I use it.

                  Love the suggestion of the filleting glove instead of the food pusher--I'm going to try that.

              3. I also endorse the Benriner. It's dirt cheap, easy to use, easy to clean, and (though the hand guard is useless) no more dangerous than anything else. If you're doing really fancy decorative stuff, the Benriner isn't suitable. But the expensive one I once had was a pain to store and to clean. It cost a mint, though I can't for the life of me remember the brand. It did much more than a Benriner, but I seldom used it and finally gave it away. The Benriner stores easily in a drawer and gets used much more often.