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chinese cleaver with less curve

  • r

I have a carbon steel Chinese cleaver I bought probably 40 years ago in LA Chinatown. It has a standard 8" x 3.25" blade and wood handle. I love this cleaver and use it daily for cooking but somehow over the years it has developed a chip in the blade (proabably due to my spouse whom I just found going after a coconut with my Henckels bread knife!)

I have mostly sharpened away the chip (with the stone I bought to sharpen said cleaver also in chinatown, also 40 years ago) but still... probably time for a new one. When I check out the 99 Ranch Markets, Hawaii markets, etc of San Gabriel, however, I find all the cleavers for sale now have blades that are much more curved. Mine barely has any curve at all except at the far end . I know I'm supposed to embrace the curve but I have always preferred my basically straight cleaver over my French knives which just sit in the drawer. I have looked at the wokhouse website and the cleavers there seem to be what I'm after for but it is really hard to tell from pictures. Anyone with experience? Thanks.

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    1. I have one that I bought a number of years back in NY's Chinatown upon recommendation of a Chinese chef/cooking teacher. It is made by Dexter, in Massachusetts. High carbon, non-stain. Perfectly straight. Reasonably priced. Hope that helps.

      1. re: markabauman

        Thank you! I will look for Dexter

      1. re: CACook

        Those look great but alas way out of my price range.

      2. For light duty use a Japanese style vegetable knife might suit your need. One version has a rectangular blade, though it is somewhat narrower than the typical Chinese cleaver.

        3 Replies
        1. re: paulj

          I think I paid about $20 for my Chinese Dexter cleaver a few years back. It was in Chinatown-NYC, so I'm sure now and buying it elsewhere it will be a little more, but still a relative bargain. By the way, I brought my Martin Yan cleaver which had been given to me as a gift to class and the Chinese chef/instructor summarily dismissed it as too "American"- she said "go buy a Dexter".

          1. re: markabauman

            Yes, the Dexter seems to be up to about $40 but still doable. I am going to have to hunt one down.

          2. re: paulj

            Yeah, it was the narrowness that puts me off. I do have a Japanese vegetable knife I inherited from my son that I also use daily but I just prefer the heft and wide blade of the true Chinese cleaver.

          3. Have you tried chinatown in LA? I drive thru there frequently. I recall that there is a restaurant supply store on or near Alameda. Also, even though you wish to purchase a new cleaver, Anzen hardware in little tokyo has a shapening service, 319 first street. Normal rate is $10 per knife but to take out a chip it may be more. They can sharpen asian knives.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bgazindad

              Oh, gee! Talk me out of a new cleaver? But that's a good thought. I'm near Sawtelle in West LA where I know they sharpen lawn mower blades. Maybe I should look for a knife sharpener there.

            2. Is the curve on the Chinese cleavers shown on "japanesechefsknife" (link provided by CACook) too much? If not, I just got a "Stainless Steel Chopping-Knife size N0.2 Genuine San Han Nga" for $13 in the Washington, DC, Chinatown. I don't think paying a minimum of 10 times as much would make any real difference in my kitchen.

              I have a really heavy one that I got for about the same in Beijing long ago.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                The Chuka Bocho has the right curve. I will definitely look for the San Han Nga. Never have used a stainless steel cleaver though. I know people swear by them. I guess I kind of like the stains.

                1. re: ronke

                  I perfer carbon steel and stains as well, but carbon steel is getting harder to find. I have some wicked sharp and mottled carbon steel working knives from Brasil. Each cost about $1.00.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Whew! I am definitely going to have to get to Brasil! But in the meantime I will take a look at your recommendations. Thanks so much.