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May 29, 2009 05:45 PM

sushi knife (moved from Ontario board)

Can someone recommend a good but economical sushi knife please?


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  1. If you're looking for a knife to cut very thin slices of fish, then you can't do much better than this one. While it's not a traditional "sushi knife" the sushi chefs at my local Whole Foods use them exclusively. I've had one for a couple of years and it sharpens easily and will slice verrrrry thinly.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Thanks for that useful tip. Looking for more suggestions from other people.

      What do u use to sharpen the knife?

    2. The traditional sashimi knife is a yanagiba. Its primary difference from western knives is that only one side of the blade is sharpened, while the other is slightly concave. So if you're left-handed, you have to make sure to get a left-handed knife.

      This single edge, coupled with the extraordinarily hard steel that is generally used, allows the knife to take and retain an absolutely razor-sharp edge. The concave back side prevents material from sticking to the blade. So a yanagiba is ideally suited to slicing fish without tearing or disrupting the flesh. No surprise; it was specifically designed to accomplish that task and no other.

      It's easy to spend thousands of dollars on a yanagiba; here are some that are a little more economical:

      11 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        What Alan said. Go for the Korin Yanagi if you are just starting out but serious. Don't forget to pick up a copy of the Korin sharpening DVD and a stone.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          alan, do you know how / where one might sharpen a yanagiba? i suspect you can't go to any ol' knife sharpener.

            1. re: jeffreyem

              wow, thanks for the extremely speedy reply. in part, i'm wondering whether you can sharpen yanagibas at home. i have a wusthoff sharpener tool for my chef's knife that works well. i guess i can't really conceive of a similar tool for a slightly curved blade. i'd probably have to get that professionally sharpened by a professional (in nyc in my case)... or else learn how to do it on a stone, which is hard to do without guidance!

              sorry to ask so many questions. i'm in the market for a yanagiba, too, but am not sure whether i could maintain one properly.

              1. re: cimui

                IMO you should buy a stone and learn. It's really not that difficult. However if you are in NYC you can buy from and have your knife sharpened at Korin. They also have sharpening classes and the DVD I mentioned above.


                1. re: Fritter

                  danka, fritter and scubadoo! i would love to learn how to stone sharpen. i'm just terrified of ruining a good blade, learning. there's a reason why there are professionals who do this sort of thing...

                  1. re: cimui

                    It's not rocket science. It's really not too hard. Yanagi does not always come well sharpened from the maker. They expect you to make it your own by finalizing the process. If you screw up it's not the end of the world. Just don't but a bevel on the back side. The bevel on the front is easy to find. Sharpie marker can help you find the angle.

                    Alanbarnes and I both have an EdgePro. This makes producing a consistent angle nearly foolproof. I use mostly hand stone at this time and can do a pretty good job in less time then with the EdgePro but I would highly recommend an EdgePro to anyone interested in sharpening. It is without a doubt the best guide system out there.

                2. re: cimui

                  A yanagi can be sharpened at home on whetstones. Since it is a single beveled knife (bevel on one side only/concave back side, the side facing you) you don't want to run it through some electric sharpener. Yes I know they make electrics for single beveled blades. The good thing is since it's single beveled it takes half the time.

                  If you own a yanagi you owe it to yourself to learn how to take care of it. It's not that hard and you will forever have sharp knives in your house

              2. re: cimui

                I use an EdgePro sharpener. It's basically a just a jig with a table for the knife blade and a clamp that holds a waterstone at precisely the angle you choose. After a fairly short learning curve, you'll be able to produce better results than all but the best professional sharpeners.

                1. re: alanbarnes

                  thanks, guys -- great information. i'm duly convinced (though if i ruin my first yanagi through crap sharpening, i'm going to be soooo annoyed :).

                  ericdunne, sorry to hijack your thread and thanks for a great question! looking forward to the recs people give you.

                  1. re: cimui

                    You can certainly trash an edge by sharpening badly. (I speak from personal experience here.) And if you're persistent enough, you can ruin the bevel, too. But typically, the only way to ruin a knife is to use a motorized sharpener that gets it too hot and detempers the steel. I suppose that with a single-beveled knife like a yanagiba you could also do significant damage by putting a bevel on the back side. But even that could be ground out.

                    The most important thing is to determine the angle of your bevel before you start. As scubadoo97 said, just mark it with a sharpie. Then when you move the knife on the stone (or vice versa) you can see if you're maintaining the correct angle - if the mark comes off cleanly, you're doing it right; if only the part near the edge comes off, your angle is too obtuse; if only the part near the spine comes off, you're too acute. A yanagiba is going to have a pretty acute angle - probably 15 degrees or less.

                    Good luck!

            2. Do you want a knife to slice sushi (e.g., norimaki/makizushi) or a knife to slice fish/sashimi?

              1. You should check with the folks over at foodieforum/Fred's Cutlery Forum. A poster recently got a Tanaka yanagi. Quite a bit of information over there that you would find interesting as well as entertaining.

                8 Replies
                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Here is another forum that IMO is probably the best out there for kitchen knife info.


                  1. re: Fritter

                    I'm on both sites. Both have a lot of information. FF just had a member get his yanagi and was discussing sharpening it. Again these knives are not as sharp as they can be out of the box.

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      It looks like that Tanaka needs a lot of work. I find the average poster a little more advanced on the Knife forum so there's a little less conflicting information but I agree both are good sites. This might be a good thread for the OP as well.


                      I noticed theese on the Korin web site. Theese might just the ticket for a noob. Stain resistant and a great price to boot.


                      1. re: Fritter

                        agreed, the Korin yanagi is a good buy for a "low cost" yanagiba. Still not a cheap knife and more than most will want to pay for a specialty knife. Razor sharp and made to slice paper thin sheets of fish.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          I hear Korin is having a 15% off sale starting 7-01 but that may just be a rumor.

                          1. re: Fritter

                            I came across this site that has a Watanabe Yanagi on sale for $60. Any one looking for value will be hard pressed to beat this on a new beginners knife.


                            1. re: Fritter

                              Yes Watanabe has a budget line. The knife is only $10 off the listed price. Still not a bad price for Japanese steel by a well known knife maker but it is only 210mm.

                              For those looking to buy a yanagi consider no less than a 240mm blade length. 270mm would be even better. The reason you need this extra length is to make a single pass cut. Even if you are only cutting a 3 inch block of fish you need this length for a good cut. 210 falls a little short

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                My preference is for 270 or 300 as well however in a beginners series 215mm is not un-common. Tanaka is another brand you will see in this size.
                                Remember that's just the blade length VS an over all measurement like a Western knife.
                                215mm = roughly 8.5". Plenty of fish gets cut with a Deba or Momizi both of which are shorter.
                                Ideal-no but if you want ideal you rapidly get out of the price range that many will spend for a specialty use tool as you mentioned up thread.