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Mar 7, 2011 09:46 AM

Knives in Beijing/Shanghai?

Leaving for Beijing on the 16th, and wondering if anyone has some knife shopping tips for either Beijing or Shanghai. I can go off the beaten path (have been to China numerous times, and my daughter speaks some Mandarin).

I'll be taking a cooking class -- -- would I be best off just talking to the teacher?


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  1. The Chinese are not obsessed about knives like the Japanese are. In the kitchen they usually have one knife, the Chinese cleaver. If you read Fuschia Dunlop that's the knife they use. Yes do ask the teacher about where to get one in Beijing. It shouldn't be expensive.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PeterL

      YES get yourself a good Chinese cleaver. Watching a Chinese chef use such will make you understand that skills and a single good knife (in this case cleaver) vastly overshadows expensive pretty single use knives.

      I once worked several years in Garde manger in an Atlantic City Casino, while I had numerous fantastic knives in my kit, my $5 Chinatown cleaver (boy that was a bargain, awesome blade) was about all is used. Many borrowed it, but since they had little skill to use it quickly gave it back . And little by little when working along side someone, I was asked to teach.

    2. Chan Chi Kee (陳枝記) from Hong Kong is very famous, but that is nowhere close to Bejing/Shanghai. Here is the website:

      I own one, so I can tell you that it is better than other Chinese cleavers I have come across. It can take an amazing edge and hold the edge for quiet some time. Here are some excellent reviews:

      A new comer, popular Chinese cleaver brand is the Shibazi (十八子). Although its headquarter is at Guangdong, you will have a better chance finding one.

      1. The brand-name knife maker in Hangzhou or Shanghai: 张小泉 (founded in 1663)- Shanghai lost the brand fight but the flagship store on Nanjing East Rd (Shanghai) was where my relatives got their cleavers.

        -Hangzhou one:

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ting Ting

          张小泉 is an excellent brand. It is more famous for scissors than for knives, I believe. That said, I believe the knives are of good quality too.

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            The address for the Shanghai one:

            490 Nanjing E Rd, Shanghai

            Yeah,their scissors are amazing - I remember having at least 4 different kind of scissors just for toe nails! It's THE souvenir shop to hit, hoho.

            They probably will have other famous brand knifes as well. Beijing used to have WangMazi (also founded in 17th century) but I think it went bankrupt a few years back...

            1. re: Ting Ting

              "I remember having at least 4 different kind of scissors just for toe nails!"

              Ok... I know their scissors are great, but four?! Hey, thanks for reminding me about WangMazi. I heard great things about it, but never gotten to get hold of it. I am sorry it went bankrupted through.

              The address information will be very useful for the original poster.

        2. Thanks so much, all of you! I'm excited because the class covers knife skills, and that's one of my weak areas. I think even if I buy a cleaver in Beijing, I have to go to Zhang Xiao Quan (can't do the characters, sorry) while we're in Shanghai. I can always use a new pair of sewing scissors.

          1 Reply
          1. re: saucy.wench

            Best wishes. Zhang Xiao Quan (张小泉) is pretty famous brand and its products are widespread in China, so you definitely can obtain some without actually visiting Shanghai. That said, you will certainly have greater selections there. Thanks for Ting ting bringing this brand up.

          2. Just some on-the-ground info you might like to know, Beijing has banned the sale of knives for the duration of the big national meetings going on now. You might have problems getting your kitchen sorted out when you first arrive but things should be back to normal by the 20th or thereabouts. If you find that you need European knives (which I assume you already have), check out Pantry Magic in Sanlitun for the Japanese Global knives or some of the German knife brands. They're more expensive here but there's not much choice in Beijing...

            Thanks all for the Shanghai knife recommendations. Am headed that way this week and will definitely go.