I've read and enjoyed all the cleaver posts, and still don't know what I want. I want a meat cleaver--should I go for the Victorinox, or go to Chinatown in NYC next summer and buy a cleaver there? If so, where should I go, and what should I get? I was all juiced for the Alpha, then found it was unavailable. :( There is an Alpha all steel http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Stainless... but someone said handle is short.
I've never even heard of the Alpha let alone seen one but if your after a basic SS cleaver then look at a Dexter. They are cost effective and work just fine for Chicken as long as you don't try chopping a frozen bird or do a Bruce Lee meets RR impression.
As an added bonus they are made in the USA.
Just want to be clear. You want a meat cleaver to chop bones and all, right? You do not want a thin blade Chinese slicer, right? The problem is that most of the Chinese knives have the same look from a distance, but in fact they are different in size, thickness, weight and for different tasks. For example:
If you want a meat cleaver as a beater knife to chop chicken bones and all, then any cleaver in the range of $15-35 is fine. You do want it to be thick though. It does not need to be high quality because it will be a beater knife. You can certainly get a Henckels or Wusthof cleaver if you like, but you don't have to.
In term of availability, I will suggest that Dexter Russell and Victorinox cleavers are good choices. Just some examples:
You will also have to decide how large a cleaver you want. A 7 inch? A 9 inch?
I'm going to jump in here too for some cleaver advice. I have a heavy 6" Henkels cleaver that I use it a couple of times a year when whacking up meat bones. I just got Pham's Vietnamese Home Cooking and am now jonesing for a lighter cleaver. For vegetables, ginger, garlic, etc. he recommends a "smaller and lighter" carbon steel cleaver. Any recommendations from ya'll?
<For vegetables, ginger, garlic, etc. he recommends a "smaller and lighter" carbon steel cleaver. Any recommendations from ya'll?>
Absolutely agree. The East Asian knife system is very different than the European knife system, but not any less complex. The Chinese, for example, actually have a very large knife selection, but they look similar from a distance.
The medium blade Chinese knife (also known as vegetable cleaver) is the most popular because it can handle light to heavy jobs. A lot of Chinese only have one knife at home and that is the knife.
However, if you already have a meat cleaver for tough jobs, then I agree with Pharm's assessment. You should get a thin blade Chinese cleaver for much better control for everyday's tasks (really isn't a cleaver because it is very thin -- but it looks like a cleaver).
Now, I don't think you have to get carbon steel. You can. Carbon steel knives sharpen up a bit nicer and holds the edge a bit longer, but it also require more care. I think Pham suggests carbon steel because many Chinese stainless steel knives are too soft to be good thin blade slicers. However, with the right stainless steel, this is not a problem.
I recommend Chan Chi Kee thin blade slicer -- for its carbon steel or for its stainless steel. You are looking at about $40-50 for the small size slicer.
I have several Chan Chi Kee knives -- 6 total at this point. The carbon steel KF1303 is a very popular model, and I wrote a review here.
Recently, I got the stainless steel version KF 1912. I have not had the chance to write a review, but it has been doing very well. Here is a short passage for my friends:
If you want to get the carbon steel KF 1303, then Chefknivestogo carries it:
If you want the stainless steel... then I do not know any online store sells it... so you will have to ask around.
Edited: Actually if you like you can go more high end and get the Japanese made Chinese slicers, but these are a bit more expensive. Actually, a lot more expensive, but you may like them. Scroll down and look for "Suien Chinese Cleaver", "Mizuno Tanrenjo Chinese Cleaver", "Hattori Chinese Cleaver"
Thank you, I really appreciate your thoughtful response. I bought a gyuto knife from chef knives to go based on something you had posted. It was my first carbon steel knife and I really enjoy using it. I would like something a big bigger now so am interested in a lighter weight cleaver. I saw a video about the 1303 and was surprised at how big it is - for some reason, as long as I can keep this addiction contained to a single drawer, I feel better about it.