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Sep 1, 2013 09:23 AM

Chai doa knife

Anyone use one? It looks like a Japanese veggie knife with a rounded tip. Wustof makes it. I have a Wustof nakiri I just bought, but don't like it as I can't rock it like a chef's knife.

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  1. Hi btc:

    My mom had two cheap ones that I inherited. I kinda like them. They're very thin, intentionally so for veggies. I don't know about the Wustoff.


    1 Reply
    1. re: kaleokahu

      I am not interested in a cleaver, but the rounded tip of the Wushof chai doa looks like it might actually be a good tool. Williams Sonoma, Sur la Table, etc carry it.

    2. The term "Chai doa" is a rather unspecific term For average Chinese users, the term "Chai Doa" is as generic as it can get. In professional Chinese cutlery, "Chai doa" refers to a medium blade knife.

      This term has been borrowed (and frankly altered) to refer to something else by Western cutlery companies. For example, these are considered "Chai Dao" by the Wusthof and Gude Alpha Oak

      A true "Chai Dao" actually looks like this:


      So which one do you have in mind?

      < I have a Wustof nakiri I just bought, but don't like it as I can't rock it like a chef's knife.>

      Have you considered a Santoku?

      18 Replies
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        I have not, as it lacks the rounded tip. Do you use one and like it? I am so appreciative of all the wise advice on this board!

        1. re: brooktroutchaser

          A santoku does not have a big belly (curved profile) like a German Chef's knife does, but a Santoku does have a mild curvature and has a pointed tip. It is a very useful knife.

          Some santokus have more curvature than others. For example, the Shun Santoku has a pronounced belly, while a Tojiro Flash one does not:

          If you really like a curved knife, then any reason not to stay with the German Chef's knife?

          Also Kiwi sells these curved knives:

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Chemical - thanks for all this good info as usual! really like the look of that kiwi knife. next time i'm admiring the knife displays at WS i'm gonna pay closer attention between manufacturers.

            1. re: rmarisco

              :) You won't find Kiwi knives at WS ever. They are cheap knife ($5-10). They are amazingly good for their low price range.

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Oh, the chef's knives I own, Hoffritz and Wusthof are fine, but the nakiri inspired me to expand my horizons...and the Wusthof chai knife looks like it might be useful. And of course I don't intend to leave any money to my relatives when I die, so it is necessary to buy, from time to time, stuff I could possibly live without. And I already own too many fly rods. Don't need anymore cheap things. Maybe I will stop at Sur la Table and test drive a knife. Thanks for all the input.

            3. re: brooktroutchaser

              I just remember two other knives which you may be interested, beside the Kiwi knives.

              The Kuhn Rikon ULU:


              and Dexter Russell Duo Glide Chef's knife:


            4. re: Chemicalkinetics

              One week inexpensive all stainless veggie cleaver followed me home from the local Asian market. I choked up on the handle in a pinch grip and suddenly my life was forever changed. It is hard to go back to German steel after seeing what a marvel a nine dollar Chinese cleaver is. So may I impose again and inquire about a recommendation for a better tool. Something higher end than Dexter but under a hundred dollars in a vegetable cleaver. No Santoku, please.

              1. re: brooktroutchaser

                Good to hear. Since you said a veggie cleaver from a local Asian market has followed you home :P , can I assume it is the square-like Chinese cleaver, and not the curved Wusthof Chai Dao?

                In the case that you are looking for a more traditional square like Chinese veggie knife, then let me say that there are actually many so called "veggie knives".

                Without getting too detail, I will say there are the medium blade veggie cleavers which the Dexter Russell Chinese cleavers are, and there are the thinner blade slicer cleavers. I highly recommend the slicer cleaver if you are going to get another one.

                Dexter Chinese cleavers are reasonably good: inexpensive, easy to sharpen. However, they are a bit too thick and cannot hold a sharp edge long.

                My strongest recommendations are the CCK (Chan Chi Kee) Chinese slicers. Carbon steel or stainless steel. Although they are inexpensive and carry a great reputation, they are difficult to find.

                If you want the carbon steel version, then Mark from Chefknivestogo carries this small slicer for $45. Despite that it is called a small slicer, it is not small by Western knives standard. It is 20.5 cm by 9 cm (8 inch by 3.5 inch).


                If you want the stainless steel version, then I don't know there is any good internet site which sells them. Your best chance is that you live close to a local Chinatown and go there. I know for a fact that you can buy them in SF Chinatown, NY Chinatown, Vancouver Chinatown and Toronto Chinatown area. I bought mine from Toronto CCK shop itself for $50 CAD.


                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Yup, all stainless #4 nine dollar Chinese all purpose chefs knife/cleaver, with stainless handle.

                  1. re: brooktroutchaser

                    <all stainless #4 nine dollar Chinese>

                    #4 means that it is the smallest in its series. I know. It does not look small, but there are at least 3 to 4 knives larger than this one.

                    I recommended Chan Chi Kee (CCK) knives because they have a great reputation and I have multiple of them (6 of them) -- so I have extensive hands-on experience.

                    However, I just remember a brand which I don't have hands-on experience, which still should be pretty good. The are stainless steel blade.

                    These knives:




                    Now, if you still thinking about the curved Chai Dao, then here is one:


                    Yeah, I know. Most of them are out of stock... but may be they will come back soon.

                  2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    There seems to be a lot of low end slicing cleavers and then there is the Shun at the high end. Not much in the seventy-five to one fifty dollar range. Any knowledge of the red spirit F. Dick slicing cleaver, anyone? Chem?

                    1. re: brooktroutchaser

                      The Shun vegetable cleaver has received some criticisms from people who know Chinese cleavers. The Shun knife, while made with great steel, is bit short and a bit too curved.

                      I don't know much about the red spirit F. Dick slicing cleaver. I know F. Dick makes reasonable good knives, and I know a slicer will be a great experience for you, but I don't know the definition of "slicer" F. Dick is using. If you are on the fence for F. Dick red spirit, then you should send F. Dick and ask for its blade thickness. For example, my Dexter Chinese cleaver has a spine thickness of 3 mm all the way through. That is too thick to be called a slicer. My CCK carbon steel slicer has a spine thickness 2.7 mm at the heel, but it quickly taper to 1.8 mm at the center and down to 1.2 mm at the tip.

                      This is why I thought these two Zhen cleavers with an advertising 1.4 mm and 1.8 mm thickness will work. By the way, they are made of the same VG-10 steel as the Shun vegetable cleaver.



                      Back to F. Dick, just email or call them and find out the blade thickness. If it is thicker than 2 mm, then don't get it.

                      P.S.: I just noticed that the F. Dick Chinese slicer is sold at $200. That is way too high. If you are looking at $200, then there are bound to be better.


                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I looked at a couple if Dexters at the hardware store but the cutting edge was rather uneven. BTW, the F Dick is available for less than Amazon charges. I will see if I can find out more. Good info on the Shun. You are so helpful.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Red spirit slicing F. Dick is 2.54 mm and weighs 14 oz.

                          1. re: brooktroutchaser

                            Thanks. If it is only 2.54 mm at the heel section (near the handle), and the knife taper down quickly to 1.0-1.5 mm toward the tip, then it is fine, but I have a feeling that it is not.

                            I would look elsewhere for now.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              F.Dick is 2.54 at spine, 2.12 at center, 1.3 an inch above edge, .85 mm a quarter inch above edge and .30 just above edge.

                              Chem, what do you think?

                              BTW, I have visited every oriental grocery in town. Interesting and a world removed from Whole Food.

                              1. re: brooktroutchaser

                                <F.Dick is 2.54 at spine, 2.12 at center, 1.3 an inch above edge, .85 mm a quarter inch above edge and .30 just above edge. >

                                Nice information. It sounds like this only means the blade thickness changes from the spine to the edge. This is pretty normal. I was hoping that the F. Dick knife would have taper down along the spine from the heel toward the tip. Something along this line:


                                I think 1.3 mm for one inch above the edge is still a bit too thick to be a slicer. I can go home later and double check my slicer.

                                Good that you seem to enjoy your oriental grocery stores.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                                  I like to take some of the early replies back. You wrote "F.Dick is 2.54 at spine, 2.12 at center, 1.3 an inch above edge, .85 mm a quarter inch above edge"

                                  I just measured my slicer. Moving from the direction of spine to edge. At the spine tip, it is 1.3 mm. At the tip, halfway between the spine and the edge, it is 1.3 mm. At the tip, 1 inch above the edge, it is still 1.3 mm. Then, a quarter inch above the edge, it is 0.9 mm.

                                  So my guess is that the blade thickness of this F. Dick knife comes down quickly from the center (listed as 2.12 mm) to 1 inch above the edge (listed 1.3 mm). In fact, it comes down so quickly that it makes me think it has a hollow grind.

                                  As for weight, you said this F. Dick knife is 14 oz, which is about 400 g. My CCK KF1303 is 273 g with a blade dimension of 8.25 inch in length and 3.5 inch in width, or 20.5 cm X 9 cm.

                2. Pardon my chubby fingers on a tiny keyboard. chai dao

                  1. Just returned from a test drive of the chai dao knife at Sur la Table. It is a nice knife, perfectly suited to cutting and dicing veggies. But the spine is rather thin and I would not use it to cut a roasted spatchcocked chicken in half as one might with the same size German chefs knife. Interesting tool, however, and has its uses.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: brooktroutchaser

                      The Wusthof appears to be a spin off of an Asian cleaver with a big belly curve. I’ve seen cleavers with a big belly curve at Asian markets, and being used to rock chop, power mince herbs and nuts on Thai food cooking shows.

                      1. re: brooktroutchaser

                        What's nice about a Chai Dao, and a santoku as well, is that you get the width of a much longer blade (like a 10-inch chef's) without all the unwieldy length.

                        But it's not meant to be used to cut chickens in half, which I wouldn't do with a German chef's knife either. You'll dull your blade pronto and wonder why you can't cut red peppers the way you could just a day earlier. For the chicken I'd use a pair of quality kitchen shears. . .or a good old-fashioned cleaver :)

                      2. Best I can tell, the Wusthof Chai Dao is basically just a santoku. It has a bit more curve than their other santokus. The Shun santoku has a similar profile - you might like it too.