How to choose a Sushi knife (Yanagiba)?

You want to make sushi, maki or sashimi and use a professional knife? I’ll tell you how to choose the right knife! I will tell you about the different Japanese knives for preparing fish. And we will see in detail the Yanagiba, also called sushi knife or sashimi knife.

How to choose a Yanagiba knife?

Which Japanese knife(s) for fish?

To prepare fish, the Japanese use several types of knife. I will spare you the special knives in this article (eel, fugu and others) because it is not the subject of the day.

There are 3 main types of knives used in the preparation of fish, here they are:

The Yanagiba knife

The best knife for making perfect slices of fish is the Yanagiba. It is a knife with a bevelled blade to make clean and precise cuts. In fact it will make a perfectly smooth side. It is the side of the fish slice that will be in contact with the palate of the eater. So that the sushi slides into his mouth. And a slightly rough side. That will stick to the rice of the sushi.

The Yanagiba is a large, long and rigid blade. It is used to lift fish fillets. But also to make very precise slices. Whether for sashimi, sushi or other recipes. This knife can also be used to cut maki rolls without the blade catching.

To choose a good sashimi knife, 3 criteria are important:

  • The size of the blade, it must be chosen according to the length of the blocks of fish you wish to cut
  • The thickness of the blade is also important. The thinner it is, the more precise you will be and the less force you will need to cut the fish. This way you avoid tearing the fish flesh
  • The curvature of the blade means that the slices do not stick to the knife. This makes for clean cuts and quick work

The Yanagiba is therefore the fish specialist. If you had to choose only one for cutting fish it would be this one.

The Best Yanagiba:

The Deba

The Deba is a heavy and thick knife. It can be used to cut off the heads of fish or to slice the bodies. Its weight and rigidity cuts through the backbones or heads of large fish effortlessly.

This knife can also be used for chopping fish or meat. For tartar preparations, it will be very efficient.

Our selection of Deba knives:

Versatile Japanese knives

Other knives can be used to make sashimi, sushi or maki. But they are not the most suitable because they have a sharp blade on both sides. The cut will therefore be less clean.

This type of blade slices but it separates the two parts of the food. A bit like an axe does when splitting a log. Single-edged blades are much more precise and do not damage the flesh.

The two most versatile Japanese knives are the Santoku and the Gyuto. These knives can be used for a very large number of different actions. Cutting vegetables, meat, fish… They are very complete knives. To learn more about the Santoku, I invite you to read this article.

The most popular Gyuto knives:

Which fish knife to choose?

3 great knives for sashimi, sushi and maki:

1) Kai Wasabi 8-Inch Yanagiba Knife

An excellent knife for beginners. This Yanagiba has a 8-Inch blade. Its handle is made of Sequoia, a red oleaginous wood that is particularly resistant to water. This wood will guarantee a very good resistance in time.

2) Yanagiba Tojiro: Japanese made

A semi-professional knife. Available in 3 sizes: 210mm, 240mm or 270mm. This knife is entirely made in Japan. In the province of Niigata. Its blade is made of molybdenum vanadium steel. A Japanese steel with excellent characteristics. It will guarantee your knife an easy maintenance and a long life.

3) Yanagiba Sanetatsu Professional Japanese Knife

This professional knife is made in Japan. In the city of Sakai. It is reserved for experienced or professional users. A very high quality cut that will require special care. Always clean after use. It should also be oiled regularly. A blade of this level should be sharpened with 3 stones of different levels. The frequency of sharpening will be determined by your use.

To help you choose the right knife, here are some other articles that might interest you:

How to choose a bread knife?
How to choose a Usuba knife?
Which knife for cutting vegetables?
Which Deba knife to choose?
How to choose a left-handed Japanese knife ?
Which Damascus knife to choose ?
How to choose a knife set ?