Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
SG-

Chinese Cleavers...

Recommended Posts

After buying a whole lot of western style knives the past couple of years, I've recently come to realize that my $25 chinese cleaver is I reluctantly admit the most versatile of the lot.

The wide flat surface is extremely useful for bashing garlic and other semi soft items and transporting chopped foods. The height of the knife allows cutting with a single stroke and also chopping up large stacks of vegetables, unlike chef knives where I often find myself "running out" of steel. The almost 90 degree corners allow for delicate cuts when needed. Almost like having a chef, paring and cleaver all in one.

And probably the most useless in mind has been a 6" utility knife.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couldn't agree more. Also useful for flattening cutlets and cutting up poultry. I've also used it to turn pork loin into chops (otherwise I think you'd have to own a meat saw) and to finish opening a tin of tomatoes when a shitty can opener missed a few sections. And if you put a sharp edge on it, you can use it to bone chicken breasts.

Someone should sell these on late night television: "It slices, it dices...wait, there's more!"


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone should sell these on late night television: "It slices, it dices...wait, there's more!"

~~~~~And wait ---- If you order in the next 10 minutes, you will also receive~~~~~~!!!!!LOLOL!

I'm with you on cleavers! I have a million dollar set of Cutgo which I never use. My cleavers are -----as they say ----- my Chinese food processors!

Aside from the cutting and flat edges, the blunt end of the handle will mascerate things like garlic and salt or beans. The blunt edge pof the actual knife blade will tenderize and flatten that last piece of chunky meat, and the whole blade will scoop everything up all at once.

I have quite a few cleavers, both wide and thin blades and I can't even think of cooking without them. I don't mind the stained appearance of the carbon steel ones, but my Dexter, with the carbon inside and coated with stainless is my favorite. Next is my fruit knife, (a cleaver with a thinner blade) which I reach for constantly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

actually most asian cooks wouldn't be able to live without their trusty do-it-all cleaver.

i'm being a snob but i'm just waiting till i see that perfect cleaver before i get it.

it will call my name and tug at my heart and i will get it.

i'm waiting for that epiphany.

i tend to keep my favourite knives for just about FOREVER so when i get it, it has to be that perfect knife.

my friends say: come on, it's just a knife, not a wife.

but i'm like, if i dont get the perfect knife, i'll just waste money buying second best.


Do not expect INTJs to actually care about how you view them. They already know that they are arrogant bastards with a morbid sense of humor. Telling them the obvious accomplishes nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My cleaver is the cheapest but most used knife in my arsenal. However, I would not dream of using it to hack through bones so a heavy-duty cleaver is high on my wish list. I want to be able to hack through chicken bones and not worry about taking a chunk out of the cutting edge. (I wonder if Santa lurks on eGullet.) :biggrin:


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A 'Chinese Cleaver' is really different than a 'Cleaver'. The edge on the 'Chinese Cleaver' is much thinner than a regular 'Cleaver' and really should not be used for cleaving. I have both Wustof 'Chinese Cook's Knife' and a heavy Wustof 'Cleaver'. The Wustof Chinese Cook's Knife is very versitile and can substitue for a number of blade shapes. Wustof 'cleavers' come in different sizes and edged thickneses and are meant for actual cleaving through bone or gristle. -Dick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A 'Chinese Cleaver' is really different than a 'Cleaver'. The edge on the 'Chinese Cleaver' is much thinner than a regular 'Cleaver' and really should not be used for cleaving. I have both Wustof 'Chinese Cook's Knife' and a heavy Wustof 'Cleaver'. The Wustof Chinese Cook's Knife is very versitile and can substitue for a number of blade shapes. Wustof 'cleavers' come in different sizes and edged thickneses and are meant for actual cleaving through bone or gristle. -Dick

We may be talking about different beasts. My "Chinese" cleavers were purchased at stores in one of Toronto's Chinatowns and are indeed meant to be used for chopping meat, if the guys who operate barbecue places in Chinatown are anything to go by.

The older one is carbon steel and rusts easily so doesn't get used much anymore. The other one is stainless, but they are both quite heavy with fairly thick blades. As I recall, both were purchased for the equivalent of pocket change.


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are Chinese cleavers and there are Chinese cleavers. (IMMHO.) I have 8 of them --- all different, all purchased in NYC's Chinatown. Some are cheapos with an exposed stud, 2 are fruit cleavers, one smallish one is all stainless, the first has a split handle (I've had it for about 30 years), most all carbon, a couple are a combo of carbon coated with stainless,etc --all different.

Some people with small hands like the smallish stainless. Men seem to like the heavier Dexters, women the lighter ones. (I'm not being sexist -- it is just what I've observed over the years.

The people who do a lot of cooking and cutting like the Dexter. It's not the heaviest cleaver, or the best cleaver in the market, but it gets the job done and it is my favorite. I have cut thru bones with it.

The two pictured look like great knives. I like the Japanese one with the round handle. The site didn't say what the composition was, but I would guess it is stainless covered carbon steel. Anyone know?

One of my sons wanted to buy a cleaver. I cautioned him ---not to buy one with the metal handle. (the ones where the handle and the blade are all one piece.) Well----- being a son who doesn't listen to his Momma, he bought the metal handled one, and found what was wrong with it. The handle gets slippery. It is neat looking, but can be deadly. I see workers in C'town using them, but they usually have a rag wrapped around the handle.

Maybe someday I will buy the ultimate cleaver ---- maybe. But I'm happy with the Dexter that I have. It does what it needs to do. I don't even remember its cost, but it was worth the price at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that we've established that we have a group of Oriental cleaver lovers, can y'all offer some good places to go to get them. I'm in Atlanta and if anyone know of a place here that would be helpful. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I rememeber reading an article by Fuschia Dunlop (The author of Szecuan Cooking) saying that when she enrolled in the Szechuan cooking school she thought the cleaver was a farely brutal, cumbersome thing, until she saw it in the hand of a master, and saw how it could be used to perfectly bone out a whole duck!


I love animals.

They are delicious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Now that we've established that we have a group of Oriental cleaver lovers, can y'all offer some good places to go to get them. I'm in Atlanta and if anyone know of a place here that would be helpful. :smile:

Atlanta must have Asian groceries or supermarkets. I would think that any cosmopolitan city would - I think, I think.

For information, you might ask at a Chinese restaurant just where to go. Unless you know your knives, I would hesitate mail-ordering one. You would want to see what 'feels' right in your hand.

If you find a store, a manager or a passing housewife, might give you some help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still love to watch Martin Chan wield his cleaver on his shows. I believe some still run on PBS and on FoodTV (Canada). But I have to turn the volume down so I don't have to listen to him. :biggrin:


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw Martin Yan in person at a local dept store a few years ago demo ing something or other The only thing I remember is the incredible skillset he had with a Chinese cleaver. He cut chicken breast meat so thin you could see through it and boned a chicken in well under a minute. After that I began to use one in my work kithen and the more I used it the more things I learned to do with it.

colestove

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Wustof 'Chinese Chef's knife' that I have is 2mm wide and is specifically marked 'Do not use on bones'. It is very versatile and sharp. Wustof cleavers come in 3.5, 4 and 5 mm thickness. The 24cm long, 5mm wide Wustof cleaver I have will take your arm off. -Dick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The 24cm long, 5mm wide Wustof cleaver I have will take your arm off. -Dick

Something every home kitchen needs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I saw Martin Yan in person at a local dept store a few years ago demo ing  something or other  The only thing I remember is the incredible skillset he had with a Chinese cleaver.  He cut chicken breast meat so thin you could see through it and boned a chicken in well under a minute. After that I began to use one in my work kithen and the more I used it the more things I learned to do with it.

colestove

His charisma and showmanship have done much to bring Chinese cooking into Western kitchens. His recipes are safe. Meaning -- that they are good, easy and (I guess) authentic ---just not daring.

I was on an on-line Q&A with him a couple of years ago. I had a specific question for him ----- "How did he feel about the interest, by diners, for dishes like General Tso's, and Sesame Chicken, etc. His answer was not an answer at all -----he simply gave me his version of General Tso's Chicken!! LOL!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

now, if only we can find a cleaver that stays forever sharp. i used to own a laser cut Richardson (Sheffield, UK) chef knife that never needed sharpening. 7 yrs down the road, my cousin (who took the knife) says that it's still sharp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My cleaver and I are now inseparable. I initially took it from my parent's house to get sharpened to test my local grinder because I knew that even if he screwed it up it wouldn't be a huge loss. Now I use it for all my chopping.


"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my friend who's a food expert swears by her JinMen Cleaver. Supposedly fashioned from an Artillery shell.


Do not expect INTJs to actually care about how you view them. They already know that they are arrogant bastards with a morbid sense of humor. Telling them the obvious accomplishes nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone know anything about the Messermeister Meridian Elite

Meat Cleaver - 6" ?


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Chocolatemelter
      Hey everyone.
       
      So im looking for the most affordable chocolate shaking table that actually works.. does anyone have experience with the ones from AliBaba or china in general?
       
      i bought a $100 dental table from amazon but i guess its not the right hrtz cause it kinda works, but not well enough.
       
      im looking in the $500 range or under.. any advice? Thanks
    • By liuzhou
      Perhaps the food-related question I get asked most through my blog is “What's it like for vegetarians and vegans in China. The same question came up recently on another thread, so I put this together. Hope it's useful. It would also, be great to hear other people's experience and solutions.
       
      For the sake of typing convenience I’m going to conflate 'vegetarians and vegan' into just 'vegetarian' except where strictly relevant.
       
      First a declaration of non-interest. I am very carnivorous, but I have known vegetarians who have passed through China, some staying only a few weeks, others staying for years. Being vegetarian in China is a complicated issue. In some ways, China is probably one of the best countries in which to be vegetarian. In other ways, it is one of the worst.
       
      I spent a couple of years in Gorbachev-era Russia and saw the empty supermarkets and markets. I saw people line up for hours to buy a bit of bread.  So, when I first came to China, I kind of expected the same. Instead, the first market I visited astounded me. The place was piled high with food, including around 30 different types of tofu, countless varieties of steamed buns and flat breads and scores of different vegetables, both fresh and preserved, most of which I didn't recognise. And so cheap I could hardly convert into any western currency. If you are able to self-cater then China is heaven for vegetarians. For short term visitors dependent on restaurants or street food, the story is very different.
       
      Despite the perception of a Buddhist tradition (not that strong, actually), very few Chinese are vegetarian and many just do not understand the concept. Explaining in a restaurant that you don't eat meat is no guarantee that you won't be served meat.
       
      Meat is seen in China as a status symbol. If you are rich, you eat more meat. And everyone knows all foreigners are rich, so of course they eat meat! Meat eating is very much on the rise as China gets more rich - even to the extent of worrying many economists, food scientists etc. who fear the demand is pushing up prices and is environmentally dangerous. But that's another issue. Obesity is also more and more of a problem.
      Banquet meals as served in large hotels and banquet dedicated restaurants will typically have a lot more meat dishes than a smaller family restaurant. Also, the amount of meat in any dish will be greater in the banquet style places.
       
      Traditional Chinese cooking is/was very vegetable orientated. I still see my neighbours come home from the market with their catch of greenery every morning. However, whereas meat wasn't the central component of dinner, it was used almost as a condiment or seasoning. Your stir fried tofu dish may come with a scattering of ground pork on top, for example. This will not usually be mentioned on the menu. Simple stir fried vegetables are often cooked in lard (pig fat) to 'improve' the flavour.
       
      Another problem is that the Chinese word for meat (肉), when used on its own refers to pork. Other meats are specified, eg (beef) is 牛肉, literally cattle meat. What this means is that when you say you don't eat meat, they often think you mean you don't eat pork (something they do understand from the Chinese Muslim community), so they rush off to the kitchen and cook you up some stir fried chicken! I've actually heard a waitress saying to someone that chicken isn't meat. Also, few Chinese wait staff or cooks seem to know that ham is pig meat. I have also had a waitress argue ferociously with me that the unasked for ham in a dish of egg fried rice wasn't meat.
       
      Also, Chinese restaurant dishes are often given have really flowery, poetic names which tell you nothing of the contents. Chinese speakers have to ask. One dish on my local restaurant menu reads “Maternal Grandmother's Fluttering Fragrance.” It is, of course, spicy pork ribs!
       
      Away from the tourist places, where you probably don't want to be eating anyway, very few restaurants will have translations of any sort. Even the best places' translations will be indecipherable. I have been in restaurants where they have supplied an “English menu”, but if I didn't know Chinese would have been unable to order anything. It was gibberish.
       
      To go back to Buddhism and Taoism, it is a mistake to assume that genuine followers of either (or more usually a mix of the two) are necessarily vegetarian. Many Chinese Buddhists are not. In fact, the Dalai Lama states in his autobiography that he is not vegetarian. It would be very difficult to survive in Tibet on a vegetarian diet.
       
      There are vegetarian restaurants in many places (although the ones around where I am never seem to last more than six months). In the larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai they are more easily findable.
       
      Curiously, many of these restaurants make a point of emulating meat dishes. The menu reads like any meat using restaurant, but the “meat” is made from vegetable substitutes (often wheat gluten or konjac based).
       
      To be continued
    • By liuzhou
      I know a few people here know her already, but for those that don't, she is simply the best creator of Chinese food and rural life videos. It's not what you will find in your local Bamboo Hut! It's what Chinese people eat!
       
      Here is her latest, posted today. This is what all my neighbours are doing right now in preparation for Spring Festival (Chinese New Year to the Lantern Festival 15 days later), although few are doing it as elegantly as she does!
       
       
      Everything she posts is worth watching if you have any interest in food.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Wowotou buns ( 窝窝头 wō wō tóu), also known more simply as wō tóu are originally from northern China. The name means "nest" and they come in many forms. These are the ones I use. As you can see, they are usually stuffed with whatever the cook decides. These are stuffed with spicy pork and pickled greens, but I've also served them with a seafood stuffing.
       

       
      This is the recipe I usually use.
       
       窝窝头
       
      350 grams all-purpose/plain flour
      150 grams black soya bean flour
      3 grams instant yeast
      260 grams  milk
       
      Mix the flours well, dissolve the yeast in the milk and stir into the flour until a dough forms. Knead the dough until smooth. Cover with plastic
      wrap and leave in a warm place until double in size.
       
      Sprinkle flour on the chopping board, knead the dough, adding more flour if too wet. until all air is expelled and the dough has a smooth surface.
       
      Form the dough into six even-sized balls and rub between the palms until smooth and round. Flatten slightly, then use your thumb to press the dough into a nest shape.
       
      Steam covered for 30-35 minutes.
       
      Note: The flours used vary a lot. Corn or sorghum flours are very popular, but I don't like corn and sorghum isn't the easiest to find here in southern China. Use what you like, but the overall quantity for this recipe should be 500 grams. It has been suggested that pure corn flour is too sticky, so probably best to mix it with regular wheat flour.
       
      They freeze well.
       
      Recipe adapted from 念念不忘的面食  by 刘哲菲 (Unforgettable Wheat Foods by Liu Zhefei). This isn't a direct translation, but retelling of the gist. Any errors are mine. Not Ms. Liu's.
    • By liuzhou
      This arose from this topic, where initially @Anna N asked about tea not being served at the celebratory meal I attended. I answered that it is uncommon for tea to be served with meals (with one major exception). I was then asked for further elucidation by @Smithy. I did start replying on the topic but the answer got longer than I anticipated and was getting away from the originally intended topic about one specific meal. So here were are..
       
      I'd say there are four components to tea drinking in China.

      a) When you arrive at a restaurant, you are often given a pot of tea which people will sip while contemplating the menu and waiting for other  guests to arrive. Dining out is very much a group activity, in the main. When everyone is there and the food dishes start to arrive the tea is nearly always forgotten about. The tea served like this will often be a fairly cheap, common brand - usually green.
       
      You also may be given a cup of tea in a shop if your purchase is a complicated one. I recently bought a new lap top and the shop assistant handed me tea to sip as she took down the details of my requirements. Also, I recently had my eyes re-tested in order to get new spectacles. Again, a cup of tea was provided. Visit someone in an office or have a formal meeting and tea or water will be provided.
       
      b) You see people walking about with large flasks (not necessarily vacuum flasks) of tea which they sip during the day to rehydrate themselves. Taxi drivers, bus drivers, shop keepers etc all have their tea flask.  Of course, the tea goes cold. I have a vacuum flask, but seldom use it - not a big tea fan. There are shops just dedicated to selling the drinks flasks.
       
      c) There has been a recent fashion for milk tea and bubble tea here, two trends imported from Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively. It is sold from kiosks and mainly attracts younger customers. McDonald's and KFC both do milk and bubble teas.
       

      Bubble and Milk Tea Stall
       

      And Another
       

      And another - there are hundreds of them around!
       

      McDonald's Ice Cream and Drinks Kiosk.


      McDonald's Milk Tea Ad
       
      d) There are very formal tea tastings and tea ceremonies, similar in many ways to western wine tastings. These usually take place in tea houses where you can sample teas and purchase the tea for home use. These places can be expensive and some rare teas attract staggering prices. The places doing this pride themselves on preparing the tea perfectly and have their special rituals. I've been a few times, usually with friends, but it's not really my thing. Below is one of the oldest serious tea houses in the city. As you can see, they don't go out of their way to attract custom. Their name implies they are an educational service as much as anything else. Very expensive!
       

      Tea House

      Supermarkets and corner shops carry very little tea. This is the entire tea shelving in my local supermarket. Mostly locally grown green tea.
       

       

      Local Guangxi Tea
       
      The most expensive in the supermarket was this Pu-er Tea (普洱茶 pǔ ěr chá) from Yunnan province. It works out at ¥0.32per gram as opposed to ¥0.08 for the local stuff. However, in the tea houses, prices can go much, much higher!
       

       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...