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Highest quality cleavers made in China


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The highest quality Chinese-made cleavers that I have been able to find here in the U.S. are made by Chan Chi Kee of Hong Kong. Are there any other kitchen knives made in China at this quality level or higher?

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Heres' a list of styles and comments: Chinese Cleaver

Here is Martin Yan's Chinese Chef's Knife. Good luck at matching his double-chop motion.

For a dispassionate general evaluation, see Cooking for Engineers.

From an evaluation site:

-- standard size is 220 x 112 mm. (8-2/3" x 4-7/8")

- the Yan knfe is 8" x 3"

-- 620 grams is good for chopping but too heavy for most people and clumsy for slicing

-- 250 grams is too light

-- 430 grams (15.2 ounces) is about right

A relatively thin blade (3 mm) is best for knife work (as opposed to chopping).

For the best control, put your thumb along the blade on one side and your index finger along the other as discussed here, holding the handle only with your other 3 fingers. One instructor even says put your middle finger on the blade, pointing nearly straight down, and hold the handle with only 2 fingers.

With a properly sharp knife, you rest the edge on what is to be cut and push it slightly forward. The knife cuts/drops through by its own weight.

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My mother has an older Martin Yan knife that's pretty good. It has a black handle and I think was made by Messermeister of Germany. It appears those have been discontinued, however.

I recently bought a 7" Cooks Elite Santoku from JCPenney for $15 which has now become my favorite knife. It's hard to beat for the price and as good as knives costing three times as much.

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My mother has an older Martin Yan knife that's pretty good. It has a black handle and I think was made by Messermeister of Germany. It appears those have been discontinued, however.

When I was a culinary student at the California Culinary Academy in San Francsco, Martin Yan came to do a demo class for us. He was filming one of the first years of his tv show at that time and I drew the lucky straw to do his prep work and assist. As a reward, he gave me one of those knives and yes, they were made by Messermeister. I spoke to a Messermeister rep a number of years ago because I wanted to get a couple more for my brother and dad. They told me that they could not ever keep up with the demand and, rather than drop their quality standard to make them faster, they discontinued. I love mine (and I gloat in front of dear brother everytime he watches me use it!). My most recent best knife purchase is a Kyocera ceramic chef's knife. While it is only good for veggies and boneless meats, it holds it's edge forever! I've dropped it a few times and had to send it back to the factory for a new finish...cost me $10 for the shipping, but it was returned within three days....love it!

Sara

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Umm, let's get back to esvoboda's original question - "Are there any other kitchen knives made in China at this quality level or higher?"

Cooks I've talked in HK to consider the Chan Chi Kee knives and cleavers the best of their type. I own and use one of theirs (their stainless 'duck slicer', which is a good all-around tool, basically similar in use to a santoku), and I like it, although I mainly use western-style knives. I also like that it costs the equivalent of US$10, in Hong Kong at Chan Chi Kee's store on Shanghai Street.

There's a huge range of knife brands in China and I'm sure some must be as good as Chan Chi Kee, but none that I've tried so far were as good.

For western or Japanese style knives made in China, several Euro brands now make their cheaper lines in China. They're generally not great, but the quality is improving rapidly. The most famous all 'made in China' brand is probably Furi, which makes a big deal about being designed in Australia but is 100% made in China. I'm not a big fan of their knives, but many are. http://www.furitechnics.com.au/

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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I have a couple of knives, made in China, but they are the lesser cleaver type -- 1 1/2 inches across. I use those on light things. One has the characters:三 桁 瓦 san hung wa. It's OK

Another of the same size, also made in China has characters for Guangzhou shuang shi wei ji (广州 双 狮 为 记 but in traditional characters) Also OK. They both sharpen nicely, being carbon steel, but they are best for light weight work.

Another is Hong Kong made and is a regular sized cleaver. Brand name - "Atlas". Sharpens well, but the stud on the handle is exposed and the wooden handle has split over the years.

My favorite is a regular sized American made Dexter that is carbon steel with a stainless coating. The handle has the stud enclosed and altho it is not exactly a bone cleaver, it can do the job. I like its weight --- heavy, but not hack-heavy.

I have other cleavers, but there are no names on them.

Sara -- That is a great way to get a knife! How lucky you are!!!

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I have a chinese cleaver made by "Town Foodservice" or rather made by a small manufacture for Town Foodservice. It can be found here http://www.chefsresource.com/no1.html It measures 24x13cm and weighs 515g.

It came dull as a butter knife but sharpened up nicely. I've only had it for a little over a week but it has held an edge pretty well (the really cheap stuff turns to butter after just one chopping session.) I plan on doing a side by side comparison with my Chan Chi Kee 1102 and seeing what turns out. I don't know if it's quite as good as a Chan Chi Kee but I'd say at a bare minimum it's ~90%. I'll let you know more once I have some more time with it under my belt. Finish was just as good as Chan Chi Kee on this one as well.

Here's an obligatory pic

townfood24dg.th.jpg

There is also Ho Ching Kee Lee out of Hong Kong, I have a couple of their cleavers and they are pretty good. I think I do prefer Chan Chi Kee over them but they are nice just the same. They are nothing like the super junky ones you usually find in your local asian market.

hochingkeelee0jy.th.jpg

hoching10xw.th.jpg

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Heres' a list of styles and comments:

http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/ChineseCleaver.html

I took a look at this forementioned websites. The cleavers they showed are interesting. When I looked at the price tags, theyranged from $100 to $300. At first I thought it was in some other local currencies. Later I realized that they are in US dollars.

Be brutally honest, I can't imagine how someone can justify spending US$300 on buying a cleaver. Maybe beauty (or value) is in the eyes of the beholder.

The bone cleaver that I recently bought from "The Wok Shop" in San Francisco:

gallery_19795_2823_11786.jpg

costed me about US$20. The brand name is Jin Lih (金美), made in Taiwan. I really like it.

I also recently bought a not-so-known-name cleaver for cutting vegetables. Very light. Much easier to maneuver. Does the job. US$12 in local Asian grocery store.

I find it really hard trying to shop for a cleaver online. To me, I always have to pick up the cleaver to see how it feels on my hand, and look at and touch the cutting edge before I decide.

Bone cleavers are much heavier than regular cleavers. We need the swinging momentum combined with the sharp edge to split bones with a clean cut.

Cleavers take good maintenance works. Manually grind them with a small grinding stone often and clean and wipe immediately after use. For day to day cutting/chopping, I still prefer to use my chef knife. :raz:

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Ah Leung -

Great advice. I assume the beautiful end-grain chopping block is the ironwood model from The Wok Shop site. They also make one from pine, which they say is easier on the knives. Which do you recommend?

I don't see the bone cleaver from your photo on The Wok Shop site. Could you supply a model number, or a name they will recognize if I order one by mail?

Many thanks.

Edited by k43 (log)
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Thanks, everyone. I have both a Chan Chi Kee 1102 (230mm x 120mm) like Andy's and a 1301 (240mm x 100mm). They are of carbon steel, take a nice edge, and work very well, keeping an edge better than say a Wusthof, IMHO. They aren't like some of the real low quality cleavers I've played with before. Experiencing the CCK's made me curious about whether China produced other cleavers like it. I also have one of those high-end cleavers from that Japanese site. The steel is in a different league (harder, better edge retention) but of course the price is a lot more too so it's not fair to compare them. The CCK's do hold their own and impress me for price/value. I'm going to seek out some of the other ones that have been mentioned.

Edited by esvoboda (log)
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Thanks, everyone. I have both a Chan Chi Kee 1102 (230mm x 120mm) like Andy's and a 1301 (240mm x 100mm).

[...]

The CCK's do hold their own and impress me for price/value. I'm going to seek out some of the other ones that have been mentioned.

Sounds like you are on your way to buy more cleavers. :smile:

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Great advice.  I assume the beautiful end-grain chopping block is the ironwood model from The Wok Shop site.  They also make one from pine, which they say is easier on the knives.  Which do you recommend?

I don't see the bone cleaver from your photo on The Wok Shop site.  Could you supply a model number, or a name they will recognize if I order one by mail?

k43: Regarding the chopping block: actually no. I bought that chopping block just from a local Asian grocery store in Sacramento. I didn't pay attention to the brand name. I looked at the wood itself to pick the right chopping block for me. My tip is: choose the one that is heavy, solid. You can kind of tell from the grain. The grain pattern should be packed together. Other rectangular chopping boards that you find in regular stores are usually made of composits: small pieces of wood that are glued together then cut to size, not from one single tree trunk. These boards cannot take the pounding of a heavy cleaver over time. Don't use those for chopping bone/meat.

I know all Cantonese BBQ restaurants use softer blocks. Personally I don't like it because they are so soft, I feel that every time I eat the BBQ meat that I bought from those stores I am eating the small wood chips. Have you see those blocks used in these restaurants? They look like a sink with a depression at the center! Every few minutes the master would use the cleaver to shave off the top pulp. Yikes! I don't chop my own BBQ that often (but they do hundreds of times each day), so I like to use a harder block.

The best wood in China came from LiuZhou. In 1999 we visited LiuZhou. As many other tourists do, we bought a nice LiuZhou chopping block from a local store and carried it back to the USA. I didn't think much about it at the time. We gave the chopping block to my MIL. Of course I regret it looking back. :smile: The one I have now is comparable. I didn't examine to see if it came from LiuZhou.

As for the cleavers:

gallery_19795_163_4666.jpg

This is the bone chopper. Details:

Manufacturer: Jin Lih Enterprise Ltd (Taiwan)

Product name: Chin Me

Model name: H110-008 金美A骨刀

Scan code: 4 710984 255285

Price: US $19.95

I bought it at "The Wok Shop" in San Francisco. (Can't believe I am advertising for them after what I have been through.) Not sure if they sell it on the web site, but there is no reason they won't sell it to you by mail order if you can name the exact product. You may FAX the above info to them. The Chinese model name would help. Price may be different doing mail order though.

The Shopkeeper#2 actually brought this cleaver out from behind the counter. Seemed so "secretive". :biggrin: I felt as if they reserved a few boxes of these cleavers for special customers only. (Yeah, right...) :laugh::laugh:

The other inexpensive cleaver I have is:

gallery_19795_163_19371.jpg

Details:

Manufacturer: Yang Jian Shi Ba Zi Kitchen Ware Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Mainland China)

Address: No. 1 Dengfeng Road, Lingdong Area,

YangJiang, GuangDong, China

http://www.shibazi.com

Product name: FeiQui Knife 飛球菜刀

Model: PD1

Price: US $12.00

Scan code: 6 79833 20302 7

I use this one for vegetable cutting and meat mincing.

Hope that helps.

Edited by hzrt8w (log)
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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The best wood in China came from LiuZhou.  In 1999 we visited LiuZhou.  As many other tourists do, we bought a nice LiuZhou chopping block from a local store and carried it back to the USA.  I didn't think much about it at the time.  We gave the chopping block to my MIL.  Of course I regret it looking back.  :smile:  The one I have now is comparable.  I didn't examine to see if it came from LiuZhou.
This reminds me of a saying that I'm probably going to misquote:

"Sik joi Guangzhou, ju joi Hangzhou, sei joi Lauzhou"

Eat in Guangzhou (no explanation needed! :raz: )

Live in Hangzhou (supposedly the best scenery in China)

Die in Lauzhou (Liuzhou, because the best coffins come from there)

Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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The best wood in China came from LiuZhou.  In 1999 we visited LiuZhou.  As many other tourists do, we bought a nice LiuZhou chopping block from a local store and carried it back to the USA.  I didn't think much about it at the time.  We gave the chopping block to my MIL.  Of course I regret it looking back.   :smile:   The one I have now is comparable.  I didn't examine to see if it came from LiuZhou.
This reminds me of a saying that I'm probably going to misquote:

"Sik joi Guangzhou, ju joi Hangzhou, sei joi Lauzhou"

Eat in Guangzhou (no explanation needed! :raz: )

Live in Hangzhou (supposedly the best scenery in China)

Die in Lauzhou (Liuzhou, because the best coffins come from there)

Don't forget "Born in Suzhou" -- because of all the beautiful women!

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Don't forget "Born in Suzhou"  -- because of all the beautiful women!
I knew I'd misquoted! How can one overlook the Suzhou mei nui? Edited by CFT (log)

Best Wishes,

Chee Fai.

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