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The Nakiri Bocho Knife is a Japanese Vegetable Cleaver. Designed to be lightweight and nimble, it was the predecessor to the all so popular Santoku. The smaller blade makes it easier to use than your standard chef knife. And its flat broad like design making it an effective tool for scooping food. The Best Nakiri Bocho Knife should have a steep angle with a very hard rating scale. Making it the perfect tool for cutting and dicing vegetable.
Santoku vs Nakiri Knife
The Nakiri is the predecessor to the Santoku. Both are designed to cut fruits and vegetables. However, the Santoku was made to appeal to home cook with claims that its more versatile. With the major benefit being the slightly pointed tip. That tip lets you cut and debone meat a little easier than the flat head of the Nakiri. Both knives will usually have lengths of around 6-7 inch.
In terms of profile, modern day Santoku will have a slight belly to the blade. This lets your slightly rock and tap at the same time. Most Nakiri will have a flat belly to the blade, letting you tap chop. The front of the edge will be slightly curved so it wont knick your board.
Blade thickness are usually made thin so that it can slice through food a lot easier. Its very different from a western style of knife where they are thick and wedge between food.
Nakiri Knife Use
As stated before, the primary use of the Nakiri knife is to cut vegetable. What differs from most other knife is how its used. When you chop, you use a tapping motion. Western knife are designed to be rocked for a full cut.
While these blades are on the shorter side, I still prefer and recommend Nakiri that are at least 7 inch. You can simply do a lot more than the shorter knife. Some vegetables are simply too long for the shorter knives.
You can also cut meat as well. However, I will caution against cutting and breaking bones. Its the easiest way to chip and dull your knife. The type of food you can cut will depend on the Hardness Rating.
Every knife will have a hardness rating. Most Japanese knives will have a hardness rating of 60 plus. This lets the hold keep and hold a very sharp edge. The caveat to this is that these knives become very brittle. If you cut stuff that is too hard, knives will start developing micro chip. You can still use the knife if this happen, but its best not to get it in the first place.
Softer knives that are around 58 hardness or lesser are more durable. However, I still wouldnt use it on bones unless the blade is thick. You should consider the hardness rating when buying any knife.
Best Nakiri Bocho Knife List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Nakiri Knife. I have listed a few in different categories. Choose one that best suits your need.
Wusthof Classic 7-Inch Nakiri Knife (Best Overall)
Wusthof makes one of the Best Naikir knife on the market. Unlike most other Nakiri, this one actually has a full 7 inch blade. That extra length lets you cut bigger vegetables. It is slightly softer at 58 hardness rating than full on Japanese knives making it more durable and versatile. I would’t hesitate cutting meats and vegetable with this knife. This particular knife is hand forged.
Shun Cutlery Classic 6.5” Nakiri Knife (Most Beautiful Nakiri)
If you want to show off your knife, then Shun Nakiri is a great choice. The blade has a beautiful Damascus look. The blade is thin and like other Japanese knives, quite hard. They are more suited for vegetables and softer item. If you are not careful, you can chip the blade. Nevertheless, this knife is effective and beautiful. You cant go wrong with this blade.
Tojiro Kitchen Knife F-502 (Best Buy)
If you want all the performance of a Traditional Japanese Nakiri but are not worried about looks, Tojiro is for you. These blades has a hardness rating of 60 with a steep angle for quick and nimble cutting of vegetable. The steel is equivalent of knives that worth 2 or 3 times it cost. Its also resistant to rust like most of the other knives.
Dexter Russell S5197 Traditional 7″ Chinese Chefs Knife (Best Affordable Option)
Dexter Russel knives are a favorite among Chinese Chef. This Vegetable knife is affordable and functional. Its much softer than all the other knives here and I would not hesitate to chop meats and vegetable. The wooden handle is basic but functional. Mines is over 20 year old and still functional.
The Nakiri Bocho Knife is the go to knife for vegetable. Its light and nimble and makes quick work out of vegetable. Ironic that my personal best are made by german, however, that is mostly due to length. The smaller one are great for those who want a easier knife to use. They are sharp and hold their edge. However, be careful about harder items. I personally think the Tojiro is the Best Affordable Option if you want a higher quality Nakiri. But if you just want to hack at food without worry about it, then go for Dexter Russel. Mines is over 20 years and still going.
Looking for more Asian Knives? Check out our article on the Best Chinese Cleaver Knife.