Udon and Soboa Kiri or Menkiri are specialized Japanese knife designed to cut noodles. Its distinct shape lets you cut straight down making even and uniform noodles. The top broad section of the knife can also be used to lift and maneuver noodles. These knives are usually use in conjunction with a flat wooden board that guides the blade. The Best Udon and Soba Kiri should be able to easily slice and lift noodles. They usually have a slight taper to the tip of the knife.
Do you need a Udont and Soba Kiri?
The importance of these knives will depend on you. If you plan on making hand made udon, noodles or soba, then yes its important. You need the proper tool to do the job. These Kiri are have long flat blade so you can tap chop the noodles. Most knives that we have will usually have a curve, making the cut uneven. You have to rock the knife back and forth in order to get a good cut.
Metals and Rust
Most knives used in America uses some form of Stainless Steel, these blade do not rust. However for specialty knives, Carbon Steel are common place. They hold a edge better and are generally preferred among knife collector. The downside to this is that they rust. If you cut acidic food or simply leave it soaking in water, it will rust. Luckily, for the task of cutting noodles, it wont happen. But I caution people to wash and dry it by hand. This will reduce the chance of it happening. If you cant be bothered to do so, then you might consider buying a stainless steel model.
This is a very specialized knife, I dont recommend cutting other stuff. While you can probably slice meats and vegetable, you’re better off using your regular knife.
How to Use a Soba Knife
I am not an expert in using a Soba Knife. However, I do know you need a soba noodle board to guide the cutting of the noodle. As you slice, you rest the blade against the board and gently push the knife downard. You let the weight of the blade do the cutting. The video below will demonstrate how a soba master does it.
Best Udon and Soba Kiri Knife List
Below, you will find a list of some of the Best Udon and Soba Kiri Knife. There are a few different models and configuration, choose one that best suits you.
Tojiro Soba Noodle Knife 24cm[9.5 In] (Best Overall)
Tojiro is known for making quality knives at an affordable price. Their Menkiri is no different. It uses Molybdenum vanadium steel so that it resist rust and make for an easy cutting experience. The top has an angle to help in scooping and moving noodles. Something that a lot of other brands lack.
Yamako Japanese Noodles Kitchen Knife for Soba Udon (9.5 inch) (Best Alternative)
If for some reason you do not like Tojiro, then Yamako is a good alternative. Like Tojiro, it uses stainless steel to resist rust. The top of the blade is tapered for easy scooping. Best of all, the knife is made in Japan. The price is similar as well.
Shun VG0009 Blue Steel 7-Inch Menkiri Knife (Best Fit and Finish)
Shun is one of the most popular Japanese Knife Maker. Their fit and finish is the finest among the list. If anything, it looks almost factory made. This knife uses a high carbon composition so it can rust if you do not care for it. I recommend drying it with a towel after washing. The one thing that I dont like is the lack of tapered top.
Tokusen Noodles kitchen knife (Best Buy)
If those other choices are too expensive, than you can always go with Tokusen. Instead of Stainless Steel, this blade uses carbon steel. So it will rust if you are not careful. The top of the blade isnt tapered like our winning best. But it should do the job. You will have no issues cutting noodles.
Best Udon and Soba Kiri Knife Thoughts
Like a Pasta Roller, you need a Soba or Udon knife if you want to make Japanese noodles. The flat blade lets you make quick and even cuts. While you can try with a standard knife, the belly just gives your horrible results. My personal best is the one made by Tojiro, they make quality knife at an affordable price. But if you care about fit and finish, shun is a good choice. However, its quite pricey in comparison.
Want to cook the noodles? You need a strainer. Check out our article on the Best Noodle Strainer.