The Best Chinese Cleavers

The Best Chinese Cleavers

Chinese cleavers are of the most mis-understood utensils out there, so we want to spend a few minutes clearing up any misconceptions and outlining the correct use for this impressive looking implement. We’ll then go on to look at a few different models available, depending on your budget.

What is a ‘Chinese Cleaver’?

The knife has become known as cleaver because of its striking resemblance to the regular cleaver, but in fact it grew out of a much different need. Whilst the western Cleaver is very heavy-weight, the chinese version is really analogous to a western chef’s knife or Japanese santoku.

The term “Chinese Cleaver” actually refers to a Chinese “chopper” kitchen knife, which has the same utility as western Chef’s knives

The Best Chinese Cleavers

There are a lot of very high end Asian knives out there from long-standing knife forgeries with some amazing heritage. Unfortunately they are very expensive and hard to come by. As such we’re highlighting 2 of the more affordable, but still great quality, Chinese-style knives (We know one of them has Japanese material, but the knife design is pretty much indistinguishable!)

Top Chef 7 Cleaver Sekiryu Chopping Knife
Top Chef 7 Cleaver Sekiryu Chopping Knife
Top Chef JapanBargain
Color: Silver Color: White
Ice tempered steel blade with precision sharpened cutting edge; hollow ground which reduces sticking High Carbon (Japanese) stainless still blade
Full steel handle with seamless bonded and polished bolsters and non-slip surface; laser etched "top chef" logo Handle and sheath made from Japanese Oak wood.
H78 x L354 x L1180
Weight 138 grams
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Types of Chinese Kitchen Knife

We seem to have a plethora of types of knife in the west, and the Chinese have a slightly more straightforward taxonomy for their knives:

  • Slicing knives;
  • Chopping knives;
  • Cleavers (the type used for heavy work)

The difference between them is generally down the the thickness of the steel/blade. As you’d expect the Slicer style have the thinnest of all blades and are best used for intricate work with food that doesn’t give much resistance to being cut - the closest analogy is to call this a vegetable knife.

Chopping knives are little thicker, but are the most general-purpose knives.

Finally comes the actual cleaver, which is a square bladed equivalent of the western cleaver we all know from horror films and butcher blocks.

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