Knives in Japanese cuisine – Njami sushi part 2

Kitchen knives have been an indispensable tool to mankind since ancient times. Yet many people, including some chefs, still know very little about these loyal cooking companions.

Knives often don’t get enough attention in many home kitchens as well as some professional ones. People are either scared or held back with sharp knives, disappointed in dull ones, clunky with large ones and often not very prolific with sharpening. You can find some great resources on these topics on

Japanese knives
Japanese knives

Sharp knife for tasty food

A sharp knife will not just help us prepare our dish faster, it will also make it taste better. Japanese culinary tradition strives to preserve the fresh taste of seasonal ingredients and that’s exactly what a sharp knife will help you achieve. The reason lies in the smooth and fine sharpness of the blade. This type of sharpness won’t damage the walls of your food and better preserve the juices inside.

Grega, the owner on Njami Sushi, explained that knives are the heart of Japanese cuisine.

But why Japanese knives?

Japanese culture has a longstanding history of producing knives, originating in legendary sword-making. Japanese knives stand apart from their German or French counterparts mostly in sharpness. A Japanese knife is not necessarily worse or better, it’s different. In our home kitchens, we often use cheap knives, bought in supermarkets. Brand in generic and the type of steel is labelled as stainless. This types of blades are way softer than Japanese blades and they will go dull quite fast, but they won’t rust. In our part of the world, traditional Japanese metals are quite unusual, because they will often corrode and develop a patina. But a bit of patina on the blade is no reason to panic. Patina will protect the blade. In contrast to common stainless steel knives, Japanese knives are made from much tougher metal and will preserve their sharpness for longer.

Sharpness and shape of Japanese knives are closely related with the proper cutting technique, which in sushi making, translates to slicing a piece of fish in a single movement. This way the fish won’t  tear and the surface of the cut will be smooth. This is a essential part of ensuring the proper taste and texture, when making sushi the traditional way.

Make sure to check out part one of our visit at Njami Sushi as well, to see how Grega makes an authentic sushi experience with his japanese knives.