Nakiri vs. Chinese Cleaver: A Comparative Guide

September 05, 2022
Last updated on January 25, 2023
Nakiri vs. Chinese Cleaver: A Comparative Guide

Nakiri vs. Chinese Cleaver - The Nakiri knife and the Chinese vegetable cleaver are similar in that they both have a rectangular blade. Both of these knives are good for cutting soft vegetables, but the Chinese vegetable cleaver is also suitable for other types of culinary preparation.

Nakiri Knives

Japanese nakiri knives are specifically designed for cutting vegetables and have a rectangular shape with a blunted blade tip. Despite this, they are actually quite versatile and can be used for tasks beyond just cutting vegetables. They are thin and lightweight, similar to a chef's knife, and are perfect for making delicate, thin slices.

DALSTRONG Nakiri Asian Vegetable Knife

The blade of a nakiri knife is flat with a very thin edge that tends to curl slightly at the end. These features make it ideal for cutting soft foods like vegetables and fruit, and it is commonly found in Japanese kitchens. However, nakiri knives are not suitable for cutting large pieces of meat or cleaving through bones.

Chinese Cleavers

A Chinese vegetable cleaver is a type of kitchen knife that is traditionally used in Chinese cuisine. It has a rectangular blade with a slightly bent tip and is generally thicker and taller than other types of vegetable knives. Chinese vegetable cleavers are typically made of high carbon steel and have a plain finish.

DALSTRONG Chinese Chef's Knife Cleaver

They are versatile knives that can be used for a variety of tasks in the kitchen, including cutting vegetables, regular kitchen preparation, and  preparing deboned meats . Chinese vegetable cleavers are known for their ability to quickly and efficiently chop and dice soft vegetables and other ingredients.

Nakiri vs. Chinese Cleaver - The Differences

Nakiri and Chinese cleaver knives are both popular choices for kitchen use, but they have some key differences. The main differences between nakiri and Chinese cleaver knives are their blade shape, blade thickness, blade material, blade design, and flexibility.

Blade Length, Shape, and Thickness

Nakiri knives, which are commonly found in Japanese kitchens, are designed specifically for cutting vegetables. They have a thin, flat blade that is 5-7 inches long and 0.06"-0.10" thick. In contrast, Chinese cleaver knives have a heavy, flat blade body with a longer blade that ranges from 6-8 inches in length and is 1/32"-1/33" thick.

Blade Material and Design

The blade of a Nakiri knife is usually made of carbon steel and can have either a plain surface, a hammered finish, or a Damascus finish. In contrast, Chinese cleaver knives are typically crafted from high carbon steel and have a plain finish.

Knife Edge, Flexibility, and Purpose

Nakiri knives are characterized by their single-bevel edge, which is only sharpened on one side. They are relatively inflexible and have a Rockwell rating (HRC) of 59-62. These knives are particularly good at making thin, precise, and fast cuts and are often used for slicing vegetables.

In contrast to Nakiri knives, Chinese cleaver knives have a double-bevel edge that is sharpened on both sides. They have a moderate level of flexibility and a Rockwell rating (HRC) of 54-56. Chinese cleavers are very versatile and can be used for a range of tasks, including cutting vegetables, preparing deboned meats, and general kitchen preparation.

Nakiri vs. Chinese Cleaver - Conclusion

In general, a cleaver can do everything a Nakiri knife can do and more. If you are new to using a cleaver, a Nakiri knife may be a good choice to start with due to its similar squared-off shape. However, once you get used to using a cleaver, it may become your preferred knife. 

Some people may not like the weight and size of a cleaver at first, but once they get used to it, they may not want to go back to using a Nakiri knife. On the other hand, for home cooks who are more accustomed to using a traditional chef's knife, a Nakiri knife may be a smoother transition than a cleaver. Ultimately, the choice between a cleaver and a Nakiri knife comes down to personal preference and what you feel comfortable using in the kitchen.

See also: Gyuto vs. Santoku Knife

Profil Picture Iris Janine Freeman

Meet Iris Janine Freeman, a freelance copywriter and food blogger from the East Coast. When she's not busy crafting the perfect words for her clients, Iris can be found experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen or planning her next travel adventure.

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