After years of trial and error, cookbook author and culinary instructor Andrea Nguyen discovered Japanese knives upped her kitchen game and reduced strain. Here are the four knives she says you need to take meal prep to the next level.
When you're shopping for a Japanese knife, shop by knife type. Well regarded, well distributed brands include MAC, Miyabi, Tojiro, and Shun. Or geek out on artisanal makers at chefknivestogo.com or knifewear.com. Prices vary a lot: $50 to $100 for a good petty; $150 to $225 for quality representatives of other kinds of knives.
Santokus are good all-purpose knives. A 7-inch santoku can handle many tasks with ease. Dimples on the blade help food release, but they're not a must. Our choice is Damascus Santoku Knife, which is available for $67 on Amazon.com.
This Western-style chef's knife is crafted with Japanese sensibilities. An 8-inch blade is good, but one that's longer offers greater leverage for chopping. Our choice is Hammered Damascus Gyuto Japanese Chefs Knife, which is available for $130 on Amazon.com.
A petty knife (aka utility knife) is versatile, like a petite chef's knife crossed with a pairing knife, and it's terrific for small tasks, such as chopping apples. Our choice is Yoshihiro Petty Utility Japanese Chef Knife, which is available for $60 on Amazon.com.
For veggie prep, buy a rectangular nakiri. Its straight cutting edge means you can't rock and chop with it, but you'll prduce precise, uniform cuts. Our choice is Kotobuki Nakiri Japanese Kitchen Knife which is available for $17 on Amazon.com.