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How to Choose the Chinese Chef Knife

April 11, 202446 ViewskniveSource

Every kitchen needs a multi-purpose knife beside the blades made for specific tasks. The Chinese chef knife is a versatile blade that enables chefs and home cooks to perform various cutting jobs in the kitchen. It is also called the Chinese cleaver and comes in various materials and blade lengths. The knife works efficiently in chopping, slicing, mincing, and scooping foods.

It has a rectangular blade, making it different from the western style chef knife. It is used for cutting various ingredients, including meats, vegetables, poultry, herbs, and fish. If you already have a western chef’s knife, consider the Chinese cleaver for a change and enjoy the different feel and performance it offers in the kitchen.


What to Look for in a Chinese Cleaver

The market has a wide range of brands to consider purchasing, and they differ in quality and construction. Here are aspects to keep in mind when looking for the best Chinese chef knife.

What Is a Chinese Cleaver?

A Chinese cleaver is a large knife with a rectangular blade and a wooden handle. It is also called a Chinese chef knife. It differs from the western style chef knife in a few ways. For example, it is heavier and has a squared-off blade, while a western chef knife has a pointed tip. The market has two types of Chinese cleavers meat and vegetable cleavers. The meat cleaver is thicker and heavier than a vegetable cleaver and is ideal for hard bones. On the other hand, a Chinese vegetable cleaver is thinner and designed for delicate cutting tasks.

Lean more about Chinese Cleaver: A Comprehensive Guide to Traditional Chinese Kitchen Knives

What Are Chinese Cleavers Good for?

Chinese cleavers are best for various jobs in the kitchen. You can use them to chop and slice meat, fish, and vegetables. They also do a great job crushing and mincing herbs for those delicious dishes that awaken your taste buds. The cleavers are strong and can work on both tough and smooth foods. Use it to carve chicken, fillet fish, and crush herbs.

If you need to pound garlic cloves or tenderize meat, the Chinese cleaver will get the job done. You can also use it to scoop or scrape ingredients. Chop vegetables, cut large bones, and slice different foods with the rectangular, sharp blade.

How Do You Sharpen a Chinese Cleaver?

You can sharpen a Chinese cleaver using a whetstone. Sharpening your knives ensures they are in good working condition at all times. A dull knife is a hazard in the kitchen. It can slip off ingredients, and you may cut your fingers. It affects precision and does not give you clean cuts of foods. A whetstone is a better option for sharpening a Chinese cleaver than an electric sharpener, which removes more metal from the blade, affecting knife longevity.

Whetstones come in different grit standards to ensure proper sharpening for dull blades and slightly sharp knives. You should also use a honing rod after sharpening your knives to polish the edge. You can also hone your cleaver before every use to give it a sharper edge for cutting various foods.

How Do I Use a Chinese Cleaver?

A Chinese cleaver is a knife to consider having in your kitchen. It is a multi-purpose blade for various cutting tasks. You can use it for chopping, slicing, pounding, mincing, and carving foods. It can perform both delicate and tough cutting tasks, fostering convenience in the kitchen. The knife’s belly, heel, and front are used for different jobs, preventing the need to use other types of knives. However, a Chinese chef knife does not cut through bread as smoothly as a bread knife.

Ensure your Chinese chef knife gets proper care. Sharpening and honing the blade is one way to keep it in proper working shape. You should hand-wash the knife since dishwasher heat, and moisture can dull the blade and damage the wood handle. Dry the knife immediately and allow it to air dry before storage. Use the Chinese cleaver on a wood, rubber, or plastic cutting board to protect the edge from damage.  

Knife Storage

After cleaning your Chinese cleaver and wiping it dry, proper storage is the next thing to do. You can use a kitchen block or a magnetic strip to keep your knives.  Brands provide high-quality knife blocks, which provide safe spaces to keep your blades. Knife blocks can carry several knives, saving countertop space. Magnetic strips do not take up countertop space. Since they are mounted somewhere on your kitchen wall.

They are helpful when you have limited countertop space to fit a knife block. The strips provide quick access to your blades, saving time in the kitchen. You can also use in-drawer organizers if you need knives away from sight. The organizers ensure that the blades are not in contact, preventing scratches and dulling of blades.

Storing knives properly promotes safety in the kitchen. You do not want sharp blades lying around on the countertop. In-drawer organizers are great if a knife block or magnetic strip does not suit you. Knife blocks and magnetic strips are also great for display purposes. Show off your taste and expertise in kitchen knives. The Chinese chef knife is a unique blade to consider for your knife collection. You shift between a western style chef knife and a Chinese cleaver for a change.

Other Knife Types Your Kitchen May Need


A Chinese chef knife is a blade to consider having in your kitchen. It provides a different cutting experience from the western chef knife. It features a rectangular blade and does a good job chopping, slicing, pounding, and mincing different ingredients. Ensure you buy a high-quality Chinese cleaver made from durable, rust-resistant material. It is also well-balanced and has a comfortable handle that provides a good grip.

Remember to hand-wash your Chinese chef knife and dry it properly before storage. You can use a knife block, a magnetic strip, or an in-drawer organizer to keep your knives safely. Sharpening and honing your Chinese cleaver is also essential to ensure top performance in the kitchen.  

The market has a variety of Chinese chef knives to consider purchasing. Here are some of the best Chinese cleavers to consider for your kitchen.