A lot of people go for a one-knife-fits-all type of kitchen, where one knife is used for everything. For someone who wants to make the best out of their kitchen and do some professional cooking, however, this won't do. If you want your kitchen to have that professional look and intend to take cooking seriously, you need a set of serious knives in your kitchen. Which is why people sometimes questions Shun vs Tojiro knives, which is better?
For a long time, the Japanese were known to make some of the best swords in the world. They may not make swords anymore, but they still make the world’s best kitchen knives.
Japanese knives are well crafted by hand, and Japanese knife- manufacturing companies have worked hard to blend that unique craft with modern technology to meet global demands. Two of the most well-known knife brands are Tojiro and Shun knives. Both are Japanese-made, and both have unique characteristics that make them popular.
Tojiro Company first began producing stainless steel fruit knives in 1955 at a time when stainless steel was said to be blunter than carbon steel. That didn't stop them, and they continuously improved their brand to become what they are today. Tojiro kitchen knives are a blend of Western and Oriental styles, combining a Japanese blade with a European handle.
This has made the brand quite popular among both home chefs and professional chefs. Tojiro knife blades are most commonly made of clad steel forged in a similar way to how the traditional Japanese sword, ‘Katana', was forged. The company merges traditional knife- forging techniques with modern technology, producing a balanced, high quality, and unique product to suit both Western and Eastern users.
A number of materials are used to produce different types of Tojiro knives such as:
- Molybdenum- Vanadium steel
- Nickel-Damascus steel
- High-carbon stainless steel
- Powdered high-speed steel
- Aogami steel
- Shirogami steel
These materials offer abrasion and corrosion resistance, have long-lasting sharpness, are light and strong.
The knife handles are usually made of oak with a buffalo-horn bolster attached to it. The oak handle is water-resistant and therefore quite durable. Tojiro produces both Western-style knives and Japanese-style knives.
Western style Japanese knives include:
- Petty knife
- The chef knife/Gyuto
Traditional Japanese style knives include
- Ajikiri/ mini-light Deba
Unlike Shun cutlery, Tojiro don't offer the service of sharpening your knives if they become dull. You will need to maintain them yourself, and occasionally sharpen them on a whetstone or rod to keep them razor sharp.
Tojiro knives are, however, much more affordable than Shun knives, so if you're looking for excellent quality and affordable Japanese knives, Tojiro is the brand for you.
Owner of the three Michelin stars restaurant The Fat Duck, voted No. 1 in The World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2005.
"The knives I use for their precision, quality and design."
Shun knives are a brand of the Kai Group, a cutlery-producing company with its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. The company was founded in 1908, and it has produced world-renowned knives to this date.
Shun knives are made in Japan, and their entry into the world market marked a new era in the culinary arts. With their lighter, thinner and sharper blades, they came as a welcome alternative to the more common heavier, European-style knives. They are now distributed to more than 30 countries worldwide and are well sought after in both home and professional kitchens.
Shun cutlery manufactures several series of Japanese knives including:
- Classic pro
- Shun Blue
They also produce different types of Japanese kitchen knives, for instance:
Shun knives come with at a higher price than Tojiro knives, but this is justified in their superior quality. The blade is made of the highest quality steel, such as VG-10, VG-max, VG-2, Aus8A, Aus10A, white steel, blue steel, and Kasumi steel. The blades are sharp and lightweight, which makes them easy to handle. The company uses pakkawood for the knife handles. Pakkawood is a blend of plastic resin and natural wood.
It comes in three common types:
- Ebony pakkawood
- Charcoal and crimson pakkawood
- Walnut pakkawood
Shun knives come in ebony pakkawood. Pakkawood is an amazing material for knife handles as it is more water-resistant than real wood. Shun knives last long and withstand the general wear and tear that comes with frequent kitchen use. The handle is also D-shaped to give the user a good grip. It has a good finish, is smooth, stylish, and moderately sized. This gives it a slightly better grip than the Tojiro handle.
The Shun handle also has striking wood patterns that are pleasing to the eye. So that's aesthetics, function, and quality all rolled into one.
Shun cutlery also comes with additional accessories such as knife blocks, which have extra slots in case you decide to add to your knife collection later. Other accessories include multiple-use shears, fishbone tweezers, a combination sharpening stone, a knife care set, an electric sharpener, and a knife case.
Unlike Tojiro, Shun has a sharpening service. If you'd like to have your Shun knife sharpened, simply send it to them and they'll do it for you, free of charge. They also have good customer support and a great lifetime warranty in case you damage the knife while practicing your cooking skills.
A disadvantage of Shun knives is the curved-up heel, which makes up-and-down cutting difficult. It also has an enormous belly which forces you to rock the blade more so as to cut all the way into the food.
The Bottom Line
If you want your food to have that perfect, taste, don't just go for any knife in the market. You need specialized knives for a number of different cutting and peeling needs. Both Shun and Tojiro Knives top the market in quality, with only a few differences in price and design.
Believe it or not, the quality of your knife will determine whether the quality of your food is average or whether it will have that special, unforgettable quality that your family and friends will not be able to name, but will keep them coming back to eat at your table.