Sushi knives may seem like a niche product that is only marketed towards aspiring culinary artists that lack the common sense to realize that the only thing that makes a blade a ‘sushi’ variant is in the title. While there may be some truth to this logic, there are also some minor variations in sushi knives that set them apart from standard filleting knives or other types of knives. Not all sushi knives are unique, however, and some sushi knives are simply other types of knives that have actually been rebadged.
Due to the fact that there are so many different types of sushi, there are also many different kinds of sushi knives. Common types of sushi knives include the deba, usaba, yanagi sushimi and the tako sashimi. Each different style of sushi knife is used in only certain types of sushi, and those who truly love sushi may already have made the connection between the names of their favorite types of sushi and some of the sushi knives.
The deba sushi knife is used primarily for boning and cutting whole fish. Those who buy their fish in pre-cut packages may have very little need for a deba. That being said, most deba style sushi knives appear to be little different than chef’s knives or many knives sold under titles that would indicate that they were used by those in the fishing fillet knife industry. Some deba style sushi knives try to differentiate themselves with a micro-serrated blade, but obviously this use of new technology breaks with tradition and therefore many question whether or not these variants are truly deba style sushi knives.
Cutting whole vegetables is the job of the usaba knife. The usaba knife is fairly unique in that it has a square tip and almost as many folds as a samurai’s sword. True usaba knives are very expensive but capable of making the thinnest cuts imaginable. There are a number of sushi knives being marketed as usaba blades but lack the proper execution on the manufacturing side and are nowhere near as sharp or capable.
The yanagi sashimi knife is something of a general purpose sushi knife, capable of cutting, dicing, slicing. This is the most commonly used form of sushi knives in most sushi restaurants as it can be used to mark the cute little semi-square shapes of most sushi meals. The blade actually extends beneath the handle in a somewhat unconventional design, but there is little truly unique about this type of sushi knife that cannot be found in other knives not marketed under the title of sushi knives.
In summary, most sushi knives have very minor distinctions to separate them from their non-sushi brethren. The list of unique features is small, but considering the importance of making sushi properly, it may be worth investing in sushi knives despite the minor differences they have to offer.