The ultimate multi-function kitchen gadget

You can hear me talking about the versatility of the Chinese kitchen cleaver (菜刀) in last week’s edition of The Food Programme on BBC Radio 4.

Using a cleaver is addictive, because it is so ruthlessly efficient. It is also a contagious habit, as my mother and certain of my friends (as well as some readers of my books?) would be able to tell you.

The photograph on the right is reproduced with kind permission of Martin Leeburn.

9 Responses to “The ultimate multi-function kitchen gadget”

  1. Tom O.

    I started cooking about a year ago after getting Land of Plenty, and I try to do everything with my cleaver. People (my wife especially) are surprised but I’ve never set out to do something with it and found it insufficient!

  2. mart

    I’ve been wanting to buy one for longer than a very long time. I hear horror stories about them quality wise though is there any brand you could steer me to? I saw that some german knive producers make them as well.

  3. Michael

    I searched a long time for a good chinese cleaver, but the cleavers that are sold in “Asia Shops” here in Berlin are of low quality. But at least I found a chinese cleaver from Germany. The Güde Chai Dao is now the weapon of my choice, I use it for everything ( ).

  4. Leo

    I got so used to the weight of my cleaver I had a friend bring it to Korea for me on an international flight. Stowed away, of course, but he said he was still sweating at every checkpoint. A true friend.

  5. Suzanne

    I bought a cleaver last year and totally love it. Use it for everything even the smallest things!

  6. Crunchynut

    there are differences between Chinese 菜刀 and normal cleaver. A good 菜刀 has thinner blade and is sharper than a cleaver. I prefer to use the term “Chinese chopper”. I have four, one bought in Chinatown, two bought in China and the last one is a Global chopper. The Global one is the best, although I would not use it to chop bones. The Japanese knives have smaller angles on the blade than western knives, which make them sharper but also more fragile. Even if the Chinese don’t like the Japanese, I have to admit Japanese knives tend to be much better than the Chinese ones. One thing a Chinese chopper can’t do is the job of a pairing knife. It’s always good have a selection of knives in the kitchen.

  7. Postercowboy

    At this point, I don’t know how I could ever do without a cleaver, it’s the most versatile knife I ever had. The carbon steel ones from the Asia Shop may do, but I personally use Chan Chi Kee cleavers from Hong Kong. Their stainless steel knives are not too special, but the carbon ones are the best you can find and very affordable as well. These days, CCk does accept Paypal and they ship worldwide, so you may want to check them out.

  8. stanley

    The lady of pic was holding a knife calls 桑刀 in chinese, not a 菜刀. 桑刀 is a knife with very thin blade and light, and can not chop any bones. 菜刀 is designed to uses its fronter blade to slice vegetables, meats, the rear blade to chop small bones, like chicken bone, spareribs. 桑刀 and 菜刀 are quite different.

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