For many Chinese chef's, this type is not just an essential knife, but rather the single most essential knife in the kitchen.
Some will quibble and say that this is a Chef's knife and technically not a cleaver, but what's in a name? If you can use it to hack through poultry and not be afraid of the occasional bone, who's to say it's not a cleaver?
And if you're looking for a cleaver, or a Chinese Chef's knife, you need look no further than this one. It's part of the Shun Classic line, which we recently named our best $500 kitchen knives.
And why is that? It's all about the blade. The cutting edges are made of super-hard, super-sharp VG-10 steel, wrapped in sixteen layers of stainless steel for protection. That gives it a beautiful Damascus style pattern, which means you'll want to display it on a knife rack or somewhere visible.
The balance is excellent, the handles are comfortable and durable pakkawood, and Shun provides lifetime resharpening.
So what's the downside? Well, it is a bit pricey. If it's out of your price range, stay tuned for a review of a lower-end cleaver in the near future.