This lighter, 8-inch Chinese Cleaver from the Wusthof Gourmet series is actually the Chinese equivalent of the chef’s knife and serves most of the same functions. Built with the Gourmet pattern of laser-cut steel and full tang handle, this handy slicer shouldn’t be used like a butcher’s cleaver.
The vegetable cleaver differs in several ways from the heavy European butcher’s tool. Thinner high carbon stainless steel for blade and tang makes the knife an excellent slicing tool and easy to handle. Instead of the wide bevel of a meat cleaver, the edge is taper-ground like a cook’s knife. The slightly convex cutting edge is amazingly efficient for mincing and dicing. Rock it over fresh herbs like a mezzaluna knife, and it will seem twice as fast as a chef’s knife once you get the hang of it.
The wide blade keeps guiding fingers and knuckles well above the cutting board and makes working with larger vegetables easy. Some skilled Asian cooks use this knife more often than any other. Many modern versions are made with rat tail tangs and ferrule-reinforced handles, but Wusthof uses their more reliable riveted slab handle build. The strong blade needs no bolster, and the simple polymer slab grip provides plenty of grip and control.
Maintaining any plain edged Gourmet knife is easy. The steel is hardened to provide a tough cutting edge that restores quickly with a honing steel and can be reworked at home with flat whetstones. Keep the polish intact by washing the knife by hand, not in a machine.
For a more refined version of the Asian cleaver, see the Wusthof Japanese-Style Nakiri Bocho.
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