Are you looking for a good quality nakiri knife to chop veggies for your family’s dinner? Then the Shun Nakiri Knife would be your best choice. Or maybe you’re a professional chef looking to give your hand a rest with a great sharp blade that will stay that way for years to come?
Whether you’re a vegan or a carnivore looking to chop up chicken for tonight’s stir fry, one of these knives might be a great fit for you.
- 1 Our Pick for the 3 Best Shun Nakiri?
- 2 #1. Classic 6.5- Inch
- 3 #2. Premier 5.5 Inch
- 4 #3. Classic 5-Inch Hollow Edge
- 5 Premier vs Classic?
- 6 What is a nakiri anyway, and why is it so special?
- 7 Our Choice
Our Pick for the 3 Best Shun Nakiri?
#1. Classic 6.5- Inch
Once you get this knife in your hands, you’ll soon see why both professional chefs and good cooks around the world choose this beautiful and extremely useful tool whenever they have fruits or vegetables to prepare.
With its straight blade, edge, and spine, the nakiri isn’t rocked like a chef’s knife.
Instead, use a simple push cut and enjoy the clean, swift work it makes of vegetables of all kinds. For daily salad preparation or slicing vegetables for stir-fry, it can’t be beat. Finely dicing onions is fast, easy, and with the blunt end, safer, too.
There is an excellent video where Chris Cosentino demonstrates this technique a little further down this article.
The 6.5 inch blade of this knife works great for slicing and dicing. And like many Asian style knives, it’s handle provides a firm, comfortable, confident grip for smaller hands. In contrast to the traditional round handle, the Classic Style handle has a D shape profile. The benefit of this is it prevents the knife from twisting in the hand which provides extra stability and a firm grip.
The handle is made from ebony colored PakkaWood, a fused blend of hardwood imbued with waterproof resin that combines the warmth and traditional look and feel of wood with the strength and durability of plastic. The offset stainless steel bolster is designed for ergonomic comfort and maximum safety, while a stainless steel endcap provides the finishing touch. This knife measures approximately 11 X 2 inches.
- Rockwell hardness rating of 60-61. It takes and holds an edge longer
- Comfortable offset bolster offers maximum safety
- Durable D-shape PakkaWood handle in ebony provides a firm grip
- Stainless steel blade clad with 32 layers (16 per side) to produce a Damascus look
- 6 ½ inch blade for slicing and dicing fruits and vegetables
#2. Premier 5.5 Inch
Thin and ultra-sharp, the Premier is the perfect Shun Nakiri for slicing vegetables and fruits paper-thin. This dynamic knife features a 5.5 inch blade that glides through crisp vegetables or delicate fruits like tomatoes like butter.
Elegant and beautiful, the Shun Premier line of knives are unlike any knives you’ve owned. Featuring layered Damascus steel for strength, the hand-hammered finish (known as ‘tsuchime’ in Japanese) lends not only to the beauty, but creates the hollow-ground feature that reduces knife-drag and prevents food from sticking to the blade.
Corte Allen of Hyde Park New York gave the following review:
“I attend the Culinary Institute of America where we are given a kit of knives for use in the kitchens. I prefer to use my Shun Premier Nakiri everyday in class because it is such a great knife…”
The gorgeous Pakkawood handles in walnut finish are both sleek and stylish, and are shaped to fit the palm of your hand in a variety of secure and comfortable grips. The Shun logo is embossed on the end cap, making these knives beautiful in and out of the knife block.
Incredibly thin, sharp blades, stylish finishing details and created in the Japanese styling that they are famous for, you know your Premier line of knives will work just as hard as you do in your kitchen, and be around for generations to come. Hand washing recommended; limited lifetime warranty.
- Featuring a thin blade perfect for cutting vegetables
- Features layered damascus steel with a striking, hand-hammered finish (known as ‘tsuchime’ in japanese)
- Hand-hammered finish reduces drag when cutting, keeping foods from sticking to the knife blade
- Premium pakkawood handle nestles comfortably into the curves of the palm and allows for a variety of comfortable and secure grips
- This model only comes in the Premier style.
#3. Classic 5-Inch Hollow Edge
Shun Hollow Ground Nakiri is On Sale Today for Up To 20% OFF!. Go to Amazon Now.
This knife is part of the Shun Classic line of tasteful and contemporary cutlery. This line features beautiful Damascus-clad blades and D-shaped ebony PakkaWood® handles.
In this case, the term ‘hollow - edge’ refers to the scalloped, cut-out contours along the leading edge of the blade. This design works particularly well with the push cut techniques of the nakiri knife when chopping fruits and vegetables. The scallops really seem to help prevent the cut food from adhering to the blade, so you can actually get up some good speed without stopping to clean the blade much.
For a slightly lower price point on the hollow ground knife profile please see our article on the Shun Sora Hollow Ground Santoku.
These handcrafted nakiri knives have both beauty and function. A razor-sharp blade offers top performance. Shun’s proprietary high-performance VG-MAX steel, which provides incredible edge retention, is clad with Damascus stainless steel, then ground and bead-blasted, revealing the flowing pattern of the layered steel.
The result is a line of knives that are sharp, durable, and corrosion resistant, as well as beautiful to behold. The Classic line also offers you the widest assortment of both traditional culinary blade shapes and cutting-edge designs, so you can always find the right knife for the task.
- 5 inch blade
- Hollow edge
- Made from VG-10 stainless steel clad with 32 layers of high-carbon stainless steel
- Patterned, layered surface; stunning look of Damascus steel with added rust resistance
- Black laminated PakkaWood D-shaped handle provides maximum comfort
- Made in Japan; Lifetime Warranty
The reviews of this knife are excellent in general. As with other reviews, the cons follow the pros. This is a small blade and works best with small jobs (maybe even small hands). If you work in a commercial kitchen with 50 pounds of celery to chop this may not be your best choice.
Is it time to replace your cutting board? Experts suggest that you replace them about every 2 years or so.
Not sure which to choose?
If you’re having trouble deciding which knife to choose, we can recommend this two-piece set. This also makes an excellent gift. Do you have a budding chef in the family? Are you related to a cook? Are you the family’s home chef? Are you vegan? This set is great to give as well as receive.
- Set Includes Classic 7-inch Asian Chef’s Knife & Classic 5-inch Hollow Edge Shun Nakiri Knife
- Blade Construction: VG-MAX steel core, encased with 32-layer Damascus stainless steel
- Rockwell Hardness 60-61
- Traditional Japanese blade angle: 16° on each side; full tang, provides strength & balance
- Made in Japan, Lifetime Warranty
A less expensive way to begin to build your own set
Each blade gives you a unique profile
The hollow edge blade is excellent for chopping vegetables and fruits
The Asian blade is good for most everything else - prepping meats, deboning
And fillets, portion control, etc.
While these blades get excellent reviews in general, occasionally customers will comment on the price. This is the primary reason we suggest this set. It represents a good bang for your buck - two great knives for a reasonable price. And a way to test and evaluate the different styles of blade before making a larger investment.
Premier vs Classic?
Shun produces 2 basic lines of nakiri knives: Premier and Classic. Premier, as the name implies is their upscale, slightly more expensive line. The differences are almost entirely aesthetic with the Premier line requiring several addtional steps in the production process.
How can you tell the difference between the two?
The Classic has an ebony, D shaped handle,
The Premier has a walnut finish and is more contoured in shape with an embossed cap for balance. There are some reviews that indicate the D shape is uncomfortable for a left hand chef. I am left-handed and i have not found this to be true
The Classic blade is light weight and well balanced and works very well in smaller hands.
The Premier blade is very thin and requires a bit more ‘finesse’.
The Classic blade has a polished, layered finish,
The Premier has a hammered finish.
The Premier knife tends to be 15 - 20% more expensive than the Classic.
All Shun knives feature a VG-10/VG-MAX super steel core encased with 32-layers of Damascus stainless steel (16-layers on each side). The Damascus steel supports and protects the core, which provides toughness, and is stain resistant.
Each knife provides a Japanese blade angle of 16°. You will enjoy the ease of cutting the thinnest slices without bruising or tearing the most delicate foods while prepping; this ensures the ingredients to stay intact, retain flavor, and stay fresh.
The handle is made out of PakkaWood which is a premium handle material make of genuine hardwood impregnated with resin. The resin makes it moisture resistant, strong and durable. Sanding and buffing brings PakkaWood to a beautiful gloss finish. As with natural wood, no two pieces of PakkaWood are exactly alike.
They offer a full assortment, so you will always find the right knife for the task. Made in Japan; Lifetime Warranty. Handwashing is recommended.
What is a nakiri anyway, and why is it so special?
The term ‘nakiri’ refers to a vegetable knife. This style of knife is designed for chopping vegetables and probably should not be used to debone a chicken, for example.
However, if you’re making chicken salad where you will chop onions, celery, and chicken breast meat into uniform size pieces, this knife is specially designed to perform this task with comfort and precision.
This knife is specialized for cutting vegetables using a primarily vertical motion. And right out of the box, this is very sharp. Goes through onions like there’s no tomorrow, goes through tomatoes without squashing them. You can make the most delicate, paper-like slices if you know what you’re doing.
There are many rice dishes that call for vegetable to be added. You can see some recipes for dishes you can make in a rice cooker by clicking here.
This is not the knife you want to lend to the neighbors. It is also not a beginner knife. This is a serious, high-end precision instrument that is seriously sharp.
- Blade core consists of high-carbon VG-10/VG-MAX, a Japanese super steel known for its edge retention, allowing the knives to hold their sharp edges for years.
- Blades boast a 16-degree angle, making these the sharpest knives out of the box. This is sharper than traditional European blades, which are usually sharpened to 20-22 degrees.
- Clad with 16 layers of SUS410/SUS431 Pattern Damascus stainless steel on each side for strength and flexibility. This metal is corrosion-resistant and easy to maintain.
- Damascus styling adds to the beauty of the knife while the microscopic air pockets created by the cladding process reduces friction during slicing.
- D-shaped handle fits in the palm and provides comfort and control, keeping the knife’s handle secure in the hand during use.
- Pakkawood handles, made of resin-impregnated hardwood, are NSF Certified for use in commercial kitchens.
- Produced in Seki City, Japan, the capital of samurai sword manufacturing.
- Rockwell hardness rating of 60-61 ensures that it takes and holds its incredibly sharp edge longer.
- Hand wash and dry recommended; limited lifetime warranty.
While in review after review customers love these knives, there are some drawbacks. And they follow closely with the benefits.
The first question- typically is: “Can I put this knife in the dishwasher?” and the answer is no. Handwashing is recommended, hand drying and hand putting away as well. This is true of most fine cutlery and professional knives, as you want to avoid damaging the blade or handle or both.
It has been said before, but bares repeating, this blade is sharp. This can be hazardous when emptying the dishwasher. All cuts don’t happen while chopping.
One more thing it’s important to remember is that you will need to do some maintenance. While this knife most definitely holds an edge, like with any chef blade, you’ll need to sharpen or hone it from time to time to keep it in prime cutting condition.
This is a seriously sharp blade, and you want to keep it that way. It’s so sharp in fact, that you don’t want to be just tossing this knife in the “loose stuff” drawer. It comes with a sheath cover for a reason.
There is also the issue of price. Can you find a cheaper knife? Sure. Even within Shun, the Classic style is a little less expensive than the Premier line. But whichever one you choose, you are getting a ‘forever knife’. Professional chefs like Marc Vetri (owner of Osteria in Philadelphia) refers to these as “knife - for - life”.
In the January issue of O magazine, Shun made the list of Oprah’s favorite things - and readers learned why it’s worth it to invest in Shun’s fine, handcrafted heirloom quality knives.
A proprietary ‘super steel’ blade is clad on both sides with 32 layers (16 layers per side) of non-corrosive Damascus steel traditionally used for swords for an easy strike - which means you’ll never fear delicate herbs or bruise tomatoes.
Composed of PakkaWood - a mix of natural hardwood and resin, the handles are moisture resistant. The slightly contoured shape offers a comfortable grip and the balanced weight lets you cut with chef-level efficiency.
Handcrafted in Seki City, Japan - the country’s sword making capital for more than 700 years - the knives have a limited lifetime warranty.
With proper care - hand wash with mild dish soap, dry thoroughly before storing, avoid cutting on hard surfaces like metal or glass - these knives should last a lifetime.
Whatever you need, there’s a blade to do the job: paring, slicing, bread,chef’s, utility knives as well as kitchen shears, a honing steel and a bamboo storage block.
According to Country Living Magazine: sharp knives are a must in every kitchen - and Shun’s dual core series are razor sharp. thanks to their dual core construction they stay sharp and feel sharper longer.
Here’s a little secret: Shun offers FREE SHARPENING
This is both a pro and con; a benefit and drawback. It is, you must agree, a super benefit. BUT, you have to send your knife to the factory. Here is what it says on their website:
“We will sharpen your Shun cutlery for free, for as long as you own it. It’s as simple as that. You pay for shipping and processing, and our expert sharpening services are FREE. If you live in the area, you may also bring your Shun knives in for free sharpening. We can sharpen up to two knives while you wait; more than two and they will be ready for you to pick up the next day.”
You may want to have a sharpener on hand, as well. It also makes a great gift.
Sharpening: Weekly honing to maintain blade. Sharpening as needed.
Shun is most well known for their high end precision cutlery. Each knife is handmade by skilled specialists and requires at least 100 handcrafted steps to complete one knife.
In Japanese, “Shun” (pronounced “shoon” and rhymes with “moon”) is the precise moment during the year when any particular food is at the peak of its perfection. When fruit is at its sweetest, when vegetables are perfectly ripe, perfectly fresh, and perfectly delicious. It is in harmony with the natural rhythms of the seasons. Shun Cutlery proudly takes its name from this Japanese culinary tradition of preparing and eating the very freshest food at the perfect “shun” moment. It is a tradition we live up to every day, making fine kitchen knives that are always at the peak of their perfection,
These patented, hand crafted knives are among the best loved with chefs around the world - and there is much to love about these knives.
They are available in different sizes and styles, each designed to particular kitchen tasks. In our opinion, however, the size you choose will come down to personal comfort.
Shun TDM0742 Premier Nakiri Knife, 5.5-Inch
We just like this one better, what can we say? We do have our reason, though. First, and foremost, this model of the shun nakiri knife offers the best discount off the full purchase price. Next, it only comes in the premier style. This offers the beautiful walnut handle and the hammered blade. We really like the look. Buy it for looks. . . use it because it works!
If this is not the kitchen knife for you, then you can see our top 5 best kitchen knife sets by clicking here.