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Kamelion

Show your Cai Dao, Wok, and other kitchen equipment!

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Shelley

WOW... That will keep the knife lovers happy for days. Thank you. I will get it together to post some bits and pieces of my kitchen equipment and even my whole kitchen maybe.

This reminds me of the two topics that were popular a while ago "Share your shelves" or as it was also called " Shelvies" following on from that we had "Deskies" in a similar vein.

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/43797-the-share-your-shelves-thread-post-a-photo/

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/46139-deskies-share-your-deskstudy-area/#comment-348484

Interestingly my desk area has had a fairly major rearrange, I should post an update. Looks like I will be busy tomorrow with my camera.

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abcdefg

Well done, @Kamelion. Bravo! Many thanks for returning and for these excellent photos and sets of specs. I've only had time to look through quickly this morning, but will return for further detailed study later.

 

1. May I ask, what coin is used in your pictures as a thickness comparison?

 

2. And while you still have all of these beauties unwrapped and readily available, could you go back through and add the retail price of each? That would help those of us (like myself) considering a similar (but smaller) purchase. 3. Related question: Did your friend need to bargain, or were prices fixed?

 

I'll be in Hong Kong at the end of this month and hope to have time to at least go do some serious "kicking of the tires" in one or another of those artisanal knife stores; maybe even buy one. Your experience has whetted my appetite.

 

Have told myself over and over that i don't really "need" a new knife, no matter how wonderful it might be; but that strategy is only serving to convince one small corner of my mind, not the whole thing. There seems to be some primitive place in my old reptilian hindbrain, some crafty nucleus or rebellious gyrus, that is hard-wired to make me "want" one regardless of any slick rational arguments to the effect that "wanting" and "needing" are not the same thing.

 

4. What is your first impression regarding balance in the hand? I realize you have not yet had a chance to use them much.

 

5. Did your friend encounter any questions at the Hong Kong International Airport on the way back home? Or at US customs after arrival?

 

6. One other questions, Kamelion, apologies for so many -- There was speculation beforehand that the store might sell these fine knives only partly sharpened, i.e., only machine sharpened, and that hand sharpening to finish the edge might cost extra. Did he find that to be true?

 

---------------------------

Note: I've gone back through and highlighted the questions in the interest of clarity. Thanks.

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Alex_Hart

Nice post @Kamelion! I'm embarrassed to show mine after your post. I was given a beautiful knife by my mother when I moved away to college, but left it with her when I came to China. I'd second abcd's request for retail prices - I'm also planning on a trip to Hong Kong where I hope to buy a wok (too much?) and a knife.

 

I share my knife more for laughs than seriousness - it is nothing near yours. It has no specs. I arrived in China and rented an apartment and decided to cook for the first time after cleaning the place several dozen times (old tenants were rather fond of filth). Went to the market and bought all my veggies and suddenly realized I had no knife. The wet market has a small "general store" that mostly sells dried foodstuff (spices, noodles, seaweed, etc). I randomly asked if they had a knife and they had three - for 50 kuai, 30 kuai or 20 kuai. As I felt I'd be more picky about my knife in the future, I wanted the cheap one to use for a week or two, but 20 kuai felt rather expensive and I managed to bargain it down to 12 kuai (less than 2USD) by also buying a very cheap, tiny plastic cutting board (which I continue to use as well). Keep telling myself I'll buy one when I go to Shanghai or Hong Kong.

 

The plan was always to go buy a proper knife after a week or two, but it has now been over half a year. I use this knife daily, and my girlfriend offered to buy me a nicer knife (thinking I was being cheap), but I have grown somewhat attached to this knife. The balance is nonexistent, in case you were wondering - the blade is lighter than the handle. Still - I have chopped many a head of cauliflower with this knife! It has some rust forming on it despite my best efforts at keeping it dry (Hangzhou is a wet place - my chopsticks are also defying all my efforts and developing mold), and the handle seems to be past its life expectancy. Ah well.

845291654824061472.jpg

385024923894508553.jpg

 

My only other knife is a strange colored, very dull one that was sent for free from Taobao when I bought some dish soap. This aspect of Taobao has always baffled me, but that knife serves to spread sauce-type things, or to cut tofu when this knife is covered in broccoli florets.

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abcdefg

Here's a link to an article about my wok. It is rust-resistant, hard-forged cast iron. https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/51217-wok-and-chopsticks/?page=2

 

About a year has passed now, and it just keeps getting better and better. It has become a trusty friend, and seldom if ever lets me down. Food doesn't stick to it, not even meat or eggs (those are the hardest test, I think.) It gleams with good health and requires very little oil when cooking.

 

Here's an updated picture. Actually, it's a more than a picture of my pan, it's a portrait of Honorable Mr. Wok, 炒锅大人。

 

IMG_0105.thumb.JPG.9ac14f9b76759ecc5833900119d1d93f.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The way I keep it looking good and being easy to use is simple, and takes less than a couple minutes every time:

 

1. Let hot water stand in it after use while I'm eating.

2. Rarely use soap. Only if something has scorched a little around the edges.

3. Scrub it after soaking, using a mildly abrasive woven plastic sponge.

 

IMG_0185.thumb.JPG.5a74ae7ead9f2dda85aba16d2fbf207e.JPGIMG_0186.thumb.JPG.c9fa7a103bf5838a43fa29353bd7f518.JPG

 

4. After washing, I set it on the flame and dry it well with a paper towel. (The heat dries it too.)

5. While it is still on the heat, I drip in two or three drops of oil and rub them around evenly with another paper towel.

6. As it is cooling, I polish it hard with a dish cloth that is made from bamboo fibers. This cloth is about the size of a bathroom face cloth.

 

IMG_0188.thumb.JPG.df781135b4da2611e9763462c4a0f3a0.JPG

IMG_0189.thumb.JPG.fb553fc3176b3e3e629b8469f4563db5.JPG

 

 

7. When cool, I store it in a reusable cloth grocery bag so that it doesn't collect dust.

 

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Kamelion
On 2017-05-12 at 5:31 AM, abcdefg said:

1. May I ask, what coin is used in your pictures as a thickness comparison?

 

It is a 20 cent € coin.

 

On 2017-05-12 at 5:31 AM, abcdefg said:

 

2. And while you still have all of these beauties unwrapped and readily available, could you go back through and add the retail price of each? That would help those of us (like myself) considering a similar (but smaller) purchase.

 

Will do, when I get the verification from my friend. But what I can so far, is that they cost around 35 €, the 1102 somewhat more expensive, maybe 45 €. Will add the exact prices later on.

 

On 2017-05-12 at 5:31 AM, abcdefg said:

3. Related question: Did your friend need to bargain, or were prices fixed?

 

I said he should try it, and he did, but, even with his cantonese speaking colleague doing the talking—and even when buying six units—, there really was not much to do. The prices was on display, and they are probably aware of their relative fame and what their knives are worth, seen from a western perspective.

 

On 2017-05-12 at 5:31 AM, abcdefg said:

4. What is your first impression regarding balance in the hand? I realize you have not yet had a chance to use them much.

 

 

First few impressions:

 

Good balance in all knives. 1303 is much lighter and thinner than 1912, and easier to sharpen. Thinner behind the edge.

 

1102 is big. Will probably get used to it and like it, but, it is big! Would therefore consider 1103 instead if you are opting for this large style (not 1301, since it is much longer than 1302, and not the same balance). Probably the best slicer of them all. It is extremely crazy thin on and behind the edge. Amazing finish.

 

1303 nice finish, thin behind the edge. Nice prep knife.

 

The heavy chopper I have not used at all.

 

 

On 2017-05-12 at 5:31 AM, abcdefg said:

5. Did your friend encounter any questions at the Hong Kong International Airport on the way back home? Or at US customs after arrival?

 

 

No problems anywhere in the chain. No scan before the check-in. We did not look this up very much in before-hand, but normally, you are allowed to check in knives.

 

On 2017-05-12 at 5:31 AM, abcdefg said:

6. One other questions, Kamelion, apologies for so many -- There was speculation beforehand that the store might sell these fine knives only partly sharpened, i.e., only machine sharpened, and that hand sharpening to finish the edge might cost extra. Did he find that to be true?

 

 

This is probably true. The 1102 and 1303 however are so thin, that it takes a matter of minutes to get a dangerously sharp edge. The 1912 does need a bit more care on the whetstones. Would be very interesting if you would ask more about this when you go there.

 

I am happy I bought the stainless steel one as well. Will be my western cooking cleaver, and the one I let friends cook with, or my travel knife, since it will not need the same amount of care.

 

 

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abcdefg

Great! Many thanks!

 

7 hours ago, Kamelion said:

The 1102 and 1303 however are so thin, that it takes a matter of minutes to get a dangerously sharp edge. The 1912 does need a bit more care on the whetstones. Would be very interesting if you would ask more about this when you go there.

 

I will try to follow up on this. Do you mean that it just takes more time on the whetstone, or that special angles must be observed, or something else? Do you use a sharpening steel on these knives? I do that here with my daily use 菜刀。I don't speak Cantonese, and will be going there solo, so there might be some communication issues if the store staff cannot manage in Mandarin or English. 

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Kamelion
4 hours ago, abcdefg said:

Do you mean that it just takes more time on the whetstone, or that special angles must be observed, or something else?

 

I use a Spyderco Sharpmaker most of the time. And since the edge—or, more specifically, what the knife nerds call behind-the-edge-thickness—of 1102 and 1303 is to thin, you don’t have to take away almost any steel to directly have a new edge. I just do two or three strokes on the finest stone every 4th day or so. The 1912 is a bit thicker behind the edge, so I guess the best option would be to thin out a secondary edge, do a back-bevel, and then proceed as now with the sharpmaker.

 

A few strokes on a honing steel would probably be just as good.

 

I do have whetstones as well, and I think it is possible to achieve even better results, but I do not have the best skills yet, but will practice. It is one of these tasks that for me needs a lot of time and has to be done slowly and calmly, so when I do this—or ironing shirts, or polishing shoes—I put on a good CD, and go into a meditative state and sharpen/iron/polish for an hour and a half or so. 

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abcdefg

I'm afraid you are out of luck. This stuff is light years too technical for me to talk about it with Mr. Zhang in the knife shop on a busy Wednesday morning. I can see myself standing there at the counter stammering away, dictionary in one hand, furiously looking stuff up and talking to him about back-bevel and behind-the-edge thickness while he looks immensely puzzled.

 

Quote

The 1912 does need a bit more care on the whetstones. Would be very interesting if you would ask more about this when you go there.

 

I just don't have a grasp of what it is that you want to know, even after reading your most recent post, right above this one. And even if I did, chances are it would be too esoteric for me to be able to muster the necessary vocabulary to pose the question, and then understand a highly technical response. Furthermore, we would doing this in broken Mandarin; with him being a native speaker of Cantonese and me being a native speaker of English.

 

Sorry, just too difficult. I will have to decline the mission.  

 

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Kamelion
44 minutes ago, abcdefg said:

 

I'm afraid you are out of luck. This stuff is light years too technical for me to talk about it with Mr. Zhang in the knife shop on a busy Wednesday morning. I can see myself standing there at the counter stammering away, dictionary in one hand, furiously looking stuff up and talking to him about back-bevel and behind-the-edge thickness while he looks immensely puzzled.

 

Quote

The 1912 does need a bit more care on the whetstones. Would be very interesting if you would ask more about this when you go there.

 

I just don't have a grasp of what it is that you want to know, even after reading your most recent post, right above this one. And even if I did, chances are it would be too esoteric for me to be able to muster the necessary vocabulary to pose the question, and then understand a highly technical response. Furthermore, we would doing this in broken Mandarin; with him being a native speaker of Cantonese and me being a native speaker of English.

 

Sorry, just too difficult. I will have to decline the mission.  

 

Oh, I did not mean to make it sound like a mission. Just interested in whatever info comes out of your visit.

 

Maybe I will try to make a post about sharpening in the future; I am afraid, I am just a novice though, but will hopefully get better through training on the cai dao. However, the Spyderco Sharpmaker is a fantastic tool, if you do not want to spend much time on it.

 

PS. I did not realize earlier, that there was already a post about woks, and others as well – should I change the title to this to just fathom knives after all, keeping the threads cleaner, you think?

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Shelley
7 minutes ago, Kamelion said:

PS. I did not realize earlier, that there was already a post about woks, and others as well – should I change the title to this to just fathom knives after all, keeping the threads cleaner, you think?

No I think it is fine as it is.

 

I do intend to post some pictures this weekend when I have time.

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abcdefg

Agree with @Shelley, leave the thread title as is. One of the unfortunate vagaries of this forum is that posts made to older threads tend to rapidly disappear and become nearly impossible to find. (Your great post from a couple days ago about Hongshao Rou has already suffered that fate.)

 

@Kamelionthis whole world of knives is interesting to me, and I would read anything you have to say about it. A long time ago, 25 or 30 years ago, I started collecting custom hand-made hunting knives by famous craftsmen. Was making too much money at the time, and this was a way to burn some of it up. Had a small collection, but each piece was carefully chosen for its beauty and for its appreciation potential. Following a divorce and a move some years later, I sold them all and never looked back. 

 

But, none-the-less I will try to visit one or another of the Hong Kong knife stores on my next trip, in about two weeks.

 

-----------------------------

 

Just now looked at pictures and description of the Spyderco Sharpmaker. Excellent design. I have one which is similar back in the US. Pretty sure I bought mine from A.G. Russell Knives. It really does a super job of restoring and maintaining a super keen edge. 

 

591f8b3c452dd_spydercosharpmaker.thumb.JPG.c6c09284c02d1be380fd5f21ff835739.JPG

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somethingfunny

Do the measurements on here include the handle or not?  20-24cm for just the blade seem excessively large for home use.

 

Which knife did you end up going for @abcdefg - I'm sure you've written about it somewhere, but I couldn't find it.

 

Edit:

 

IMG_0154.thumb.JPG.6fdacadbf79037ae60050f3097a4931d.JPGIMG_0155.thumb.JPG.513fbd775a99315bf36190a6b9c2da7d.JPG

 

This is the knife I currently use, and I'm worried that if I upgrade it might be too unwieldy.

 

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abcdefg
17 hours ago, somethingfunny said:

Do the measurements on here include the handle or not?  20-24cm for just the blade seem excessively large for home use.

 

They are just the blade, not the handle. I bought their Number 2 extra hard stainless steel model. Blade is 20 cm long by 9 cm wide.The one I used for a long time before that was 16 cm by 7 cm. The transition was effortless and I don't find the new one unwieldy. Have used it now about a year and a half, nearly every day. 

 

Photos here: (at night with flash -- not too clear.) 

 

1827215372_IMG_6118-65.thumb.jpg.de6f05d233ab443c5757c236a9c04ff3.jpg   2127487578_IMG_6119-65.thumb.jpg.0674428d495f5cc087ded9f8914a70bf.jpg

 

I'm pretty sure it's this one: (KF 1912 -- wood handle model -- 木柄不锈钢小片刀)

 

 

2068058908_knifesmallwithstar.thumb.png.d5230e52c0faa2f7fc694f7b5c5994ee.png

 

And here's a snapshot of the two knives together. The old one is now my "number two." 

 

1192733883_IMG_6124-65.thumb.jpg.d13096b3e38b3a5cd4910d808aa4ac05.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are links to the main previous knife discussions:

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/54306-my-new-hong-kong-knife-菜刀/?tab=comments#comment-416849 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/53912-chinese-cleaver-cai-dao-桑刀-or-菜刀-–-carbon-or-stainless-steel/

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/53912-chinese-cleaver-cai-dao-桑刀-or-菜刀-–-carbon-or-stainless-steel/?tab=comments#comment-413536

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somethingfunny

How do you find sharpening it?  I know there was a lot of discussion about choosing between stainless steel and carbon steel and the relative merits when it comes to sharpening.

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abcdefg

It's a little bit of a chore to sharpen it. The steel is pretty hard. But it holds an edge well. I probably only sharpen it about once  a week. Use a steel to set the edge every day or two. 

 

I don't use any high-tech methods, just an old sharpening stone and a steel. After using, I dry it well, but I don't oil it. Have not had any rust. 

 

My old carbon steel 菜刀 is marginally easier to sharpen. Takes a little less time and a little less attention. But, to put it in perspective, I mean the new knife might take five minutes while the old one only takes three. Not a big deal in the overall scheme of things. 

 

2125693845_IMG_6127-69.thumb.jpg.f0901982b6c783527e5bbb3358676af8.jpg

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Balthazar

I should probably contribute with a post to this thread...

 

Got myself a Shibazi carbon cleaver (the S210-1 to be precise) at the beginning of this year, and I haven't looked back. Here it is, next to a typical German meat cleaver (a terrible knife, by the way).

 

2AAOM1l.jpg

 

That's how it looked until my wife decided to hammer it against a frozen fish...

 

Pv35dns.jpg

 

Oh well. Sanded the chipped area (which is at the bottom of the blade, that is close to the handle and not the tip, not easy to see from the image above) smooth, and it's still preforming as good as ever.

 

I also bought a stainless stainless steel (VG10) cleaver from Taiwanese company "RiteNife" (this one) a few months back. It's supposed to have a hardness of HRC 60-62 (take that with a grain of salt). Horrible name, and not much of a beauty, but it too does a great job (and is significantly lighter, which the wife appreciates) and since it's not carbon steel you don't have to worry about rust if you leave it unwiped for ten minutes.

 

As far as sharpening goes, I use synthetic water stones. Cerax 1000 is my go-to stone. Not much of a hassle at all. Broad stones are preferable for large caidaos, for obvious reasons.

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abcdefg
4 hours ago, Balthazar said:

Got myself a Shibazi carbon cleaver (the S210-1 to be precise) at the beginning of this year, and I haven't looked back.

 

How big is it, @Balthazar? Is it a slicer? (Thin blade.) Looks like the stainless steel Taiwanese one is a chopper. (Thicker, heavier blade.) Do I have that straight? One good slicer and one good  chopper is an excellent combination. 

 

A broad sharpening stone would definitely be easier to use. Mine is rather narrow. BTW, I used the "Magic Marker" trick you suggested in an early thread. Found it helpful when starting out with a new knife. 

 

That Cerax stone looks like a very good one.

 

1946086314_seraxstone.thumb.PNG.f50a93068f28cbeb4ad63858f7b3f956.PNG

 

 

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Balthazar

Actually, the Taiwanese cleaver is the thinner one. 1,6mm vs 2mm for the Shibazi. So they are both slicers.

 

Here's the dimensions of the Shibazi cleaver (from the Aliexpress-seller, which for some reason refers to it as a "fillet knife"😞

 

ZcMz8OK.jpg

 

The weight (408 grams) and size of the Shibazi makes it my preferred choice for slicing large amount of vegetables as well as tofu (I find it easier to avoid breakage when slicing tofu with heavy cleavers). The Taiwanese cleaver is more for quick jobs, and for the convenience of stainless steel. As it's smaller and lighter it also improves the precision somewhat, so it's my go-to knife for peeling ginger.

 

Yeah, the Cerax is great. Very reasonable price for what it does. I have been thinking of picking up the Rika 5000 for finishing, but a decent 1000 grit stone goes a long way on its own. Great to hear that the magic marker trick has been useful for you. I still use it myself :)

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abcdefg
23 hours ago, Balthazar said:

Here's the dimensions of the Shibazi cleaver (from the Aliexpress-seller, which for some reason refers to it as a "fillet knife"

 

That Shibazi knife looks like a beauty! Congratulations! Having a top-notch knife to work with is truly a joy as well as a sensible investment for anyone who spends time in the kitchen and likes to cook. Proper balance and a nice sharp blade make cutting tasks so effortless. Hard to believe, I realize, until you have a top-notch knife in your hand and use it to break down an onion, julienne a carrot, make a chiffonade of mint or basil, give a lotus root a proper rolling cut and so on. 

 

I once thought of such a tool as a luxury and told myself, "maybe some day." Now I think of it as essential. One of those improvements, that after being adopted, it would be unthinkable to relinquish and go back. I felt the same way when I first bought a car with electric windows. "Who needs that bit of foolishness? Just one more thing to break and require costly repairs." Now I have accepted them as a "must have" feature. 

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