Ikenami Hamono Bannou 150mm
The bannou is the all-rounder - the knife of ten thousand abilities, if you take the kanji characters literally. In language terms, bannou really does mean 'all-rounder'. On Japanese Google 'sports bannou' gets more than four times the hits of 'bannou knife'. So there you go. ('Bannou' returns more results than 'santoku', in case you're wondering.)
We think of this particular bannou-bocho as being a suitable size for singles or couples, or as a supplementary knife for families that can handle a full family meal. It's astonishingly sharp and will easily serve as a primary kitchen knife. Think about all those irksome little cut-it-twice tasks in your life. Over with! Think of the time you'll save.
You'll never feel you have too much knife: the modest length is easy to handle in a kitchen of any size. With giant leafy vegetables in front of you it's possible you'll want for more length in the blade, true, but occasional workarounds for those situations won't make you love this knife any less.
Tanegashima knives are renowned for their kiri-aji, their cutting feel. The steel is hard to the point of being delicate, but they offer wonderful sharpness and edge retention. Japanese sharpness, and probably better than the Japanese sharpness you already know. Why is that significant? A sharper blade means better flavours, for one.
Black-forged knives offer a degree of rust protection but this is a carbon steel blade which will rust if neglected. Wipe it clean, rinse it hot and wipe it dry. You'll be surprised how infrequently you'll feel the need to sharpen but when you do you'll find it to be very easy to do. On a whetstone, polish the edge both sides to a consistent width of 1.5mm and make it as pika pika shiny as you can. The angle, sharpness and cutting feel will take care of themselves. If you have a ceramic-wheel sharpener or similar you can use that. Nothing motorised.
Oh, and the handle. Japanese cherry. Branded. Very nice.
|Blade steel:||YSS Shirogami #1 | nantetsu|
|Bevel:||Ryōba double bevel|
|Left-handed available:||Handle and blade suit both hands|
|Weight in hand:||162g
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