Is there a guide to international kitchen knife types?
March 13, 2017 8:46 PM   Subscribe

I was at a nearby megamart that prided itself on being bi-lingual, everyone spoke Spanish and Portuguese! Apart from their excellent on-site fishmonger and butcher, who were very helpful and friendly, their cookware section had a lot of culinary knives of a pattern I hadn't seen before, and looked outlandish to my French/German/Japanese/Indian sensibilities (The Bonti, with coconut scraper, is the one kitchen utensil I really, really want, but know I am just not equipped to use it.)

I can recognize various Thai knife patterns, but I have no name for them, nor their intended use. These South American knives I am simply puzzled at, they either have a 6" deep and curved belly on a 5" blade, or there are a variety of line-straight knives from 4" to over a foot with what looks like a sheep's foot end, the cutting edge stops abruptly, and then the blade curves back to its spine. I know more places have more specialized cutlery, and I want to learn it all.

Is there a good resource for this?
posted by Slap*Happy to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Sorry I have no specific suggestions although country-specific cookbooks often have an equipment section.
Also, as a fellow RIer I would love to know what store you visited as cookware is a favorite family gift.
posted by Botanizer at 9:00 AM on March 14

Seabra's Market in Fall River. The knives aren't of gift quality, they range between $10 and $25, cheap stamped steel factory honed to a fare-thee-well, but real wood handles with brass rivets and their unusual pattern may interest the recipients. The really weird one with the blade deeper than it was long turns out to be a butcher's knife, unlike any I have seen before.

They also have professional grade chicken shears that cost forty bucks each and look it. The most expensive thing in the store, barring the in-house cured leg of Prosciutto. (Pro-tip: you can get a shrink-wrapped three-quarter pound slab, bone in, from the meat cooler. For six bucks. Porterhouse steaks the size of my face for five. Also, the Three Crabs fish sauce is the real deal, nab a bottle while you're there and add a solid splash or two to ALL THE THINGS! I used it in shakshuka just today, amazeballs.)

If you need five different sizes of frozen octopus or three dollar bottles of Portuguese wine of unusual quality, Amaral's on Globe Street is the next destination.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:23 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]

Wow! Thanks for the reply. We will schedule an expedition (from South County) asap.
posted by Botanizer at 7:29 AM on March 15

Not specifically culinary, but I'm a big fan of the "Illustrated Dictionary" series for this sort of thing.

Illustrated Directory of Knives, Daggers & Bayonets
posted by aspersioncast at 2:01 PM on March 15

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