February 11

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Best Affordable Chef Knife – Meet the Kiwi Knife


Introduction

This article is not one of these articles which will have you shed dozens of dollars over a top-notch high-end knife. It may not talk about the best professional knife or the most balanced knife you will ever own. This article is here to introduce you to the best cheap-ass affordable Chef knife you can get your hands on. It’s sort of a trade secret that must be finally revealed. It’s the best affordable knife that will have you wonder why you are just finding out about its existence now. Meet the Kiwi Knife.

What is a Kiwi Knife?

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. 

Kiwi brand knives are a Thai brand of extra sharp and light-weight multipurpose kitchen knives. You can find these in many Asian kitchen-ware stores in the US, Europe or even online. And the best part is that they cost just $3-$10. There’s a whole set of different types and sizes of these knives, the most common and my personal go-to is the 6-inch pointed blade (affiliate link). 

Look at that sharp blade
Meet the Kiwi Knife

What Makes Kiwi Knives so unique?

  • Kiwi knives are the best value budget knife out there. If you’re looking for some bang for your buck – this is it! 
  • They’re super easy to care for, clean, sharpen, and they can stay functional for years.
  • The blade is stainless steel, so you can leave it dirty on the counter, and it won’t rust. 
  • You can put it in the dishwasher. Yes, the wooden handle will lose some of its finish and gloss, but you know what, I’m not too concerned about how it looks.
  • The knife is so light, making it easy to hold and become “part of your hand.” 
Small palms small knives
Hand-Knife ratio
  • The blade is very thin. It makes chopping so effortless. It requires almost no force to chop right into a butternut squash or slice some apples like butter. 
chopping herbs in cooking class
Effortless chopping
  • The blade is super sharp right out of the box, but you better keep simple honing steel handy to keep the edge straight, the blade sharp and ready to go. 
  • The Kiwi is an approachable knife and will work for about 90% of your kitchen needs. It’s the knife you’ll find yourself reaching for most of the time.
Blood oranges and kiwi knife
A workhorse
  • It’s so cheap, for the price of just one decent budget knife (like this $50 Victorinox beginner’s knife – affiliate link), you can buy six kiwi knives and rotate between them in the kitchen – never having to run out of a clean and good knife.
  • Did I mention it’s dirt cheap?

My History with Kiwi Knives

My affair with Kiwi Knives goes back to 2012. The first time I learned about a Kiwi knife was when I was interning in a Paris restaurant after finishing culinary school. I’ve met Rob, a classmate, and he showed me his Kiwi Knife that he’s been using in a restaurant’s kitchen where he works. I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but I was struggling with using heavy knives from the school’s knife-set. I have small hands. Most knives are designed for men. They are mostly uncomfortable, bulky, take much effort to use, and hurt my wrists after no-time. When I found the Kiwi knives section in an Asian market in Paris, it was love at first slice. I brought some knives to use in Israel but regretted not getting more.

Kiwi knives in asain kitchenware stores
Find the knife section in the nearest Asian kitchenware store

When I moved to San Francisco, me and the Kiwi Knives section in the Asain store met again. I bought more to use in my Personal Chef Business. Everyone who stepped into my kitchen to give me a hand or help prep for an event used the Kiwi knives and loved it. 

Magnetic knife strip filled with Kiwis
Rotate between multiple Kiwis – this way you always have one ready to go

When I started hosting cooking classes and workshops, I bought a bunch more to use for all the class participants. Everyone loved it. People couldn’t stop talking about these knives. I enjoyed sharing this discovery with everyone who’d show the slightest interest in the subject. 

When I started guiding food tours, I decided to give Kiwi knives as a souvenir for each guest. It was a good take-off gift; people just loved it and kept coming back to the store to get more. 

Mashav giving away Kiwi knives as gifts in food tour

Last January, we traveled to Thailand and found ourselves in Kiwi knives heaven. We also found out about the Kom Kom brand of knives (also Thai), which some people say is better quality, but I didn’t see any difference. 

Now, coming back to Israel for an extended visit, I brought all the Kiwis I had left from the tours and the classes and started giving these away as gifts to friends and family. The reactions are so so amazing. Everyone loves them, so I decided to share this love with you all. 

Slicing a steak thinly with a kiwi knife

What are Kiwi Knives good for and what to avoid:

The Kiwis are very, very thin. It has its pros and cons. As I mentioned above, the pros are the ease of chopping and slicing and being light weight. The cons are that it’s too thin to cut into more rigid substances. For best results, avoid using your Kiwi knife to cut hard things like bones, twigs, nutshells, a whole chocolate block, etc. There’s a kiwi cleaver knife if you want to cut bones, but I’m not sure how it compares to a regular cleaver. 

Israeli chopped salad before mixing
Thinly slicing tri tip for sandwiches with a kiwi

Can a dirt-cheap knife replace a $50 or even a $100 professional knife?

This is a matter of personal preference. I rarely use my expensive knives because they need special treatment (sharpening with a wet-stone, cleaning immediately, and oiling before storing away). For larger-hand people – the Kiwi might feel flimsy and too light. But the major thing to understand is that it’s worth trying to include a Kiwi in your set. 

Worse case, it will be your travel knife (yes, I always pack a Kiwi with me when going on a trip, since Airbnb knives are so bad usually). Best case, you’ll find yourself getting another one, two, or even ten.

Steak and knife

When is it better to use a different knife?

I use Kiwi knives in different sizes for almost all of my kitchen needs. It’s a chopping work-horse. Yet, there are some tasks I prefer using specialized knives for: 

  • Bread knife for slicing bread
  • Boning knife for prepping meat 
  • Flexible long blade knife for filleting a fish
  • Japanese carbon steel knife for sashimi or something very delicate
  • Cleaver for cutting bones and harder substances
  • Pairing knife for peeling, turning, etc
Other knives like bread knife
Sometimes you need a special knife, like a god bread knife

Can you sharpen Kiwi Knives?

Yes, of course. You can sharpen it or hone it with honing steel quite simply. I keep honing steel on the magnetic strip in my kitchen at all times and use it daily when I feel the blade is a bit dull. If you’re considering taking it to professional sharpening – don’t. Not only will it cost much more than what you paid for the knife itself, but the blade is also too thin for the machines used by professional sharpening, and it might be destroyed. I suggest sharpening it yourself, and when you feel it’s not helping anymore and the blade is dull – toss it and get another one. It’s not a disposable knife (I’ve been using some of them for 5+ years), but it’s so cheap, you can toss it guilt-free when its time has come.

How can I get my hands on one of these and buy a Kiwi Knife?

There’s a knife section with Kiwi knives in many Asian kitchenware stores for the best prices. If you don’t have a near located Chinatown or the like – you can get it on Amazon for a reasonable price. 

The perfect Kiwi set gift
You’ll soon want the whole set

What do people say about Kiwi Knives?

From raving reviews on Amazon (4.6 stars and upward of 1,700 reviews):

I own a set of Mundial knives that retail for over $300 and I’ll tell you, these two have been my go-to knives over those in my kitchen. The blades are a little thinner so be careful with the tips as they can easily bend.

Reddit users are either raving about them or trashing about them.

Best dang knife you can get for the price, IMO. I don’t think I ever saw one for more than $10usd at my stores. My mom passed me down her Kiwi Butcher knife and still using it 10 years later.

Kiwis are literally junkers. We use them at work and just replace them with new ones whenever they go dull/get warped because it’s just not worth it to have them sharpened.

The wok shop in SF recommends them as well: 

“Can’t find a sharper knife for the money and for some miraculous reason, they stay sharp for a long, long time. Great for student cooks, and college students and general kitchen use. Highly recommended.“ 

Cheftalk.com are talking about these:

These things are RAZOR sharp, easy to sharpen (although not really necessary, for the price these make the perfect ‘throw away”), and if you’ve never used one, I promise you will be surprised and impressed.

Recipe

Chopped salad in a creamy dressing
Yield: 6

Fattoush Salad with Torn Pita and Buttermilk Dressing

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This is a great light and refreshing chopped salad with loads of freshly cut vegetables, creamy buttermilk dressing, some crispiness from the torn pita croutons, and a zang from Sumak which is acidic spice that brings it all together nicely. Try it for the next time you're having a family dinner, or a friends' gathering, or be the star of the next potluck.

Ingredients

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 4 mini cucumbers
  • ½ bunch radishes
  • 1 celery stem
  • 2 green onions
  • Handful fresh mint
  • Sunflower seeds

For the pita:

  • 2 small pitas, roughly torn
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup unsalted almonds coarsely chopped
  • 1½ tsp Sumac (optional)
  • ½ tsp chili flakes

For the buttermilk dressing:

  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Prepare the vegetables: chop the tomatoes, cucumber and celery to small dice, thinly slice the radishes and green onions, chop the mint leaves discarding the stems.
  2. Heat the butter and the olive oil in a skillet over high heat.
  3. Add the pita pieces and almonds and cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring all the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the sumac, chili flakes and ¼ teaspoon salt and let cool.
  5. Mix all the ingredients for the buttermilk dressing in a big mixing bowl and taste for seasoning.
  6. Add all the vegetables and the crunchy pita pieces to the bowl, mix well and leave for 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.
  7. Garnish with sumac and sunflower seeds and serve.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 1533mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 6gSugar: 8gProtein: 11g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators.

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Conclusion

cooking workshop with knives

Just get it. Thank me later. And after you do, buy the whole set. And an extra 2-3 of the 6” pointy blade. Welcome to the Kiwi Knives Fan Club 🙂

If you already have your Kiwi, share in the comments below how you got introduced to it in the first place and what id your impression. So excited to read your thoughts!!

Mashav Shelef


I’m a trained chef, a food writer, a culinary traveler, a food explorer and a mom. My mission in life is to inspire and motivate people by helping them experience life through food.

Mashav Shelef

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  1. Slicing salad was always an effort for me, but with this knife -wow! It is really easy, and everyone can get great results. Thank you for the recommendation!

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