Bunka Knives Australia
The Bunka knife is a Western-style Japanese chef’s knife that you can use on a wide variety of common kitchen tasks. It is a general-purpose knife so you can put it into multiple uses in the kitchen like cutting fish, herbs, and vegetables. Like the gyuto, the Bunka is a dexterous chef’s knife that you can use with different cutting or chopping styles.
The most distinctive aspect of the Bunka knife is its ‘reverse tanto’ tip or k-tip. Bunka knives also have a very appealing aesthetic, particularly if you find one fashioned out of patterned Damascus steel. They look more like a collector’s item than a utilitarian chef’s knife that you will probably have to use on a daily basis. However, compared to the other general-purpose Japanese chef’s knives such as the gyuto and the santoku, the Bunka knives are less commonplace. They also typically fetch a higher price. Some Bunka knives cost as much as $900 although you can find cheaper but good quality variants!
As a general-purpose Western-style Japanese kitchen knife, you can use the Bunka knife in any kitchen task where you would need a gyuto or a santoku. Their flat profiles lend themselves easily to chopping and push-cutting uses although they are not particularly suited for rock-chopping.
When we talk of a Japanese knife being ‘Western-style’, we mean that it borrows from the Western chef’s knives. As Japan opened up to the world in the late 19th century, Western culture, including the culinary tradition slowly seeped into the Japanese culinary culture. That included the chef’s knives. In the quintessential Japanese fashion, many Japanese bladesmiths and blacksmiths quickly adapted Japanese bladesmithing techniques, style, and tradition into the making or remaking of the Western-style chef’s knives and this gave birth to knife types such as the Bunka, Santoku, and Gyotu. In this article, we look at some of the common questions that users ask about the Bunka knife.
What is the Bunka Knife?
The Bunka is a western-style Japanese chef’s knife. In Japanese, it is referred to as Bunka Bōchō. In Japanese, the term ‘Bunka’ means ‘culture’ and Bōchō translates to ‘kitchen knife’. The Bunka is thus a ‘cultural knife’. This name comes from the fact that Bunka knives have traditionally been used in Japanese households to prepare cultural cuisines.
It is a very versatile and all-purpose kitchen knife that you can use on various common kitchen tasks including cutting vegetables, fish, meat and herbs. This multi-use knife will come in handy in various types of knifework such as chopping, cutting, slicing, dicing as well as mincing.
The Bunka differs from other western-style kitchen knives due to its Japanese-inspired design. It is not only shorter than the classic European chef’s knives but it is also thinner, sharper, and is made of harder carbon steel that assures better edge retention.
Bunka knives have a straight blade but with a sudden triangular pointed tip otherwise known as ‘reverse tanto‘ or ‘k-tip’. The reverse tanto is very distinctive and together with the wide blade, easily identifies the Bunka knife.
Where does the Bunka Knife Fit in Your Kitchen?
The Bunka knife is an all-purpose multi-use knife and will easily fit alongside other Western chef’s knives as well as Japanese chef’s knives such as the Santoku and the gyuto. The Bunka knife has a flat profile that is better suited for tasks such as push-cutting and tap-chopping but the flat blade does not work for rock-chopping work since it does not feature a curve in its belly like the gyuto knife.
However, the pointed tip of the Bunka knife or the ‘reverse tanto’ will work nicely on intricate or delicate precision cutting work like in scoring your vegetables or brunoise cuts. You can also make use of this pointed tip to slice under the fat or sinews.
How long is the Bunka Knife?
Bunka knives are generally shorter than the conventional Western chef’s knives with blade lengths ranging from 120mm to 240mm. The most recommended blade size for the majority of users, including home cooks and professional chefs, is usually 165mm. At this size, the knife will not only comfortably handle most products but it is also easier to wield.
This shorter length combined with the thinness of the blade makes the Bunka knife a relatively small and light kitchen knife that can be wielded by anyone including chefs with smaller hands. The small size of the Bunka knife also reduces fatigue when you are using it for an extended period of time.
What is the typical spine width of the Bunka Knife?
Bunka knives are thick at the spine and thinner at the edge. However, they are still thinner than the Western chef’s knives. The typical spine width for Bunka knives varies widely from 1.7mm to 3.4mm on the higher end.
What is the blade profile of the Bunka Knife like?
Bunka knives have a mostly straight cutting edge. The knife’s blade is wide (ranging from 45mm to 55mm) and straight but the knife’s spine slopes suddenly towards the tip to create their distinctive ‘reverse tanto’ angled pointed tip. This is also referred to as the ‘k-tip’. It is this k-tip along with its wide blade that makes the Bunka knife easily recognizable.
The knife’s flat profile makes it highly suited for a swift downward chopping motion and other cutting techniques such as pull-cutting, tap-chopping, and push-cutting. However, since the belly is straight-edged and without a curve, you cannot use the Bunka knife for rock-cutting tasks
The ‘reverse tanto’ is useful for intricate cutting tasks.
What is the Bunka Knife Best Suited for/What Does it Cut?
Bunka knives are multi-use knives so you can put them to various uses including for cutting meat, fish, vegetables, and herbs. Like the Santoku knife which is also a multipurpose chef’s knife, you can use the Bunka knives for chopping, dicing, slicing, or mincing your produce or meats.
Bunka knives have a thin, sharp, and wide blade along with a straight cutting edge which is better suited for making swift and clean cuts on your food. You can use this knife for push-cutting, tap-chopping, or in an up-and-down motion.
Bunka knives also have their signature ‘reverse tanto’ or angled-tip that works admirably when it comes to chopping thin slices of various kinds of foods including cheese, meat, vegetables, seafood, and vegetables. The sharp k-tip will also come in handy when you have to make intricate and delicate cuts on your products such as in brunoise cuts or when you are scoring your vegetables. The k-tip is also useful for light butchering work such as slicing pieces of fat or sinews.
You can apply its wider blade in other users such as scooping the small pieces of the food you have chopped from the cutting board.
True to its Western provenance, it is a double-bevel knife but it still retains its Japanese soul: it is a thin knife with very sharp edges. The double bevel profile also makes the knife ambidextrous and it can be used by both left-handed and right-handed chefs and home cooks.
What is the Bunka Knife Not Suited For?
The Bunka knife is a shorter and lighter Japanese chef’s knife and is not suited for heavy-duty kitchen work. They are made from high carbon steel and have very thin and sharp edges and may be prone to cracking or chipping when put to more demanding or heavy-duty work.
What is the Bunka Knife’s Core Strengths?
The Bunka knife is a general-purpose and multi-use kitchen knife that is light, sharp, and easy to handle. You can apply it to all the common kitchen tasks including fish, vegetables, meat, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Its ‘reverse tanto’ or k-tip can be put into more intricate and delicate kitchen work such as when you need to get beneath the sinew or fat. It is also very stylish and quite a looker. It will certainly add some character and style to your cutlery. On the flipside, they can be quite costly.
Who Should Use the Bunka Knife/Who Does this Knife Match/Does it Suit You?
The Bunka knife is a stylish and eye-catching knife that will be a snazzy and individualistic addition to your cutlery. Having a Bunka shows you’ve got some taste. It is also a handy and do-it-all knife with a compact size that is suited for all chefs, including those with small hands. The pointed tip allows you to do more than just cut, chop, slice, and dice; it enables you to do some detailed work on your food. If you find the gyuto knife too big and unwieldy, then you will certainly love the shorter, smaller, comfortable, stylish, and more compact Bunka knife which is much easier to handle by everyone.