Through the years as a chef I, like most chefs, accumulated a nice little collection of exotic cutlery, with many of them being quite expensive. Those last years in the kitchen found me using a certain brand of knife much, much more than all the rest combined. I was inextricably drawn to a couple of knives from Kiwi, one wider and thicker than the other, both with kind of a santoku shape. Great all-purpose knives, perfect for scooping up what you just sliced, cheap if you ever did something stupid and harmed them, or if they got lifted or "borrowed".
They are made in Thailand, and I buy them from the local Asian market. My detail blade is the 6.5" steel-pointed stainless blade, thin and flexible enough to fillet a fish if need be, but a dandy dicer and slick little all-purpose knife. Its big brother is the 7" chef's stainless blade, which is also thicker and slightly less flexible: perfect for slicing stuff like spuds, onions, cabbage, meat, cheese, etc. When I first started buying them, you could get them for $4.59 and $5.49 each, respectively. Now they cost a bit more, but are still VERY affordable, and they make fantastic gifts for friends and family.
In Austin, you can find them at MT Market in Chinatown Shopping Center, left side, almost to the back by strange animal parts land, lining the shelves in knifeworld. Online you can find a fine assortment of Kiwi cutlery at: http://importfood.com/thai_knives.html. I highly recommend the newer ones with plastic handles, but the brass-riveted wood handles are still available (plastic is easier to sanitize than wood). You can get a great assorted set of three with plastic handles for only $22.50.
I started writing about Kiwi knives years ago, and always praised them to every chef I knew. They keep a sharp edge, and need just a few licks with the steel every now and then to regain sharpness. They don't stain, they last forever, cost very little, and perform their tasks with aplomb. Pretty much the only knives you will ever need.
Mick Vann ©