Not to brag, but I’ve used good chef’s knives for about as long as I’ve been cooking for myself. I started out with the ever-popular Victorinox Fibrox, which is very good for its low price (I was poor), but tends to dull fairly quickly. These days, I’m rocking the Wirecutter-recommended Mac MTH-80, and absolutely love the thing. But Kyoku recently sent me their Daimyo Series 8" chef’s knife to try out, and while I haven’t been using it for long, I’m extremely impressed.
Deal alert: For a limited time Kyoku is offering the knife for $69 to our readers with promo code KKECRSUK.
It sounds counterintuitive, but the sharper your kitchen knife is, the safer it is. Sure, a razor sharp blade would more readily slice clean through your finger than a dull one, but it probably won’t happen if you’re careful, because a sharp knife requires less pressure to cut through things, which means it’s less likely to chop off a digit.
So it’s a good thing that the Daimyo is sharpened to an 8- to 12-degree edge out of the box, whereas the aforementioned Victorinox Fibrox (which again, is very good) opts for a 15-degree edge. And indeed, this thing slices through just about anything like it’s soft butter. I could cut through a squishy tomato with hardly any pressure. I chopped up a pork shoulder and trimmed the fat with total ease. And I even used this onion dicing technique, which really can’t be safely done without an incredibly sharp blade, and had an easier time than I’ve ever had with any other blade, including the Mac.
The Kyoku Daimyo is built around gold-standard Japanese VG10 steel core (though it is assembled in China), which should hold an edge a little longer than the Mac’s slightly softer proprietary steel. On the flipside, that means it’s a bit more prone to chipping if you throw it in the dishwasher (please don’t do this) or use a hard cutting board, though you’re unlikely to damage it on a good, soft butcher block. The most striking thing about the steel, though, is just how gorgeous it is. Polished to a mirror finish, you can see every gorgeous ripple, like a Valerian Steel sword from Game of Thrones. It’s stunning.
And that quality carries through the rest of the knife, which surprised me a bit for a blade with relatively few reviews on Amazon. The G10 resin handle, while not wood like Mac uses, looks (and more importantly feels) fantastic. The knife is well balanced and comfortable to use, and a bit heavier than I expected (which is a blessing in some cases, but a curse in others). It even comes with a great sheath that’s open on one long end for easy access, and lined with a striking and protective red felt.
At around $100, this isn’t a budget knife by any means, but it’s not an outrageously expensive one either, and it has a lot to offer for that price, both aesthetically and practically.