Originating in China, the Chuka Bocho was perfected by Japanese craftsmen around 1900. Chinese Cleavers are easily recognizable, with their large rectangular blades and sturdy, compact handles. Cleavers come in a variety of blade thicknesses and weights: the thinner, lighter blades are best suited to fine slicing; the thicker, heavier blades are best suited to medium-duty butchery, such as splitting and breaking down poultry or splitting fish heads; and the medium-weight blades are a compromise between the two extremes. Nevertheless, each of them are versatile general-purpose kitchen knives that can slice, chop, mince, scrape, and even crush ingredients (e.g. garlic cloves, lemongrass etc.).
The tall blade of the Chinese Cleaver allows it to be safely guided with the knuckles of your free hand when 'tap chopping’, ‘push cutting’, or ‘pull cutting’. Therefore, large fruit and vegetables, such as cabbages, can be cut easily and safely. Just as with the Japanese Nakiri, the heel corner of the Cleaver can be used to remove blemishes from fruit and vegetables. If you love cooking Chinese food, you owe it to yourself to try a Chinese Cleaver!
Chinese Cleavers are generally available in blade lengths between 180 and 220 mm, with a typical blade height of around 100mm. Their weight varies from a relatively light 300g up to a massive 900g! Their large, heavy blades are suitable for breaking down chickens, mincing meat and vegetables, and even scraping ingredients.