The Top Most Recommended Cangshan Knives

Published on 11/12/2023 · 9 min readRenowned for their precision, durability, and design, Cangshan knives are a top choice for both professional chefs and home cooks. Check out their top knives below!
Jacob Lewis, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Jacob Lewis

Photo by Toa Heftiba

Cangshan knives have become synonymous with precision and innovation in the culinary world. Founder Henry Liu has positioned the company to competitively perform among the best Western and Asian-style knifemakers in the world. He’s pushed the company to deliver a diverse range of styles and materials that cater to everyone from minimalist chefs with compact kitchens to large families who want every kind of knife imaginable. Because of this, Cangshan is rapidly growing in prominence while continuing to offer a knife set for every type of chef, all backed by a lifetime warranty.

In this article, I’ll explore four lines of forged knives where the blade material runs the full length from the tip through the handle to the heel of the blade (full tang). This full-length blade design improves the balance of the knife and increases rigidity and durability. Finally, each of these knife styles showcases remarkable characteristics, and I’ll highlight their unique qualities and suggest the top sets from each lineup.

Chef Thomas Keller Signature Knife Sets: Culinary Artistry in Swedish Steel

Thomas Keller’s world-renowned restaurants reflect his commitment to craft and the peak of the dining experience. His signature knife set reflects these same values, meeting the highest standards of performance and aesthetics. What makes them special is their blend of subtle form and bold function. While they look traditional at first glance, they are stretched in length compared to most basic sets. The handles feature a larger, comfortable grip that’s perfect for anyone with big hands. The knives are meticulously crafted with high-carbon Swedish Sandvik steel that uses a high carbon and alloy content for an exceptionally sharp edge and stain prevention. These are heavy knives, and I honestly do not recommend them for beginners. Here are three suggested Thomas Keller Signature knife sets that will elevate your culinary artistry:

1. Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature 17-Piece Knife Block Set

Luxuriously full, this set has all the pieces you need — and the ones you don’t but that are nice to have

This Signature 17-piece knife block set is the largest kit offered in this line, with plenty of knives to go around, from prep to dinner table. With the precision of the chef's knife to the versatility of utility and paring knives, this set equips you with the tools to handle every culinary task. When the dinner guests are all seated, you can present them with one of six included steak knives. All of this is beautifully complemented by an elegant knife block that exudes a timeless aesthetic.

2. Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature 7-Piece Knife Bar Set

These extra-long blades are designed for skilled chefs and enthusiasts. Because of that, this is one of the most refined sets on the list

Easily one of my favorite offerings from any knifemaker, this walnut knife bar set has all the best prep knives from the Signature line and nothing else. The sleek and modern knife bar that comes with it doubly encourages you to showcase these knives directly on your wall in plain sight where each blade is easily selected or returned. My favorite knives from this set are the extra-long 10-inch chef’s knife and the rare 7-inch utility knife. Because both of these challenge dexterity and develop the skill of flexibility in using versatile but non-specialized knives, mastering either of these can be very rewarding. The only missing thing from this set is a Santoku knife.

3. Cangshan Thomas Keller Signature 4-Piece Steak Knife Set

Top of the line and durable, these steak knives are ready to work the plate

More than just cutlery, these full-tang knives are a statement of refined taste and a commitment to enjoying fine flatware at the dinner table. These knives are the same blades that are included in the 17-piece kit listed above but are available individually. Unlike common steak knives that use a stamped-metal manufacturing process, these are crafted with the same forging process as the rest of the knives in this lineup. Usually, knife manufacturers trim corners and reduce the quality of their steak knives. For steak knives, these are heavy and require an assertive user.

Cangshan Haku Knife Sets: Where Tradition Meets Modernity

Cangshan Haku knife sets are a testament to the brand’s commitment to marrying tradition with modern innovation. These sets draw inspiration from Japanese knifemaking practice and design. Similar in quality and design to the Shun Classic at half the cost, the big difference here is its location of manufacture, yet it still offers a wonderful African blackwood handle and 60 HR-C (Rockwell Hardness is the scientifically measured hardness of metals). These are made with layered Damascus steel and honed to perfection. Though this kind of steel is lightweight, tough, and rigid, it can also be slightly more difficult to sharpen and may require professional services. If you know how to use a whetstone, then of course you’ll be fine! Here are three suggested Cangshan Haku knife sets that offer the perfect blend of tradition and modernity:

1. Cangshan Haku 2-Piece Knife Set

Minimal and elegant

With two essential knives, the 6-inch chef and the paring knife, each is an empowering encouragement to enjoy the versatile function of simplicity. This set is perfect for anyone with a compact kitchen or a minimalist who needs to upgrade two of their favorites.

2. Cangshan Haku 6-Piece Knife Block Set

Great gift set for folks with a small kitchen

Continuing with minimalism, this set isn’t going to suit most styles in the kitchen, yet everyone can appreciate these basic essential knives. This six-piece set highlights the 8-inch chef knife and backs it with a serrated utility knife and the same paring knife from the two-piece kit above. The all-metal kitchen shears are a welcome upgrade, as most knife providers with more expensive sets tend to substitute lesser-quality shears. The honing rod is an ideal tool for anyone who knows how to use it; however, if you were to go with this set, I would encourage you to do some research on how to properly use one before trying it yourself. Improper form with a honing rod and damage the blade of your knife. Last, this set is perfect for a minimalist or who knows what knives they want with no plans to expand the set; otherwise, it could be a bit limiting since the block does not have extra slots for expansion. Most notably, this set lacks a bread knife.

3. Cangshan Haku 12-Piece Knife Block Set

Fleshed-out, yet still minimal

Finally, the full-kit Haku collection has all the prep knives and a few steak knives to go with. What distinguishes the Haku 12-piece set is its generous amount of distinct knives and affordable versatility, especially when compared to similar offerings like the Shun Classic, where the same price will get you half the knives. With the introduction of the bread and slicing knives, this kit is fleshed out, yet it still calls more to the smaller families and minimalist cooks. If you’re still wondering what I mean, then let’s move on to the Helena sets below, where I’ll show you the largest knife set in this list.

Cangshan Yari Knife Sets

The Yari is similar to the Haku with the incredible durability of its 67-layered X-7 Damascus steel with a six-stage heat-treatment process, as well as its blade designs. The main difference in this style is that the hardwood handle of the Haku is traded for an ultra-durable G-10 material with a more angular finish for both a fresh, ergonomic handle and a new aesthetic. Otherwise, the Yari offers very much the same quality knives that you will get with the Haku — straight from Yangjiang, China, where knives have been a heritage practice for centuries.

1. Cangshan Yari Kiritsuke

Kiritsuke knives traditionally were only used by head chefs

Shorter in form than a traditional Kiritsuke, which is typically 9 inches in length or more, this more compact knife retains the distinctly pointed tip for performing a nuanced dice or picking around tricky and delicate ingredients. The slicing edge along the main section of the blade has a gentle arc to it, which is not fully traditional yet welcome for any chef who wants a comfortable knife, as most traditional Kiritsuke knives require a bit of developed skill to use. This chef knife could be your first choice for prep work.

2. Cangshan Yaki 6-inch Boning Knife

This classic Japanese-style boning knife is great for beginners!

Distinctly traditional, this boning knife is rigid, unlike most Western filet knives. It’s a wonderful artisan’s shape for fish and poultry or any work that requires maneuvering the tip of the blade around sensitive sections of meat like ligaments and joints. The arc of the blade shape is less for chopping and more like a utility blade that produces an articulated slice.

Cangshan Helena Knife Sets

Cangshan Helena knife sets are the epitome of elegance and affordability in the world of cutlery. These are the everyday knives for people who want the best high-alloy stain resistance and style for the least amount of money. Cangshan does this by using reputable and durable steel from Germany with exceptional edge retention (the same metals used in Wusthof Classic knives!), designed to highlight a sleek beauty with function. The main thing to know when owning knives of this type of quality is they will arrive very sharp and have the potential to remain so, but they will require your attention a bit more than the other two lines of knives in this article. That’s the tradeoff for a reduced cost.

1. Cangshan Helena 3-Piece Knife Set

This set is perfect for anyone with a small kitchen

The Helena 3-piece set includes an 8-inch chef knife, a paring knife, and a serrated utility knife, similar to the Haku set above. This is a perfect set for beginners just getting started with the basics or anyone who prefers to focus on only a few knives in the kitchen. For the price, this is also an ideal work kit for professionals, as all of the Helena knives are National Food Service (NSF) certified.

2. Cangshan Helena 12-Piece Knife Block Set

This is the best beginner set in the whole list

Continuing the sentiment of extending extraordinary value into every set, this Helena 12-piece kit has all the required prep knives and four steak knives. From the versatile chef's knife to a carving knife to a bread knife, this set ensures you have the right tool at your fingertips. The elegant hardwood block not only showcases your knives but also adds a dependable and secure hub to store all the blades.

3. Cangshan Helena 23-Piece Knife Block Set

Fully complete, this set is great for larger families

Here it is, the largest set in the list. This kit introduces all the pieces from the BBQ collection, including the honesuki-style boning knife and the nakiri cleaver. On the more esoteric side, there’s a peeling and cheese knife as well. The addition of these two knives raises questions for overall value, because you end up paying for two knives that might not see much use. Regardless, this Helena 23-piece knife block set stands out with its remarkable versatility, providing the ideal knife for every culinary task.

Connect With an Expert

The culinary world is vast, and choosing the perfect knife set can be an overwhelming task! Each Cangshan line offers a unique experience, from the heavy-duty construction of the Keller, the lightweight and delicate precision of the Haku, or the all-around durability of the Helena. Hopefully, this list gives you direction to find the knife set that suits your cooking style and preferences. In case you find yourself in need of guidance, contact one of our Curated Kitchen Experts for tailored, free advice.

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