There were stone knives in ancient China, bronze knives in Shang and Zhou Dynasties, iron knives, steel knives, and bamboo knives after the Qin and Han Dynasties, and then steel knives. The steel knife can be cut or chopped， which is very convenient for cooking.
The kitchen knife is the most important tool in cooking. Knife craftsmanship is an important part of Chinese cooking. It is the skill of using knives to slice, cut, chop, hack, peel, shave and so forth, according to the role of dishes, the needs of heating and seasoning of dishes, and changes in dishes.
Chinese ancient literature recorded that "food is not as good as nice utensils", emphasizing the harmony between both of them about the shape，the color，the value.
In the fourth episode of Flavour World, Mr. Zhou Xiaoyan said: "Knife craftsman has a basic function, which is to facilitate the taste. The second function is to ensure the consistency of maturity, and the third is to be delicate-looking. All Chinese cuisines pay attention to knife craftsmanship that is one characteristic cooking technique in China."
- Cut straight. The blade is cut vertically to the end. It is usually used for boneless brittle materials, such as vegetables and fruits.
- Push cut. When cutting straight, push the blade forward and then cut into the raw materials. It is generally used for tough raw materials, such as lean meat and dried tofu
- Guillotine cut. Raising the handle of the knife, and the tip of the knife is close to the cutting board. The middle of the knife-edge is aligned with the raw material to be cut while the left hand presses the back of the knife, and the right hand presses down the ingredients forcefully.
- Saw cut. Push first, pull back, and lower the knife vertically. It is used for large boneless fragile ingredients, such as cutting back to the fatty pork.
- Flat cut. There are certain requirements for the knife, which should be thin and sharp, and the raw material of the piece should be repaired and handled neatly. Usually what comes out of the film is thin and wide, and cannot be broken.
- Pat. The purpose of patting garlic, ginger, and cucumber is to make the ingredients break and loose, so as to facilitate the taste.
- Flower cut. A fine knife method to draw some patterns on the surface of the raw material.
Great culinary experts have sublimated knives craftsmanship to an artistic level. Wensi Tofu is a famous Huaiyang dish that often appears in state banquets.
If you want to cut the soft and fragile tofu into hair thickness like carrots, the test is far more than the cooperation of hands, eyes, and knives. When the knife cut, follow the index finger of your left hand, and the backward speed will fluctuate accordingly. First slice, then shred, all in one go.
The tofu silk, which is as thin as hair, will be moistened in clear water. This cloud-like shape is often described as a Chinese landscape painting.
Chinese knives craftsmanship is the ultimate pursuit of food beauty and taste. Diners can not only appreciate the chef's excellent knife skills, but also experience the chef's dedication at the moment of eating.