Deba bōchō (出刃包丁, literally: pointed carving knife) are Japanese style kitchen carvers primarily used to cut fish, though also used when cutting meat. They come in different sizes, sometimes up to 30 cm (12 inches) in length. The deba bōchō first appeared during the Edo period in Sakai. It is designed to behead and fillet fish. Its thickness, and often a more obtuse angle on the back of the heel allow it to cut off the heads of fish without damage. The rest of the blade is then used to ride against the fish bones, separating the fillet. Traditionally, these are made of carbon steel, which needs regular maintenance and oiling to prevent rust. However, many modern knives are also available as stainless steel, which may be dishwasher safe. The carbon steel blades, however, can be sharpened into a sharper cutting edge.
The deba is not intended for chopping large diameter bones.
- Hiroko Shimbo, The Japanese Kitchen: 250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit - Harvard Common Press, 2000, ISBN 9781558321779, page 12
- Nancy Hachisu, Japanese Farm Food, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012, ISBN 9781449418298, page 17
- Shizuo Tsuji, Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, Kodansha, 2006, ISBN 9784770030498, page 111
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