Petti Naifu: The Japanese Petty Knife

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A Japanese petty knife (ぺティ (ぺてぃ) and pronounced as Petti Naifu is a versatile kitchen knife that can be used for a variety of tasks, from slicing and dicing fruit and vegetables to mincing herbs or making garnishes.

The name petty comes from the French word ‘petit,’ meaning small.

Some people like to use this knife to cut chicken and fish, although it performs best with fruits, veggies, and herbs.

Best Japanese petty, paring, or peeling knife | Essential buying guide

It is typically between four to six inches long, with a shorter blade than a chef’s knife.

The interesting thing about these Japanese knives is that it’s actually a Western-style knife that is used for all kinds of cooking tasks.

In terms of the name, the Japanese petty knife is also often called a paring knife or utility knife, although the authentic paring knife is generally shorter and has a thinner blade than the petty knife!

Japanese vs. Western petty knife

The Japanese petty knife has the same function as its Western counterpart. However, there’s a key difference: the Japanese petty knife is larger than the Western one.

Since it has a longer blade, the Japanese petty or paring knife is considered to be a smaller version of the gyuto chef’s knife.

Authentic Japanese petty knives have an angled sharp blade tip.

Many professional chefs like to use petty knives for all kinds of kitchen tasks because these knives are compact and versatile.

They are handy if you have a small workspace, have small hands, like lightweight knives, or need a smaller knife for quick tasks like slicing lemons and limes.

What is a Japanese paring knife?

As I just mentioned, although you can say the petty and paring knife refers to the same midsized kitchen knife, experts will say paring knives have shorter, thinner blades.

A Japanese paring knife is a small, versatile knife that is ideal for cutting smaller fruit and vegetables such as berries, apples, and celery.

This type of knife also works well for peeling fruits and vegetables or making garnishes.

It typically has a blade between three and five inches long.

What is a peeling knife and what is it used for?

A peeling knife is a small, sharp knife explicitly designed for peeling fruits and vegetables.

It has a short, curved blade that makes it easy to remove the skin from produce without taking off too much of the flesh.

The curved blade resembles a bird beak – it’s the peeling knife’s distinguishing feature.

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Petty knife vs paring knife vs peeling knife

Generally, Japanese petty, paring and peeling knives are used for prepping fruit and vegetables.

They are midsized knives that have shorter blades than a gyuto (chef’s knife) but aren’t as small as pocket knives.

All of these three types of knives are known for having a razor-sharp edge and long-lasting sharpness.

It can be tough to decide which knife is best for your needs but the main difference between these 3 types of knives is their size.

If you’re looking for a versatile and multi-purpose knife, then you may want to consider a petty knife.

Petty knives are similar to paring knives, but they are larger in size.

They can be used for a variety of tasks, such as slicing fruits and vegetables, mincing garlic, and even removing seeds from pumpkins.

Paring knives, on the other hand, are smaller in size and ideal for delicate tasks such as peeling apples or removing the core from a pineapple.

Peeling knives are even smaller than paring knives and are specifically designed for peeling fruit and vegetables.

What makes them special is the curved tip blade which is designed to make it easier to peel items like potatoes or kiwis.

But don’t worry, even a paring or peeling knife can do the tasks of a Japanese chef’s knife in many cases.

Also learn about the special knife techniques any Japanese chef needs to master


Are petty knives good?

Petty knives are some of the most valuable and versatile kitchen tools around.

They can be used for a wide range of tasks, from chopping vegetables and meat to slicing and dicing small fruits and other ingredients.

Because of their versatility, petty knives are a must-have in any kitchen.

Also, if you have small hands, a petty knife may be a better option than a chef’s knife.

How do you hold a petty knife?

The best way to hold a petty knife is with a “pinch grip.”

To do this, place your thumb on one side of the blade, and your fingers on the other side.

You should hold the knife with a firm grip, but be careful not to squeeze too tightly or use too much force.

If you don’t have a comfortable grip, it can be hard to work quickly with such small knives but if you do, you can make precision cuts that you can’t do with a regular chef knife.

Is petty knife a utility knife?

Yes, a petty knife can also be called a utility knife.

In many parts of the US, people are more likely to call this small knife a “utility” knife rather than by the “petty” name.

Are paring knives serrated?

Western-style paring knives often have a serrated blade. However, Japanese paring knives don’t usually have a serrated edge.

Both styles are effective for peeling and trimming fruits and vegetables, though the Japanese paring knife may be slightly better suited to these tasks.

What vegetables to use a paring knife for?

You can use a paring knife to cut most vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, and cucumbers.

Paring knives are also great for slicing small fruits, such as apples and oranges.

What makes these knives even better than a chef’s knife is that you can even use them to clean the fruit and veg.

For example, you can trim the stems and leaves of artichokes, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower.

You can also core fennel or remove membranes and ribs from large peppers and smaller hot peppers and chilies.

Is a peeling knife the same as a fluting knife?

No, a peeling knife is not the same as a fluting knife.

A fluting knife has a very sharp point and is typically used for intricate slicing and carving.

On the other hand, a peeling knife has a rounded tip that is perfect for removing the skin or rind from all kinds of fruits and vegetables.

A peeling knife is also an excellent tool for shaping fruit and vegetable decorations, such as flowers and leaves.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.