How to choose ... a paring knife

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 May, 2006, 12:00am

How to choose ... a paring knife

A good, sharp paring knife can handle many cooking tasks, from peeling an apple then removing its core and slicing it, to carving delicate flowers and animals from radishes and carrots.

What is it? Often the smallest knife in a cook's set of tools. The blade is usually about 7cm to 9cm in length.

What are the variations? Probably the most versatile paring knife has a smooth blade that tapers gently to a sharp tip. You can also buy serrated paring knives and ones that have blades with an inward curve.

What to look for: balance and weight. If a knife is too light it feels flimsy and is difficult to handle. The blade and handle should feel balanced.

What else? As with all knives, a paring knife is more dangerous when the edge is dull than when it's sharp. Sharpen the paring knife regularly on a whetstone or diamond steel.

Where to buy: the kitchenware shops on Shanghai Street have good selections that will fit any budget (use exit C of the Yau Ma Tei MTR station). You can also buy them at PanHandler (tel: 2523 1672), Pantry Magic (tel: 2501 0988) and the cooking sections of Wing On (tel: 2852 1888) and Sogo (tel: 2833 8338).