The fame of these “bombshell” knives quickly made his shop a must stop for tourists traveling across Kinmen Island. Today, the maker offers a full line of both Asian and Western-style kitchen cutlery under the “Maestro Wu” brand name. To make things even more interesting, Jende Industries (Jende means “real” in Chinese) recently began importing a modest selection of the Maestro Wu knives into the U.S.
The model Jende sent the magazine for evaluation was their “Chinese Vegetable Cleaver.” I think these could more properly be called “Taiwanese Vegetable Cleavers,” as I have never run across this pattern among mainland Chinese kitchen knives. Regular readers may notice the knife is also similar to the Thai-style cleavers I have gone on record as preferring. If I understood a vendor I met in the Chiang Mai public market correctly, the Thai-style knife evolved out of the Taiwanese pattern used by the Chinese community in that country. The Taiwanese knife seems to usually run a little wider than the standard Thai pattern but both offer a bit of point that the standard People’s Republic Chinese cleaver lacks.
Jende’s knife features a 7 x 2-5/8-inch blade of “bombshell” stainless steel. While the cleaver is said to be forged, the maker freely admits to welding the bolsters onto the blade blank. This isn’t really a major problem to me, as the majority of European “forged chef” knives have had welded bolsters for some time. I was wondering about how common the use of stainless steel was in artillery shells as all I’ve ever come in contact with seemed to be some sort of carbon alloy. After some back and forth e-mails between me, Jende and the maker in Taiwan, I was told that the propaganda leaflet shells contained a stainless steel liner that they had found ideal for knife blades.