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Discovering Hezhen 2023 Collection

Unfiltered First Impressions

"In the video above, you'll see my unfiltered reactions to the Hezhen 2023 collection. I've added closed captions (CC) so you can easily follow along. During the recording, I found myself searching for the right words, especially when translating certain terms from Dutch to English, which is my main language. You might notice frequent usage of 'um,' 'oh,' 'yeah,' and 'so'. I'm still working on improving that for future videos.

Disclosure: All knives in this article/video were provided by Xinzuo/Hezhen for review purposes without any payment, influence, or contracts. All opinions expressed in this article/video are entirely my own.

In the article that goes with the video, you can skip my raw reactions and jump into the details of what I liked and didn’t like about each knife in the Xinzuo 2023 series. Additionally, I’ve included a section highlighting suggestions for potential improvements. This allows Xinzuo/Hezhen to take these insights into account for their current and future knife series.

Note: Keep in mind, these thoughts are based on my first impressions and could change if I end up releasing the full reviews for each knife.”

Elegant Series Santoku with 14Cr14MoVnB Powdered Steel (Wood Color)

What impressed me about the Elegant Series Santoku Knife

The Elegant Series Santoku Knife stood out with its great finishing; no sharp edges, a nicely rounded spine, and no quality issues. Surprisingly, the handle exceeded my comfort expectations; its shape even reminded me of a Bunka knife. Notably, Hezhen has made the blade design user-friendly, with a rounded heel to avoid accidental cuts and a rounder choil area.

Choil shot and Judgement

The rounded choil area and the curved heel make it a bit difficult to clearly observe the profile grind from the choil’s perspective. From my initial impression, it seems that the knife is thin behind the edge, but the rounding gives it a thicker appearance compared to the usual style.

Suggestions for improving the Elegant Series Santoku

There isn’t much that needs changing with the Santoku by Hezhen. Assessing the balance point was a bit tricky since it didn’t align exactly as expected, making it a bit challenging to find the knife’s balance. The knife tends to be handle-heavy, especially if you hold it by the slanted cap or blade area. While I can’t fully judge the balance point until I’ve tested it in the kitchen, I do believe that the knife is on the heavier side for its intended style. As a Santoku, it’s meant for everyday use in a home kitchen and particularly for household cooking.

Comfortable handle but…

Now, regarding the handle, I find it highly comfortable. However, individuals with small to medium hand sizes might find it slightly too large. For those with medium to large hand sizes, the handle offers a very comfortable grip.

Elegant Series Santoku with 10Cr15CoMoV (White Color)

What impressed me about the Elegant Series Santoku Knife

This Santoku knife from Xinzuo with a white-colored handle has the same finish as the version with a wooden-colored handle. Therefore, everything I mentioned about the wooden-colored version applies to this one as well. However, this version felt lighter than the wooden-colored one, yet it’s still relatively heavy for this style of knife.

Choil shot and Judgement

What caught my attention was that the choil of the knife appeared thicker compared to the wooden-colored version. However, similar to the other version, it’s still a bit challenging to quickly assess the choil, and more testing is required before I can accurately evaluate the profile taper.

Suggestions for improving the Elegant Series Santoku

Just like the wooden-colored version, the handle will probably feel large for individuals with small to medium hand sizes, while those with medium to large hands will likely find it comfortable. As for the Santoku style, I personally feel it’s a bit on the heavier side.

Master Series Chef’s Knife with Sandvik 14C28N Steel

What impressed me about the Master Series Chef’s Knife

Upon first glance, I was surprised by how light the knife is. Its size didn’t match its lightness. The finish was impressive, with a rounded spine and rounded choil. The balance point was easy to find, providing a solid grip. The knife felt light and balanced.

Choil shot and Judgement

It’s thin behind the edge, maintaining that thinness throughout. It’s quite impressive, and I genuinely appreciate this level of thinness. My initial impression is that it’s visibly thin, and I genuinely like it.

Suggestions for improving the Master Series Chef’s Knife

The knife’s quality was good with no protrusions. However, the bulb’s comfort remained a concern. I liked the weight and aesthetic, including the rivet, but comfort matters most to me, and the bulb was noticeable. The bulb’s positioning might pose a problem, so I’ll need to test it further.

Elegant Series Cleaver with 10Cr15CoMoV

What impressed me about the Elegant Series Cleaver

When I opened the box and saw the Elegant Series Cleaver, it looked big and heavy. The handle was good and felt nice in my hand. The back part of the blade and the part near the handle were rounded, which looked nice but due to the taller blade I don’t think it would benefit you from a safety point of view. The balance point was in the middle, making it easy to hold.

Choil shot and Judgement

Looking at the choil I could see it was thin behind the sharpened edge but quite thick overall which is to be expected for this type of knife.

Suggestions for improving the Elegant Series Cleaver

Since I haven’t had the chance to fully test the knife yet, I can’t provide any suggestions for improvements based on my first impression.

YM3L Series Chinese Vegtable Knife with X9Cr18MoV Steel

What impressed me about the YM3L Series Chinese Vegtable Knife

When I picked up the knife, I immediately noticed its satisfying weight – not too heavy or too light. The balance point is more towards the front, which is fitting for this type of knife. Even though it’s front-heavy, the weight is manageable. The handle is intended for those with larger hands; however, individuals with smaller to medium-sized hands might not be able to fully grip the handle. Despite that, the handle feels comfortable to me (I have a large hand size).

Choil shot and Judgement

The blade’s spine and choil are nicely rounded, ensuring a comfortable grip. The choil appears slightly thick, yet it’s thin behind the edge. The front part is even thinner, which I appreciate.

Suggestions for improving the YM3L Series Chinese Vegtable Knife

When it comes to quality, the knife is solid but not exceptional. The handle, while lightweight, could have used a higher-quality wood and a smaller design to accommodate various hand sizes. Overall, the knife meets my expectations for its type. It’s a dependable addition that doesn’t bring any major surprises or letdowns – just what I was expecting.

While I haven’t tested it fully, my initial impression is positive.

F2 Series Chef’s Knife – Coreless 110 Layers Damascus Steel

What impressed me about the F2 Series Chef’s Knife

When I held the F2 Series Chef’s Knife, I was surprised by how light it felt. Besides that, the coreless pattern was very stunning and pleasing to look at. They alternated 2 materials the 10Cr15CoMoV and the 9Cr18MoV creating a coreless 110 Layers Damascus Steel.

Choil shot and Judgement

Taking a closer look at the choil, I was pleased to observe its thinness behind the edge. The knife’s profile taper seemed well-designed. However, the choil shot in the video did not accurately represent this due to focusing issues, leading me to exclude it from the article. Nonetheless, the thinness behind the edge was noticeable and promising.

Suggestions for improving the F2 Series Chef’s Knife

My first impression of the F2 Series Chef’s Knife was generally positive. However, I did notice a sharpness along the spine that could be uncomfortable during use. The handle’s corners are also slightly sharp, which could be improved by rounding the handle for better comfort. It would be helpful for the manufacturer to address these issues by rounding the spine and handle to enhance overall comfort.

I’m uncertain if all Coreless versions are packaged in premium boxes. Notably, the Saya (knife sheath) is magnetic, which is a nice feature and should be standard for all Saya covers.

If you want to know more about Xinzuo you can read the Q&A here that I did with the Co-Founder of Xinzuo by clicking here.

You can buy the newest Xinzuo knives 2023 collection here:
14Cr14MoVnb Powdered Steel - Elegant Series Santoku Knife Wood Colored Handle
10Cr15CoMov Steel - Elegant Series Santoku White Colored Handle
Sandvik 14C28N Steel - Master Series Chef's Knife
10Cr15CoMov Steel - Elegant Series Cleaver White Color
X9Cr18MoV - YM3L Series Chinese Vegetable Knife
Coreless 110 Layers Damascus Steel - F2 Series Chef's Knife

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Hi, I'm ChefPanko, I have worked for multiple restaurants and have decided to share my experience with you guys. I will share recipes and techniques that I have learned, taken, and improved from the French, Japanese restaurants that I have worked for. I will also explore other cuisines with you guys.

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  1. Hi

    Thanks for reviewing all these knives! Just bought a Hezhen chef’s knife with the 14Cr14MoVnB core and I can’t wait for it to arrive!

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