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Discovering Xinzuo 2023 Collection

Unfiltered First Impressions

"In the video above, you'll see my unfiltered reactions to the Xinzuo 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 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 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.”

Xinzuo Feng Series Chef’s Knife with Japanese SRS13 Steel

Xinzuo Feng Series Chef's Knife with Japanese SRS13 Steel
Xinzuo Feng Series Chef’s Knife with Japanese SRS13 Steel

What impressed me about the Feng Series Chef’s Knife

The Feng Series Chef’s Knife felt unexpectedly light despite its size and looks. It also had a good balance point near the bolster, so it didn’t feel too heavy in the front or back. The handle design is comfy for those with medium to large hands. However, the larger round part of the handle might be a bit big for folks with smaller to medium hands. The slanted and pointed front of the blade is perfect for smaller tasks that need precision, like slicing.

Choil shot and Judgement

Taking a closer look at the choil, you can notice that it’s thin behind the cutting edge but gets thicker further back. Further testing is needed to accurately judge the knife’s profile taper.

Suggestions for improving the Feng Series Chef’s Knife

The only thing that made me a bit uncomfortable was the way it felt against my pinky finger. This happened because of the handle design. Even though the handle isn’t sharp, I could feel the narrow parts pressing on my pinky finger. To make this better, they could think about making the handle wider in that area or making the curves smoother for a rounder feel.

Xinzuo Feng Series Nakiri Knife with Japanese SRS13 Steel

Xinzuo Feng Series Nakiri Knife with Japanese SRS13 Steel
Xinzuo Feng Series Nakiri Knife with Japanese SRS13 Steel

What impressed me about the Feng Series Nakiri Knife

The weight is in the middle, not too heavy and not too light – just right for its size. It’s definitely heavier than the Chef’s Knife version from the same series. The fit and finish are good, with no sharp edges on the spine or choil. I like the different shape of this Nakiri knife.

Choil Judgement

The choil is similar to the Chef’s Knife version of this series. To get an accurate assessment of the knife’s profile taper, more testing is needed.

Suggestions for improving the Feng Series Nakiri Knife

The handle is exactly the same as the Chef’s knife version, so the suggested improvements remain unchanged.

Xinzuo Zhen Series Chef’s Knife with ZDP189 Steel

Xinzuo Zhen Series Chef's Knife with ZDP189 Steel
Xinzuo Zhen Series Chef’s Knife with ZDP189 Steel

What impressed me about the Zhen Series Chef’s Knife

The ZDP189 Zhen series knife was something I was really excited about when I saw the specifications. I hoped it would live up to its specs, and to my surprise, it exceeded my expectations. That’s why I spent the most time examining this knife. When I picked it up, I noticed how light it is right away. And from the first touches, I was impressed by the finish that Xinzuo has given it. The spine, choil, and even the front are nicely rounded. It’s really comfortable to hold, and it’s balanced well at the heel, so it’s not too heavy at either end when you hold it by the heel area. The handle material is premium, and there are no noticeable protrusions.

Choil Judgement

At first glance, as I looked at the choil, I immediately fell in love. It is extremely thin all the way through, which reminded me of Japanese handmade knives. Moreover, it no longer had the thicker choil that many mass production or larger manufacturers have.

Suggestions for improving the Zhen Series Chef’s Knife

None, I immediately noticed the finish, the grind, and how the profile taper was right out of the box. The fit, feel, and comfort are incredibly similar to Japanese handmade knives. Surprisingly, it’s the first time a knife made in China has impressed me this much! So, at first glance and first impression, I can’t think of anything Xinzuo needs to improve. In fact, I believe Xinzuo accidentally set a very high standard for themselves in future knife releases, as I hope they base everything else on the Zhen Series ZDP189! I might find some minor points to mention in the full review, but with my initial hands-on experience, I didn’t notice any.

Xinzuo Lan Series Santoku Knife with Chinese VG10

Xinzuo Lan Series Santoku Knife with Chinese VG10
Xinzuo Lan Series Santoku Knife with Chinese VG10

I requested this version because I wanted to compare the 10Cr15CoMoV with the Xinzuo 14Cr14MoVNb Powdered version that I purchased myself. The review for it is essentially complete and will be uploaded soon, including an updated comparison of the steel. Hence, I won’t be sharing my initial impressions since I’ve already finalized the review.

Xinzuo PM8 Tall-Nakiri with 10Cr15CoMoV (Chinese VG10)

Xinzuo PM8 Tall-Nakiri with 10Cr15CoMoV (Chinese VG10)

What impressed me about the PM8 Tall-Nakiri knife

This knife was requested because it was advertised as a tall Nakiri, essentially a larger/taller version of a Nakiri or a smaller Chinese vegetable cleaver. Straight out of the box, it felt weighty, and the blade’s fit and finish were good—no sharp edges on the spine or choil. The handle had noticeable bumps, but they were at an acceptable level. Since it’s a natural material, it can expand and shrink, and this level of protrusion is consistent with other brands like Misono, Kai Shun, and others. I’ve encountered Chinese-made knives in the past with protrusions that were unacceptable, even sharp to the touch and sticking out from the handle.

Choil Judgement

Thin behind the edge but thick overall, which is what I somewhat anticipated for this type of knife. However, more testing is required before I can accurately evaluate the profile taper.

Suggestions for improving the PM8 Tall-Nakiri knife

When it comes to improvements based on my initial impression, there isn’t much to mention; any potential points might arise in the full review. However, regarding the review sample I received, the blade wasn’t perfectly aligned with the handle. While this might not significantly affect the knife’s performance, it’s a noticeable detail that Xinzuo Quality Control should address. That being said, among the 20+ knives I’ve acquired or purchased from the Xinzuo/Hezhen line, this is the first one with any quality control issues.

Xinzuo F2 Series Nakiri 10Cr15CoMoV (Chinese VG10)

Xinzuo F2 Series Nakiri 10Cr15CoMoV (Chinese VG10)
Xinzuo F2 Series Nakiri 10Cr15CoMoV (Chinese VG10)

What impressed me about the F2 Series Nakiri knife

The Damascus pattern stands out prominently and is visually appealing. I truly enjoyed the pattern, which was the standout feature of this knife. The heel portion is innovative and bold, and I appreciate the aesthetic concept behind it. However, it does come with some risks. The knife feels lightweight and has a thin profile. The balance point is situated above the heel, which is also the point I’d recommend gripping the knife for optimal control.

Suggestions for improving the F2 Series Nakiri knife

The spine felt uncomfortably sharp, which is odd considering the previous knives had a well-polished spine. I plan to sand it down during my testing phase, and it’s something Xinzuo could address in their production process. The handle features sharp edges, which would be more comfortable if they were rounded. During the first impression video, I noticed this sensation on my pinky finger, which could become problematic during extended use.

Choil Judgement

The choil is impressively thin, which I personally appreciate. However, I faced difficulty getting the camera to focus properly, as it tended to focus on the thin part of the heel that was protruding. This part is too thin for the camera to capture accurately. What’s unusual is that the choil, which is rounded, is perfectly fine in contrast to the sharper spine. This inconsistency is puzzling to me, as I fail to grasp the reasoning behind it.

PS: the choil shot on the video is not a good representation of the choil as the focus missed the cutting edge so the knife appears thicker than it actually is on video, and why I have decided not to include the choil shot in this article. 

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:
Japanese SRS13 Steel - Feng Series Chef's Knife
Japanese SRS13 Steel - Feng Series Nakiri
10Cr15CoMoV Steel (Chinese VG10)- Lan Series Santoku
10Cr15CoMoV Steel (Chinese VG10)- F2 Series Nakiri
10Cr15CoMoV Steel (Chinese VG10) - PM8 Series Tall-Nakiri
ZDP189 Steel - Zhen 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. The tall nakiri I have does not have the alignment problem you note and show in your video–does have the same protrusions. Appearance is striking–feels a little heavy. I’ll wait for your review to comment on performance

    1. Hi Ray,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with it, reviews are following soon the upcoming Monday I will release the Hezhen first impression video, and after that comes the reviews on a weekly schedule.

      The protrusion is something natural that happens on natural wooden handles as wood expands and shrinks depending on the humidity levels and when/how they are made/stored. But it is at an acceptable level as in the past I had one that sticks out from other brands and one in particular ”Wallop” (never reviewed on my channel since it was so bad that I could just throw it away without wasting my time) and you don’t even have to try to seek for it as it is sticking out so much that you can directly see the metal parts protruding (one of the reason is that the wood was not dried properly or they used less dense cheap wood).

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