When I first picked up the Chubo Shibata Kotetsu Bunka knife, there was a slight pang of disappointment. Compared to the Henckels I’ve used for the last decade, it felt a touch insubstantial and slightly out of balance. And the handle shape didn’t appear, at first glance, as ergonomic as my favorite knives. I just didn’t think the Chubo could stack up to my solid German. I can admit when I’m wrong. What I had mistaken as light and unstable proved to be firm and nimble. After putting the Chubo through the paces for a month in my kitchen I now rarely want to go back to my old German knife.

The first test for the Chubo was basic as hell. How could it handle the everyday task of dicing onions. Quite well, actually. The Gunka effortlessly glided through the onion without much pressure, its blade so sharp that I didn’t need the extra weight of my German knife to make the cut. And because I had to apply such minimal pressure, my movements were more accurate, allowing me to create a more uniform dice. The same was the case when I hulled strawberries and chopped up pineapple.

For the next challenge, I set about to debone a whole chicken. Now, this knife is primarily for handling vegetables, yet it’s shape came in really handy here. The point of the blade deftly maneuvered around thighbones to remove them from the flesh without mangling it. And the lightness of the knife, combined with the sharpness of the blade help me cleanly separate the breast from the ribcage quite easily. I wouldn’t want to cut through any bones with this knife, so as not to damage the blade, but it was great at cutting through raw chicken. And, despite the abuse I put it through for a few weeks, I’ve been able to return to the onion test to find it hasn’t lost it edge. I hope that remains the case for a long time to come.

The Chubo Shibata Kotetsu SG2 Bunka retails for $220.