A Japanese mandolin vegetable slicer vs a French mandoline slicer may not be a decision that you’ve pondered but if you are considering adding a mandoline to your assortment of kitchen tools, it may be worth taking a closer look at the two.
While they perform the same basic function, they are indeed two very different pieces and that difference can be critical depending on your skill level in the kitchen.
The Classic French Mandoline
The French mandoline is the style that most students learn on in culinary school. These are generally large, bulky slicers with a stainless steel surface and a blade that goes straight across horizontally.
Most French mandolines feature interchangeable blades that allow for a variety of cuts, including julienne, baton and ridge shapes in sizes that range from paper thin to ½ inch.
An important consideration when comparing a Japanese mandolin slicer with a French mandoline slicer is the fact that the blades of the French mandoline tend to be thicker and to dull quickly, meaning they will need to be removed and honed on a stone from time to time.
As any good chef can tell you, there is actually nothing more dangerous than working with a dull blade. For this reason, French mandolines aren’t usually recommended for home chefs.
Japanese Innovation In Slicing
As in many fields, the Japanese were able to step in and come up with a few notable innovations that have taken slicing to the next level. Unlike French mandolines, the Japanese versions are lighter in weight and much less expensive, but the real innovation is the blade itself. In Japanese slicers, the blade is set diagonally, allowing for more control and a cleaner cut.
For this reason, and because they are easier to store and are even portable, most professional chefs will include a Japanese mandolin in their personal knife roll. The question of using a Japanese vegetable slicer vs a French mandoline slicer comes down to convenience and durability.
The blades of most Japanese mandolins are quite sharp and do not dull as quickly as their French counterparts. This can also make a big difference for home chefs, who won’t have to deal with changing out or sharpening blades as frequently.
The Great International Debate
So as you can see, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both styles of slicer. The ultimate choice depends on the level of your culinary skills, the amount of money you want to invest and your storage space.
If you feel you can handle it and have the space to store it, a French mandoline can be a real asset. If space and budget are an issue and you don’t feel up to tackling the different blades, then the Japanese mandolin is probably your best option.
Either way, you need to take this decision very seriously and consider all of the options offered by various brands. Then you’ll be able to make your choice between a Japanese mandolin vegetable slicer or a French mandoline slicer and take the chore out of cutting up veggies!