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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ka Juo Kitchen Knives from Shangri-la Yunnan

Here's something interesting from our travels that I thought I would share.
Tucked in Yunnan province, China, is a place called Shangri-la, an area with hills and lakes at high altitude, and was supposedly described in James Hilton's book, where people there are almost immortal, purportedly because of the peaceful surroundings and the clean air.
Well, we visited that place and came to know that it is also the home of the famous knives, Ka Juo.  In fact, in the market square there is a shop with a large sign that literally translated into "Famous Knives Family for Centuries".  Apparently they started making warrior knives and swords in the old age with steel, and that family tradition is honoured until today. The family owned a factory to make knives - either decorative, or for kitchen use.  In fact, if you travel to the factory, all along the road, the signboard advertisement reads, "Knives that can cut nails and hack iron."
Wow, we were really impressed.  And also confused.  Because there were so many other brands also claiming to be famous - Ka Wa or Ka "something or other". We also nearly got fooled by another brand which claimed that Ka Juo, Ka Wa and Ni Ma are the 3 famous knives of Shangri-la.  Luckily a check with our local driver revealed that the only trusted brand is Ka Juo.  And all said and done, the knives are not very expensive, not like the Zwilling Henckels from Germany.
So we decided to buy a set of kitchen knives.  But we were worried that these would not be able to transported back to Malaysia by plane.  We were assured that we can definitely check-in the knives as luggage, as kitchen knives are acceptable but not the decorative knives and swords.  So we took a chance.  The knives come in a plastic holder as in the photo, and they packed in a cardboard box for us.  And we just used that as check in luggage in Air Asia.  Luckily, as the shop had said, kitchen knives are allowed.  Phew!
The set above consists of 1 meat cleaver (that's the one that can cut iron), a vegetable cleaver, 2 fruit knives, a knife sharpener and a pair of scissors.  Why did we buy it when we already have (Ikea) knives at home?  Because they were really, really sharp and high quality and we were impressed!  And you really don't get it anywhere else.

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