What is a Santoku Knife?
Santoku is a Japanese-version chef knife used to perform multiple tasks in the kitchen. Santoku means “three virtues” in Japanese, While the meaning is not clearly defined, one of the most probable definitions of the three virtues are slicing, mincing and dicing.
The length of a Santoku knife ranges between 5 to 8 inches, with the 7-inch Santoku being the most popular length and most widely used. It has a broader blade than western-style chef knives, which makes for an easy “scoop”. Santoku looks like a sheep’s foot with flat edge and curbed spine. The blade is less curved than other chef knives, thus using less of a rocking motion while cutting. However, Santoku can be as fast and precise as a western-style knife. The Santoku blade is usually scalloped and the scalloped blade reduces dragging in cutting.
Santoku is gaining more attention and popularity from home cooks and professional cooks. It is well-known for food prep-work, ease in use while chopping, and easy control of the knife with less fatigue in your wrist. It also has a much sharper edge than a traditional western-style chef knife blade and holds its edge longer. A Santoku knife typically has no bolster or a very simple bolster, along with a thin and strong blade that makes the Santoku knife light-weight and attractive to those chefs who use lots of fruits and vegetables.
Santoku knife vs Chef Knife
The popularity of Asian food and cooking has brought a great deal of attention to Asian cutlery and kitchen items as well. One of the biggest sensations in western cutlery is the Santoku knife. Lately, one of the most frequently asked questions in cutlery is "Should I buy a santoku knife or a chef knife?"
No one can cook with only one chef knife. At least two good chef's knives are needed for quick and easy cutting. Having two knives is a great benefit when you are cutting meat and chopping veggies. So, if you already have one or more chef knives, I definitely recommend that you purchase a santoku knife. Their unique features, such as its light-weight design, sharp edge, and its relatively short length, are perfect for chopping all of your fruits and vegetables, thus, freeing up your cook's knife for cutting meat. The santoku knife can also easily transfer food on its broad blade.
If you are looking for your first cook's knife, I would recommend holding off on purchasing the santoku knife until you are comfortable with a good quality chef knife because of its versatility in western cooking.
Five Best Satoku Knives
Wusthof Classic Hollow Edge Santoku
As one of the high-end makers of German cutlery, Wusthof produces traditional German-style knives, featuring high carbon stainless steel, a forged design, full-tang, and bolster. Their knives are well known for a heavy, hard, and strong blade. Wusthof Santoku combines their European style with original Japanese Santoku features, creating a relatively light-weight knife with a simple bolster and broad blade. Their scalloped blade also prevents food from clinging to the knife while cutting. Read Reviews
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Pro S 7-Inch Santoku Knife with Hollow Edge
As the most popular line of German cutlery, Henckels Pro S manufactures Santoku knives as well as their more traditional chef knife. Heckels presents the western-style santoku knife by combining the features of both knives, including a forged design, full-tang and bolster, along with a scalloped and short-length blade. Henckels Pro S shows off their extra strong, stain-resistant and long-lasting blade of high carbon stainless steel, using a Friodur ice-hardening process. It is perfect for cooks with relatively small hands and is great for making paper-thin slices. Read Reviews
Global G-48 – 7 inch, Santoku Hollow Ground Knife
Global Santoku produces a sensationally light-weight and sharp blade, which distinguishes itself from traditional western-style chef or santoku knives. The design gets rid of the bolster, reducing the weight of the knife and tapers down the edge longer than other short-beveled western knives, producing a razor-like and long-lasting blade. The scalloped blade also helps in releasing the food from the blade while cutting. Another amazing feature of Global knives is the dimpled and seamless handle which provides the user a safe and sanitary grip. Read Reviews
Shun Premier Santoku Knife, 7-Inch
As the best and most recent line of Japanese cutlery, Shun premium presents the Japanese Cook’s Knife, Santoku. The Shun Premium Santoku with its unique features of VG-10 Japanese Super steel clad with 32 layers of high carbon stainless steel and hammed finish show off their strong, sharp and stylish-looking blade. This hammered finish acts contains hollow-ground cavities, reducing knife-drag when cutting.The angle of the blade is 16 degrees, which is much angled than western-style chef knives and the wide blade makes it easy to scoop chopped pieces. Also, the santoku is perfect for preparing a wide range of foods and makes for effortless chopping, slicing, dicing, and more. Read Reviews
MAC Brand Santoku Knife with Bolster (#MSk65)
The MSK-65 Professional Series Santoku knife is one of the most popular lines following the Mac MTH-80 chef knife. The blade is exceptionally thin and light with a razor-sharp edge. The dimpled blade also helps in reducing food from sticking to the blade. This santoku knife has been used by many home cooks as well as professional chefs and recommended by Cook's Illustrated Magazine. Like the Mac MTH-80 Chef knife, the MSK-65 Professional Santoku knife is made of Mac’s Superior steel, making for a super-strong, long-lasting, and corrosion-resisting blade. Their Pakkawood handle makes for a comfortable and secure grip, while their western-style bolster creates the perfect balance in the user’s hand. Read Reviews
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