Just kidding, though that is one of the more popular designs, it totally depends on your preference and we are about to run through some great options for you (we know there are a lot of choices).
So whether you’re new to using a Santoku, or a seasoned veteran in the kitchen, I hope you get value from this post. As a side note, in Japan, another name for Santoku is Bunka Bōchō, many times in the U.S. Bunka is used to refer specifically to Kengata Santoku where the Santoku's tip has a sharp downward angle useful for delicate slicing.
How to choose the best Japanese Santoku knife:
Which steel you should choose?
Which handle style you want?
What size you want?
What about blade finish?
When you buy Santoku knives, the answers to each of these is personal but we can help guide you along the path and help you find the best Santoku for your style.
At this point you have probably already decided to buy a Santoku knife. However, if you are still researching you should check out our other resources:
Do you want a traditional Japanese style handle or a Western style handle?
Traditional Japanese style handles are wood, and some have additional embellishment such as horn bolster, others are fully wood. However, the significant difference is the tang.
No, not the tasty orange drink. We are referring to the metal from the blade that goes into the handle.
Traditional Japanese style handles have a tang that only goes about 2/3rd to 3/4th of the handle length.
How does this affect you?
The balanceof the blade.
For knives with traditional Japanese style handles the balance will be a bit more forward than a knife with a Western style handle that has a full tang, with the metal going the full length of the handle.
There is not a right answer here, if you are comfortable with a Western style handle and enjoy the contours and grip, stick with it!
People with larger hands do sometimes like Japanese style handles once they get used to them since they are longer and more versatile without any contouring to get in the way.
Seamless inox molybdenum stainless steel construction
Seamless design allows for easier cleaning
Textured metal handle provides grip even when wet
Stainless steel may need more frequent sharpening depending on usage than a high carbon knife
So, anything else? Of course!
What about the finishes?
While much of this is personal preference, there are some options that make slicing easier on you.
Here are some different styles to keep an eye out for:
Have you ever noticed when you’re slicing a cucumber or tomato and the slices stick to the knife?
If so, when you are shopping at a Japanese knife shop online, you may want to keep an eye out for either the hammered finish or the grooves which will allow for air pockets to reduce the suction formed and release the food easier.
What about other options? There are a huge variety of other finishes out there and many of them are stunning options that will accent your kitchen.
You may see words like Kurochi or Kurokage. These are a black finish, sometimes matte, that or more in line with traditional Japanese finishing methods.
Mirror finishes are another popular technique as these are really an eye-popping aesthetic.
What about the Damascus?
We can also include Damascus in the discussion about finishes as this is primarily a technique that provides an aesthetic versus functional feature.
Damascus is the layering of different types of steel to provide a series of waves to the cutting edge.
Many of the Damascus knives discuss the core, this is the main edge and when you sharpen the knife this is the part you are focused on and looking at for the hardness and functional component of the edge.
No matter which Santoku knife you buy, we are sure that you will enjoy it!
Have you ever noticed that chefs have a giant knife roll with all different types of knives? That knife set is from years of getting new knives and finding out how and when to use them.
No matter which one you choose there will be the perfect time and place to use it when creating your culinary masterpieces.
You’ll notice that we haven’t mentioned the length, the reason for this is that Santoku knives in particular are generally within about 20mm of each other, typically from 160-180mm. Gyuto’s, Japanese chef knives, will have a much larger range and the size differences can be more impactful.
If you have chosen your knife and decided that you’d like a set, we offer many of our styles as Japanese knife sets which can include a Nakiri for vegetables and a petty for those smaller tasks.
Look for a unique gift for the chef in your life? We have gifts for all levels, from small kitchen accessories that you won't find at the local mall, to high quality sushi knives. We list out some extremely popular items such as our Japanese graters to our Damascus Nakiri knives.
The Yanagiba, is a single bevel traditional Japanese slicer, also known as the Shobu in Osaka and Kyoto. This sushi knife is perfect for creating pristine cuts, pleasing to the eyes as well as the mouth. Learn all about the Yanagiba in this in depth article.
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